Traffic updates: Austria and Spain re-introduce, Portugal relaxes some drivers’ hours’ regulations

Traffic updates: Austria and Spain re-introduce, Portugal relaxes some drivers’ hours’ regulations

Traffic updates: Austria and Spain re-introduce, Portugal relaxes some drivers’ hours’ regulations

Austria and Spain are gradually lifting the exceptional measures introduced for freight transport due to the coronavirus pandemic. Portugal, on the other hand, implements regulation on drivers’ hours’ regulations.

The Austrian government has lifted some exceptions to driver’s hours’ regulations. According to the latest decree of the Ministry of the Interior and Labor, from 11 April to 31 May  the following rules apply: 

– normal rest periods have been restored: 11 hours a day (previous measures provided for 9 hours) and 45 hours a week (previously provisionally 24 hours). 

– also, drivers must take a break after 4.5 hours of work (not 5.5 hours as yet).

However, there are still exceptions to the maximum daily driving time (11 instead of the prescribed 9 hours), the maximum driving times per week (60 instead of 56 hours) and the driving time within two weeks (100 instead of 90 hours) – reports ” Österreichische Verkehrszeitung ’. 

The new rules apply to domestic and international transport.

According to the abovementioned decree, the weekend traffic ban is suspended until 19 April. 

Changes in Spain

Spain applies new measures on drivers’ hours’ regulations, reports the Spanish Federation of Transport Unions Fenadismer. They apply from 13 April to 31 May and, like in Austria, they are part of a gradual withdrawal from the current relaxation. 

Here are the exceptions that apply in Spain, according to a regulation published on 15 April in the Spanish official journal BOE (Boletín Oficial del Estado):

Article 6.1 – The maximum daily driving limit of 9 hours is raised to 11 hours. However, you should observe 45-minute breaks every 4.5 hours of driving.

And although the maximum daily driving time has been increased to 11 hours, the limits for weekly driving (56 hours) and two weeks (90 hours) are maintained.

Article 8.1 – The driver may shorten each daily rest period to 9 hours, while pursuant to Regulation (EC) 561/2006 the driver may shorten the daily 11-hour daily rest period three times (between two weekly rests) 

Article 8.6 – A driver may collect two short (24-hour) weekly rests in a row, provided that during the 4-week period two rests are regular weekly 45-hour breaks. There is no need to compensate for the shortened weekly rest.

Article 8.8 – Normal weekly rest (45 hours) may be picked up in the cab, provided the vehicle is suitable and parked.

Despite the subsequent publication in BOE, the rules apply retroactively from April 13. The reason for this situation was the lack of response from the European Commission to the request of the Ministry of Transport for extension of exemptions.


Portugal found itself in a similar situation to Spain. Although the relaxation of drivers’ hours’ regulations expired on 6 April, the Portugal government has still not received approval from the European Commission to implement the new rules. Still, Portugal announced new exemptions to apply from 7 to 21 April – reports Fenadismer. 

They provide for:

Article 6.1 – The daily work period may be extended to 11 hours (instead of 9 hours).

Article 8.6 – There must be at least one regular 45-hour break and a 24-hour break within two consecutive weeks, which need not be compensated.

Article 8.8 – Regular weekly rest can be taken in the cab if the vehicle is properly equipped and parked.


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