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European Driving Regulations :

There are sets of regulations in Europe which implemented to ensure that excessive hours are not driven and that drivers take breaks and rest periods. In practice the two sets are virtually identical :

1. In the European Union, it is Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85

2. In countries outside the European Union it is the "European Agreement on the Work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport", known as the AETR for short.

3. Some countries have their own national legislation for purely domestic operations.

Driving time : a driver may not drive for more than 4 hours without taking one break of 45 minutes or several breaks of at least 15 minutes taken over the 4 hours. The daily driving limit is 9 hours but twice a week this may be extended to 10 hours. A maximum of 90 driving hours in two consecutive weeks must be observed.

Daily rest:

a) If the bus has only one driver, then in each period of 24 hours he must either take a break of 11 consecutive hours (reducible to 9 consecutive hours 3 times per week on condition that an equivalent period of rest be granted as compensation before the end of the following week) or 12 hours divisible into 3 periods, one of which is at least 8 hours.

b) If the bus is manned by 2 drivers, during each period of 30 hours they must take not less than 8 consecutive hours each. All time counting as rest can only be taken when the bus is stationary.

Weekly rest : If weekly rest is taken after 6 daily driving periods then it should consist of 45 consecutive hours, reducible to 36 consecutive hours at home base or 24 consecutive hours when away from home (to be compensated for by an equivalent rest taken consecutively before the end of the third week following the week in question). If taken after 12 daily driving periods the weekly rest period should consist of 90 consecutive hours, reducible to 48 consecutive hours when away from home.

Tachographs : In order to record the driving time and rest periods of bus and coach drivers, vehicles have to be fitted with a recording device called a tachograph, which records the hours on a paper disc.