Skip to main content

Working Time Directive

Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the operation of the Working Time Directive in the transport sector; how many prosecutions have been made against employees in the road freight sector for failing to implement it in each year since the directive came into force; and how many of these prosecutions have been successful. (103601)

The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005, which implement the European Road Transport Working Time Directive (2002/15/EC) in Great Britain, have been in force since 4 April 2005 (similar regulations implementing the directive in Northern Ireland have been in force since 16 June 2005). The regulations apply to “mobile workers” (basically drivers and crew) operating on vehicles subject to the separate EU drivers’ hour rules—which apply to most HGV drivers and about half the bus and coach drivers in the UK. Mobile workers who do not operate under the EU drivers’ hours rules are subject to the requirements of the main Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC).

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) enforce the regulations in Great Britain (the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency enforce the regulations in Northern Ireland), normally in response to complaints received. To date, nobody has been prosecuted for an infringement of the regulations. This reflects the fact that the initial onus has been on educating employers and employees rather than prosecution. The arrangements for enforcement are being kept under review.