With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for bus drivers.
Bus and coach travel plays a significant role in the daily life of many Europeans. In 2015, over 8 % of all passengers made use of these services, compared with 9.8 % for air transport and 6.7 % for rail. In 2014, there were over 361 000 road passenger transport enterprises in the EU. European roads are the safest in the world and the EU is striving to move closer to zero fatalities in road transport by 2050.
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People wishing to work as bus or truck drivers undergo compulsory initial training. Subsequently, every five years professionals go through in-service training to update and refresh their skills and to renew their licences, which have a uniform validity. A medical check-up is a compulsory part of each renewal. The drivers’ training system is designed to increase their awareness of risks and ways to mitigate them. In 2018, the EU updated its rules on training for professional drivers, placing an emphasis on safety and the environment, easier recognition of training received in another EU country, and clearer minimum age requirements.
As tiredness is a major factor in 20 % of road accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles, the EU has standardised the time professional drivers can spend behind the wheel when part or all of the journey is in another EU country. This time should not exceed nine hours a day or 56 hours a week. Furthermore, drivers are obliged to take a break of at least 45 minutes after four and a half hours of driving.
- EPRS publication on training of professional drivers, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/603924/EPRS_BRI%282017%29603924_EN.pdf
- EPRS publication on road transport, driving, breaks, rest times and tachographs, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/608756/EPRS_BRI(2017)608756_EN.pdf
- EPRS publication on road transport, enforcement and special provisions for posted workers, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2017/614596/EPRS_BRI%282017%29614596_EN.pdf
- EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service: www.epthinktank.eu