Photo: Cjp24, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Commission: France ban on observing rest periods in vans violates EU law

The Commission of the European Union has decided to open infringement proceedings against France regarding its law that bans daily and weekly rest periods being observed inside Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs).

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In a statement published on Friday, the Commission said it “considers that French legislation introducing a ban on spending daily and weekly rest periods inside LCVs, i.e. vehicles which exceed 2.5 tonnes and up to 3.5 tonnes, is in breach of EU law, in particular Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009.”

The statement continues:

“The Commission considers that the French rule unjustifiably and disproportionately restricts the freedom to provide road transport services in France, and runs counter to the objectives of the internal market. France now has two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.”

Taking nightly rest in LCVs has been prohibited in France since August 31st 2020. According to the rules, employers responsible for this type of vehicle fleet must provide accommodation for their drivers in decent conditions, such as a hotel.

However, as reported by French Road Transport site Les Routiers, a number of van drivers have tried to avoid being caught by sleeping in their cabs in the car parks of France’s budget hotel chains. Back in February of this year, four van drivers were fined €750 for doing this.

More recently, a major German haulage association has called for France’s ban to be replicated in Germany. The announcement from the Commission nonetheless presents a major obstacle to that plan.

Photo: Cjp24, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons