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Professional Drivers

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes he plans to make to the existing regulations in respect of the working hours of professional drivers; and if he will make a statement. (86948)

A new, directly applicable, EU regulation on drivers' hours has recently been adopted by the EU institutions—it was published in the Official Journal in April 2006 and will, for the most part, come into force in April 2007.

We will consult later this year on the amendments that will need to be made to domestic legislation to facilitate compliance with the new EU regulation. These amendments will adopt all of the national derogations available in the new EU regulation (without any additional restrictions), apart from the newly available derogation for specialised vehicles transporting money and/or valuables—in Article 13.1.(m). We do not intend to adopt this derogation because there is no obvious case to exempt these operations which currently take place within the scope of the existing drivers' hours rules without any apparent difficulties.

The working time of mobile workers (basically drivers, crew and other travelling staff) operating on vehicles subject to the EU regulation on drivers' hours is governed by the European Road Transport Working Time Directive 2002/15/EC. A review of the UK's implementing regulations is due to commence later this year.