French authorities affirm crackdown on rest rules

Haulage firms undertaking work in France are advised to check their scheduling after the authorities introduced a €30,000 (£21,386) fine on anyone breaching weekly rest breaks.

The country’s rules state that drivers must take their 45-hour breaks away from their vehicles and not in their cabs.

Although France began fining firms last year, it published guidance this week reaffirming its commitment to imposing large penalties on any company in breach of its weekly rest rules.

Peter Cullum, RHA manager of international affairs, said: “They are trying to stop the consignor, consignees and companies scheduling long periods where people have no choice but to rest in their cab. It’s not intended to penalise the driver, but they will penalise the company.”

Cullum said the idea was to prevent drivers from parking up in France at the end of the week and not returning home.

He added: “How they [firms] do their scheduling is a matter for them and they should assess the risk. If they are caught out by a snow storm in the Pyrenees you can’t do much about that.

“If, however, there is regular scheduling then the French will look at tacho records for the last 28 days and could see regular infringements.”

Daily and reduced weekly rest periods are not affected by the rules. Belgium introduced a similar policy in 2014, but the country levies fines on drivers instead.