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Due to the difficult situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Spanish authorities decided to temporarily relax the rules on working and rest time for drivers. What should a Spanish driver know if he exceeds his working hours and is checked in another country?

“Taking into account the current situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it has been decided in Spain to introduce derogations from the existing regulations in the transport sector,” explains Mariusz Hendzel from the transport law firm ITD-PIP.

Spain introduced the following:

1. Derogations from working hours, breaks and rest periods

As of 10 March, for a maximum of 30 days, exceptions to the application of the rules on working time standards, breaks and rest have been introduced in Spain. The exemption will apply if the transport or part of it passes through risk zones. At the moment, these are, among others: 

  1. a) Spain: autonomous communities of Madrid and La Rioja, municipalities of Labastida-Bastida and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country) and Miranda de Ebro (Castile and Leon),
  2. b) Italy – the whole country,
  3. c) France – Haut-Rhin (Grand Est) and l’Oise (Hauts-de-France),
  4. d) Germany – Heinsberg (North Rhine-Westphalia).

The risk zones may be extended to include further territories. The current list of zones is available here.

2. Suspension of traffic bans

From 14 to 28 March, traffic bans for trucks were suspended with the possibility of extension, depending on the development of the pandemic. For the transport of dangerous goods, the obligation to use the designated road network (RIMP) is maintained. 

What about controls? 

“As a general rule, derogations apply in the country where they are introduced for a maximum of 30 days. However, a solution may be provided by Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006,” says Mariusz Hendzel, Expert of ITD-PIP Transport Law Firm.

Article 12 of EC Regulation 561/2006 

“Provided that road safety is not thereby jeopardised and to enable the vehicle to reach a suitable stopping place, the driver may depart from Articles 6 to 9 to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, of the vehicle or its load. The driver shall indicate the reason for such departure manually on the record sheet of the recording equipment or on a printout from the recording equipment or in the duty roster, at the latest on arrival at the suitable stopping place.”

“A driver can have the Spanish exemption regulation printed on him, but in accordance with EU regulations, all Member States that introduce exemptions inform the other Community countries. The Polish General Inspectorate of Road Transport will soon be notified about this,” explains the law firm.

It should be recalled that Denmark, Norway and Belgium have also decided to exempt their drivers from the obligation to comply with Regulation EC 561/2006.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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