LABEL Newsletter Nº 2 : September 2009
The Legal roots of the LABEL project
The LABEL project aims among others to constructively react on the obligations foreseen in EC Regulation 561/2006. The Regulation sets the legal frame for working conditions of commercial drivers and promotes improved monitoring and enforcement practices by Member States in the road transport sector.
Driving and resting times are therefore subject to a number of legally binding rules. The LABEL project, understood in the light of these obligations, is raising the issue of safe parking areas, both to respect road safety requirements and enhance security of drivers and carried goods.
The Article 6 of EC Regulation 561/2006 lays down that the daily driving time must not exceed 9 hours. However, the time may be extended to at most 10 hours not more than twice during the week, but the weekly driving time in absolute terms cannot exceed 56 hours. When it comes to the rules dealt by Articles 7 and 8, it is important to distinguish “breaks” from “rest periods”. According to Article 7, a driver is obliged to take an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes after every 4.5 hours of consecutive driving period. This break can be divided in a break of at least 15 minutes followed by a break of at least 30 minutes, within the 4.5 hours of continuous driving period. Taking into account these parameters, Article 8 deals with rest periods and sets the further obligations imposing a driver to have at least 11 hours of rest before starting a new daily working period.
The addressed matter is two-sided. On the one hand, EC Regulation 561/2006 aims to protect commercial drivers against excessive driving times forcing them to take breaks and resting periods and hence to find a “suitable stopping place” (Article 12). On the other hand the Trans-European Road Network lacks of such stopping places and therefore building a certification scheme for secure and quality Truck Parking Areas (TPA) is an important step to remedy the current situation.
The capacity of parking facilities is often insufficient which makes it impossible for a driver to meet his (or her) legal obligations. In such cases a driver may depart from Articles 6 to 9 to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, of the vehicle or its load (according to the Guidance Note 1 to EC Regulation 561/2006). The truck parked at an unprotected parking site during a ‘rest period’ becomes an easy and vulnerable target especially in the absence of drivers who are taking a rest outside of the vehicle. Compared to the risks encountered during a ‘break’, this situation carries out a greater potential risk and thus needs to be provided with sufficient security and quality standards.
Therefore, the LABEL project’s purpose is to facilitate the provision of such secured TPA by establishing a TPA certification system guaranteeing high standards in terms of security, safety, comfort, dignity, food and shopping. By doing so, the LABEL project helps drivers to respect the obligations set in EC Regulation 561/2006 and Directive 2008/96 on road infrastructure safety management (recognizing that a sufficient number of safe rest areas is important for crime prevention and road safety).