On the 25.05.2017 a change in the Fahrpersonalgesetz (law concerning driving personnel) in relation to the regular weekly resting period for truck drivers in the Federal Republic of Germany was enacted. After neighboring states, such as France and Belgium, made it unlawful for truck drivers to spend their regular weekly resting period in their vehicles, Germany saw the need for clear regulations on how to spend the resting periods. The EU-regulation Nr. 561/2006 does not contain an explicit prohibition on spending the resting period in the vehicle. The EU commission is planning on changing this regulation within the framework of their mobility strategy and intends a binding ban for the entire community territory.
The resting period is a period required by law, which the driver should use to rest. During this period of time the driver isn’t allowed to engage in any professional activities or be available for work. The time where a driver is accompanying another driver does not count towards his resting period.
The law has only stated a regulation concerning the extent of the weekly resting period. According to this, the weekly resting period has to amount to 45 hours; a reduction to 24 hours is possible if the driver has had a resting period of 45hours before and will rest for 45 hours in the week after and a balance of the unused resting period is used within a period of three weeks.
Following the changes in the law, according to §8a Fahrpersonalgesetz, an entrepreneur additionally has the obligation to make sure that the driver does not spend his resting period in his vehicle or a similar unsuitable place.
A breach of the recently introduced legislation concerning spending the resting period in the vehicle will be sanctioned with monetary penalties. How exactly they will be calculated nationally has not been determined. However, it is said that each hour the driver spends in his vehicle during his resting period will result in a fine of 60 EUR for the driver and 180 EUR for the entrepreneur. In addition to this, the driver can be prohibited from his journey until he catches up on his regular weekly resting period at a suitable place.
In order to enforce the goals of the legislative changes, which include the improvement of the working conditions for truck drivers, increasing traffic safety and prohibition of unfair competition, controls were extended.
An entrepreneur has to organize the journey in a way in which his drivers can spend their weekly resting period
The new legislation does not contain specific information about how suitable sleeping possibilities have to be obtained. The Federal office for Goods Transport assumes that the requirements of hotels, motels and pensions will be fulfilled. Furthermore, other premises in the building such as rented accommodations can be seen as suitable places to sleep.
Insufficient are sleeping places where the driver has to stay close to his vehicle. Those include a driver’s cab or merely camping next to his vehicle.