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Government asks FTA to lead guidance to industry on driving time rules

"Government has taken FTA’s feedback on board," is the message today from the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in response to the announcement by the Department for Transport today in its ‘Red Tape Challenge’.

The DfT has also said that it is committed to producing new guidance regarding driving times and breaks for drivers, and has asked the FTA to ‘lead the way’ in preparing it.

The ‘Red Tape Challenge’ established an industry working group involving the Department and its agencies, trade bodies and trades unions which agreed for the need to produce simplified guidance in the complex area of the interactions between Drivers hours regulations and the working Time Directive.

James Firth, FTA Head of Road Freight and Enforcement Policy said:
"FTA is delighted to have been asked by the government to lead the way in producing new guidance surrounding drivers times and breaks, and that the Association’s 125 year history of providing effective, reliable compliance information to the industry has been recognised."

FTA stated that drivers’ hours and working time rules are complicated and they continue to be an area in which drivers often pick up fixed penalties at the roadside.

Within the ‘Red Tape Challenge’, Roads Minister Stephen Hammond unveiled 2 additional initiatives for professional drivers and freight operators and said changes in the coming year would help even more motorists, saying "millions of drivers are set to save even more time and money thanks to the government’s commitment to cutting unnecessary rules and regulations."

The Transport Minister’s statement also unveiled plans to increase the amount of time an operator may leave between downloading data from vehicle tachograph units. The increase from the current 56 days to 90 days will allow some operators to incorporate the process with scheduled vehicle maintenance.

FTA’s Mr Firth added:
"It is significant that the government has realised the important role that the freight and logistics industry takes in managing their work effectively and efficiently."

Much of the complexities arise from the two regimes which are similar but different, thus demonstrating the administrative burden placed on industry by the working time regulations almost a decade ago.

Mr Firth concluded:
"FTA is not aware of any evidence to suggest that a driver who is compliant with European driving time rules remains a significant safety risk. It is the view of FTA members that the application of the Working Time Directive to the road transport sector remains the single most burdensome piece of administration applied to the industry today – but since it comes from Brussels, this Red Tape Challenge could do nothing about it. But this guidance will help operators and drivers cut through the complexities for now."

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