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RDA: European Parliament vote on digital tachograph: rejection of nine hours working day for coach drivers; improvement to 12-day rule

The European Parliament in Strasbourg has accepted an EU Commission regulatory proposal for a new digital tachograph and has also rejected once again a new definition for a coach driver’s working day of nine hours in total (including all breaks and other standby and work periods). In addition to this the European Parliament has accepted an amendment for an extension to the “12-day rule”. This is a significant development for the international coach tourism sector.

Amendment 128 from MEPs Dr. Koch and Mr. Grosch is especially important for the coach tourism sector. The Parliament is calling for an improvement to the current regulation, this having been lobbied for by the RDA – International Coach Tourism Federation and IBV – International Coach Tourism Association (the joint federation of RDA and gbk). It seeks to allow once again the operation of several consecutive tours within the 12 days permitted. The “12-day rule” could then be valid once again for national coach round trips should this amendment be accepted and carried by the European Council of Ministers.

The acceptance of modifications to EU regulations 3821/85 and 561/2006 goes way beyond the current usage of regulation 3821/85 where it concerns digital tachograph usage. This will effect technical improvements in digital recording devices and also expand tachograph functions (remote querys, recording locations) which in themselves have nothing to do with controlling drivers’ hours. In addition to this, manipulation of devices will be made more difficult; a connection to the global assessment system (GNNS) will also be facilitated; a merger of driver card and driving license will be made possible as well as an EU-wide harmonization of sanctions to be imposed for breaches of regulations.

Richard Eberhardt, President of RDA and IBV states: “I am relieved that the European Parliament has rejected the risks associated with a coach driver’s working day of nine hours in total – including all breaks and other standby and work periods – which we had warned about. We particularly welcome the fact that the ground has now been prepared for improvements to the “12-day rule”. We will accompany the legislative process between the European Parliament and Council of Ministers with expert advice.”