Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 provides a common set of EU rules for maximum daily and fortnightly driving times, as well as daily and weekly minimum rest periods for all drivers of road haulage and passenger transport vehicles, subject to specified exceptions and national derogations. The scope of operations regulated is tremendously diverse, it includes: passenger transport and road haulage operations, both international and national, long and short distance, drivers for own account and for hire and reward, employees and self-employed.
The aim of this set of rules is to avoid distortion of competition, improve road safety and ensure drivers' good working conditions within the European Union.
These rules establish that:
- Daily driving period shall not exceed 9 hours, with an exemption of twice a week when it can be extended to 10 hours.
- Total weekly driving time may not exceed 56 hours and the total fortnightly driving time may not exceed 90 hours.
- Daily rest period shall be at least 11 hours, with an exception of going down to 9 hours maximum three times a week. Daily rest can be split into 3 hours rest followed by 9 hour rest to make a total of 12 hours daily rest
- Weekly rest is 45 continuous hours, which can be reduced every second week to 24 hours. Compensation arrangements apply for reduced weekly rest period. Weekly rest is to be taken after six days of working, except for coach drivers engaged in a single occasional service of international transport of passengers who may postpone their weekly rest period after 12 days in order to facilitate coach holidays.
- Breaks of at least 45 minutes (separable into 15 minutes followed by 30 minutes) should be taken after 4 ½ hours at the latest.
The compliance with these provisions is subject to continuous monitoring and controls, which are carried out on national and international level via checking tachograph records at the road side and at the premises of undertakings.
Reporting from the Commission
Every two years the Commission prepares a report based on information submitted by Member States regarding the implementation of the EU social legislation in the two-year period. This concerns the rules on driving times, breaks and rest periods established by Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 and the working time provisions laid down in Directive 2002/15/EC . The national data include the number of controls carried out at the roadside and at the premises of companies, the number and types of offences detected, the number of undertakings and drivers checked and others. The current report covers the period 2013-2014. The next report will cover the years 2015-2016. Member States are expected to submit their national statistics on the application of the social rules by 30 September 2015.
Latest report [COM(2014) 709] on the implementation in 2011-2012 of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and of Directive 2002/15/EC on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities (27th report from the Commission on the implementation of the social legislation relating to road transport).
Commission staff working document [SWD(2014) 342] accompanying the report.
Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of the derogation provided in Article 8(6a) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (12-day rule), COM(2014) 337
This report follows the monitoring requirement set out in Article 8(6a) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 on driving times and rest periods. It provides for an overview of the use by Member States of the so called "12-day rule" derogation allowing drivers to postpone their weekly rest, if specific conditions are fulfilled. The report is based on information submitted by Member States to the Commission.
Note to users: In the last paragraph of Section 3 of the Report there is a reference made to Annex II. Please note that there are no annexes to this report, as adopted by the Commission. An overview of the answers to the questionnaire on the use of 12-day derogation is available on request at the following functional mailbox: email@example.com
National exceptions from drivers' hours rules
Article 13 (1) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 sets out a list of possible national derogations from application of provisions on driving times, breaks and rest periods (Articles 5 to 9 of the Regulation). It is within the competence of each Member States to decide whether any of the listed possible national derogations will be granted or not.
Article 14 (2) of the Regulation stipulates that Member States may grant in urgent cases exceptions from the application of Articles 6 to 9 up to maximum 30 days to transport operations carried out in exceptional circumstances. This table gives an overview of the exemptions notified to the Commission in accordance with Articles 14 (2).
Temporary relaxation of drivers [62 KB] ' hours rules
The Court of Justice of the European Union judgements concerning social rules in road transport
Certain Court judgments under earlier legislation which has been repealed remain relevant as interpretative guidance on key provisions carried over into the current legislation. However, the relevance of Court rulings for the application and interpretation of Regulation 561/2006 should be assessed on a case by case basis.
Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85
Policy and other related documents
Overview of national derogations granted by several Member States (updated: July 2012)