Mobility and Transport


Driving time and rest periods

Driving time and rest periods

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 2015-2016. The next report will cover the years 2017-2018. Member States are expected to submit their national statistics on the application of the social rules by 30 September 2019.

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.

PDF iconOverview of national derogations granted by several Member States

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Member States granted temporary exceptions on driving time, breaks and rest periods for drivers in road transport. This table gives an overview of all national exceptions notified to the Commission during the COVID-19 crisis, in accordance with Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006.

PDF iconCOVID-19 - Temporary relaxation of drivers' hours rules under Art 14

Article 14 (2) of the Regulation lays down 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 exceptions notified to the Commission in accordance with Articles 14 (2).

PDF iconTemporary relaxation of drivers' 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.

PDF iconOverview of Court rulings related to the social rules in road transport