Important changes in driving regulations in the Netherlands, Turkey and two German states
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Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is the seventh German state that decided to suspend the weekend traffic bans for trucks. Lower Saxony, as the first region of Germany, relaxed the working and rest time of drivers. Also, it is suspending checks for cabotage regulations. The Netherlands has also introduced flexible working hours. Turkey, on the other hand, is introducing quarantine for drivers from some countries.
Andreas Scheuer, the German minister of transport, announced that relaxed regulations on working and rest time would apply in Germany until 17 April. Driving time can be extended to ten hours up to five times a week. The German Chamber of Commerce (DIHK) has confirmed that Lower Saxony has already implemented such a measure.
Until 17 April , drivers in this state have the option to reduce their weekly rest period on two consecutive weekends. The condition is, however, that the trucker enjoys at least four weekly rest periods over four consecutive weeks, of which at least two must be regular weekly rest periods.
Relaxation applies to the following transportations:
– everyday products, particularly food, between the place of production, storage and sale;
– medical articles for stopping and controlling the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (in particular test products, protective equipment against infection, disinfectants, etc.),
The government of the state indicates that the inspection bodies are obliged to refrain from prosecuting and punishing violations of road transport regulations, the obligation to obtain authorization and cabotage regulations in these transport cases. The German Chamber of Commerce and Industry adds that the cabotage exception is to be in force until 30 September, 2020 – as the transport portal eurotransport.de reports.
As emphasized by the federal authorities, loosening the regulations does not, however, release drivers from permanent liability under the regulations of Road Traffic Regulation about safe driving. Despite this temporary exception, the driver is fully responsible for his actions, especially if an accident happens because of fatigue.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern lifts traffic bans
This is the seventh German state which, after an appeal by the Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, lifted the Sunday and holiday ban on truck traffic. Restrictions are suspended in this land until 30 June due to the coronavirus pandemic.
By extending the possibility of transporting all goods on Sundays and holidays, we are helping to ensure their accessibility for the public and the economy, „announced Land Transport Minister Christian Pegel in an official announcement. The lifting of the ban covers all types of goods.
The Netherlands relaxes drivers’ working time
The Dutch government is temporarily relaxing the rules on drivers’ working and rest times to ensure the safe operation of the supply chain.
The daily driving time limit has been increased from 9 to 11 hours. The weekly driving time limit has been increased from 56 to 60 hours. The total two-week driving time has been extended from 90 to 96 hours.
There is another change regarding the weekly rest period. Until now, the weekly rest period had to be started no later than six days after the end of the last weekly rest. From now on, it will be mandatory only after seven days. The measure applies retroactively from 14 March 2020 to 6 April 2020.
The loosening of regulations applies to the transportation of the following products:
– agricultural products and live animals;
– food and animal food;
– raw oil and petroleum products;
– pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical products (including medical devices) as well as perfumery and cleaning products;
„Treat drivers with respect”
The Dutch Minister of Transport, Cora Van Nieuwenhuizen, has also called the public to respect
people working in the transportation sector.
„I appeal to everyone who comes into contact with the transport sector. We now need this sector as a matter of urgency to ensure that we have enough products. Especially in these difficult times, the hard work of our drivers is essential. That is why I wholeheartedly agree with the appeal of TLN, Evofenedex and VERN to treat our drivers properly, which is the joint responsibility of logistics service providers and companies in which drivers load and unload goods. Mutual respect in contacts with each other is needed so that everyone can do their job well, „said the minister.
Turkey is closing its border crossing points
All Turkish border crossings were closed yesterday for travellers from the following countries: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, China, Iran, Iraq, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Turkish truck drivers entering the country from one of these countries will be quarantined for 14 days at home. Foreign truckers entering Turkey from one of these countries will be quarantined for 14 days at the border and will not be able to enter the country during the quarantine period. Truck drivers who are nationals of these countries will not be allowed to enter Turkey.
Bulgaria is also closing the borders
As of 00:00, 18 March, entry into the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria for people coming from the following countries is forbidden:
China (the People’s Republic of); Iran (the Islamic Republic of); Bangladesh; India; Maldives (the Republic of); Nepal (the Federal Democratic Republic of); Sri Lanka (the Democratic Socialist Republic of); Spain; Italy; Korea (the Republic of); United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland; France; Germany; the Netherlands and Switzerland.