Today, everyone lives and works under the pressure of time. Each undertaking must be fulfilled in due time and even better before the deadline has lapsed. Truck drivers work under the same time pressure. They are responsible for delivering shipment on time, making sure that production is not put on hold and that a client is satisfied. Pressured by forwarders, clients, and loaders to collect and deliver goods faster, drivers work virtually against time.

However, not everyone is aware of the fact that a driver’s working time is regulated by relevant laws and noncompliance with them may entail serious consequences – not only financial ones. In the following paragraph, we will try to offer insight into the on-the-road life and work of drivers.

It’s all in the tachograph

The basic element that should be mentioned here is a tachograph. It is an electronic device, which registers any activity of a vehicle and a driver, including time of work, speed of the vehicle in the last 24 hours and data concerning any incidents. Possession of the device is compulsory in all EU countries because it facilitates roadside inspections and shows whether the carriage is performed properly. Tachographs are not required in the majority of those vehicles intended for carriage of goods, whose maximum permissible weight, including trailers and semitrailers, does not exceed 3.5 tonnes.

One of the most important functionalities of tachographs is that they keep track of a driver’s working time. Owing to that, a driver knows when to rest and when to finish their shift and avoid any problems and fines during inspection.

Time to hit the road

Reflex and lucidity are the most essential characteristics of a good driver. If they are tired, they cannot be 100% reliable. In order to avoid any dangerous situations on the road caused by a driver’s tiredness or distraction, the European Union introduced regulation no. 56/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006, which regulates the working time of drivers. It should be noted that such time is different depending on the fact whether the carriage is performed by one or two drivers.

In the first case, daily driving time cannot exceed 9 hours; however, it may be extended to at most 10 hours not more than twice during the week. Nevertheless, such extensions should be well-considered as a weekly working time cannot exceed 56 hours and the limit is lower with each week on the road. After a driving period of four and a half hours a driver shall take a break. It lasts 45 minutes and may be divided into two shorter breaks – of 15 and 30 minutes.

There is strength in twos

Work is slightly different if there are two drivers. The general rules are the same as in the case of a single driver. The main difference concerns an extended working shift, which in this case may last up to 30 hours, thus speeding up a delivery. According to legal provisions, a daily rest period, i.e. time during which a vehicle is stationary and both drivers rest, must last at least 9 hours.

Organization of work is also different. The first driver drives a vehicle for 4.5 hours and then they are replaced by another driver who also drives 4.5 hours before yet another change of drivers. This way each driver gets a chance to catch their breath. It is very important that drivers remember to replace their driver cards in a tachograph so that driving time is counted for a right person.

Everything is work

It must be noted that a driver’s working time is not limited solely to driving. It also comprises such duties as: waiting for goods, loading and unloading and cleaning the vehicle or even getting stuck in a traffic jam. If loading takes a lot of time, an employee will have to drive for less than 9 hours on a given day. So if you want your freight to reach the place of destination as soon as possible, make sure goods are properly packed and prepared for efficient loading and unloading. This way you will help not only a driver but also yourself.