Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Freight Truck Drivers Hours Of Service Rules Relaxed

But Only for Scottish Hauliers
Shipping News Feature

UK – In a sensible move the Department for Transport has agreed to relax the enforcement of the standard EU drivers’ hours and working-time rules for those operators suffering supply chain problems caused by the recent heavy snowfalls and extreme weather conditions. The exceptions to the usual rules will only apply to journeys within Scotland however and will last until midnight on the 11th December when the situation will be reviewed. With some freight delivery drivers trapped in their cabs for twelve or more hours on several main highways the suspension of the hours of service rules will be welcome.

Freight Transport Association (FTA) members, of which there are over 1,000 in Scotland, reported particularly treacherous conditions on the M8, and little evidence of gritting on both the M73 and A80. Due to deliveries taking twice as long in many cases, trucks have been unable to return to their depots. Further problems have been encountered in the heating fuels sector; FTA members have reported delays of up to 12 hours on the roads between Dundee and Grangemouth fuel terminal.

Chris MacRae, Head of Policy for Scotland, said:

"We are pleased that the Department for Transport - who retain control over this matter – heeded our advice to extend the current GB-wide relaxation of drivers' hours rules for Scotland because the problems are much more deep seated here than in other parts of GB. Hauliers delivering essential products, like heating fuels and animal feed, have described some roads as ‘appalling’ with gridlock causing massive delays within the central belt. Clearly, it makes sense to provide more legal leeway on drivers' hours.

“With reports that some hauliers are unable to collect or return containers, including news that all major whisky suppliers are closed, the economy is taking quite a hit. What the snow fall has writ large is that without lorry drivers, Scotland’s export-led economy simply wouldn’t exist, and in these incredibly tough driving conditions their skill, professionalism and ‘can do’ attitude will prove invaluable to businesses, residents and consumers alike.”