The current topic: French interpretation of break regulations for double manned lorries

EU regulations are open to interpretation


Erkrath, Germany. 02.05.2016 - In the past few weeks, there has been a discussion and disagreement in France on the topic 'driving time and break regulation for double manned lorry teams'. This is because French authorities have a new interpretation for the existing EU regulations, and are enforcing their interpretation. 

In the past, the team in a double manned lorry did not needed to pause for 45 minutes after four and a half hours driving. The drivers simply switch positions after four and a half hours, and continue onwards, as, up until now, the entire EU has considered the driver in the passenger seat to be on break.

However, TimoCom users now report that France is interpreting the regulations differently. According to French authorities, the lorry itself must be off the road for 45 minutes before continuing the drive - regardless of whether there is a second driver or not. Time spent in the passenger seat is no longer considered a break in France. French authorities only consider a break to be a break if the tachograph shows the bed symbol - which requires the truck to stay in one place.

However, this applies to more than just driving times that take place in France itself, but rather also to all other countries in the event that the lorrywill be travelling in France within the next 28 days.  Every break not taken, regardless of which country it was not taken in, is considered a category 4 violation and costs 750 Euro. The French police has already fined for the perceived violation, with sums between 4,500 EUR and 6,000 EUR.

The German Shipping and Logistics Union (DSLV) is collecting information on inspections, and would be happy to hear from drivers in order to accurately represent the scope of the French controls to the EU commission.


The Regulation

The French police is invoking Article 34 from European Regulation 165/2014. This regulation states that a break must be entered with the bed symbol on the record sheet or trip recorder in order to count as a break. However, guidelines listed in the Road Transport 561/2006, 2006/22 / EC, No. 3821/85 are as follows:

"3) If a vehicle is manned by more than one driver, and if a second crew member is available for driving when necessary, is sitting next to the driver of the vehicle and is not actively involved in assisting the driver driving the vehicle, a period of 45 minutes of that crew member's 'period of availability' can be regarded as a 'break'."

It is therefore not crucial for both drivers to take a break after driving uninterrupted for four and a half hours, as long as the second driver is capable of continuing.



Until the matter has been clarified, the best course of action is for drivers driving through France to take their first break after four and a half hours.

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