Tiredness and speeding are common causes of accidents among drivers of lorries, coaches and company cars. Road accidents are the leading cause of work-related death in industrialised countries.
Tiredness is a significant factor in some 20% of crashes involving heavy commercial vehicles.
EU laws cap time at the wheel for professional drivers where part or all of the journey is in more than one EU country.
Driving time should not exceed 9 hours a day or 56 hours a week. After 4½ hours, drivers must take a break of at least 45 minutes.
The EU has banned the transport of certain dangerous goods by road, particularly when there's a risk of explosion.
For other dangerous goods, EU rules require minimum standards of packaging and labelling, and also that the vehicles carrying the goods are properly built and equipped to do so.
The EU has also funded a route-guidance and driver-support system for heavy goods vehicles, under the Heavyroute project.
This system will help drivers find the most efficient route in terms of time, road suitability, bridge and tunnel networks (not all bridges are strong enough to support heavy vehicles), fuel consumption and environmental costs.
Overloading by heavy trucks is not just unsafe, it also leads to higher road-maintenance costs and attendant traffic disruption.
The EU-funded REMOVE project has examined ways of enforcing rules on overloading by using weigh-in-motion technology.