Minimum breaks and rest periods in occasional road passenger transport [Regulation (EU) 2024/1258]

Driver fatigue, characterized by poor steering control, decreased reaction time, poor speed tracking, and loss of attention, is a significant risk factor that endangers drivers, passengers, and other road users.

Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, which sets minimum breaks and rest periods for road freight and passenger transport drivers, does not adequately address the nature of occasional bus and coach services or the specific needs of their drivers. To remedy this, the European Commission proposed amendments to introduce more flexible rules for splitting breaks and scheduling daily and weekly rest periods.

Q: What are the main changes introduced by Regulation (EU) 2024/1258 on Occasional Road Passenger Transport?

A: The main changes include greater flexibility in scheduling breaks and rest periods for drivers, harmonization of rules for national and international services, the obligation to have a “route sheet” on board the vehicle, and the possibility of Member States impose sanctions for infringements committed in other countries.

Breaks: Drivers engaged in occasional-passenger transport services are allowed to split their obligatory break into two breaks of at least 15 minutes each (min 45 minutes in total).

Daily rests: Drivers engaged in a single occasional-passenger service lasting at least 6 days (6×24-hour periods) are allowed to postpone the start of the daily rest period by 1 hour, when the total daily driving period for that day does not exceed 7 hours. This derogation may be used twice for services lasting at least 8 days (8×24-hour periods).

Weekly rests : Drivers engaged in a national single occasional-passenger service are also allowed to postpone the weekly rest period for up to 12 consecutive 24-hour periods.

Enforceability of derogations: Obligation to carry on board the vehicle paper or electronic copies of journey forms covering the previous 28 days, and, from 31 December 2024, the previous 56 days. Information requires in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009. This obligation ceases to apply at the latest when the vehicle uses a tachograph allowing the recording of the type of passenger service. By 23 November 2025, the Commission is required to adopt implementing acts laying down appropriate technical specifications for tachographs.

By 31 December 2026, the Commission is required to assess the options for digitalising the journey form for drivers engaged in occasional passenger services and, if appropriate, present to the European Parliament and the Council a legislative proposal regarding such digitalisation

Q: What are the documentation requirements for drivers?

A: Drivers must have an “journey forms” on board the vehicle with essential information about the trip. This documentation is necessary for both international and national services, ensuring that authorities can verify compliance with rules regarding breaks and rest periods.

Q: Is it correct on the 22 May 2024 this Regulation (EU) 2024/1258 has entered into force?

A: Background: Article 8(10) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 – introduced by Regulation (EU) No 2020/1054 – requires the Commission to examine whether more appropriate rules can be adopted for drivers engaged in the carriage of passengers by road on an occasional basis.

Adoption: Regulation (EU) No 2024/1258 amending Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 was adopted on 24 April 2024 and entered into force on 22 May 2024.While this Regulation applies directly in the EU, all Member States will need a new Statutory Instrument from the DoT to enable authorities to enforce it.