The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the outcome of the Department for Transport review of the operation of the working time regulations on the transport industry.
FTA is pleased by the review's conclusion that there is to be no change in the original interpretation of what constitutes Periods of Availability (PoA), which means that times when drivers are available for work, but not working, are not included in the computation of the average 48 hour week. Similarly, there will be no cap on the amount of time which can be declared as PoA. However, there will be changes to the guidance on PoA that are to be consulted on by the end of March.
It is also clear that enforcement of working time is to be increased.
Nick Graham, the Chairman of FTA's Road Freight Council, said, 'We are pleased that the review has failed to find any substantial abuse of the working time regulations and that, crucially, the arrangements regarding the use of Periods of Availability are basically sound. However, we now await the consultative process regarding the new guidance advice – the outcome of this will provide additional help for both operators and drivers.
'We believe that demands for the wholesale scrapping of PoAs were never realistic in the first place since they were contained in the Directive itself and were not in the gift of Ministers.'
FTA will now participate in the consultation process following the publication of the draft amended guidance in March.
The Road Transport Directive, limiting average weekly hours worked by transport personnel to an average of 48 hours per week, was introduced in April 2005.
The review process has been under way over the last twelve months and FTA representatives, led by Nick Graham, Chairman of the FTA Road Freight Council, have participated in six meetings.