MCL Transport Consultants

Road Transport Working Time Directive
(the basic structure)

Introduction Prior to its introduction on the 4th April 2005, the Working Time Directive (WTD) for the road transport sector had been the subject of furious debate in Brussels and Westminster since it's initial proposal in 1997. It was expected to be one of the most expensive pieces of legislation ever to affect operators of goods vehicles and their drivers, and deemed likely one of the most onerous. Do not be under any misapprehension on this, what applied in April 2005, applies today, if your company operates 'In Scope' vehicles (those vehicles subject to EU drivers hours and tachograph regulations) the Road Transport Working Time Directive applies to YOU and there is NO OPT OUT.
The implications of the WTD for road transport operations were expected to be significant and hard felt, and regardless of whether you are an operator of 'In Scope' vehicles within the manufacturing industry (or other), your company will feel the effects in the same way as operators within the general haulage sector.

Consider this. At the time of introduction, the Department for Transport (DfT) had estimated that an additional 12,600 vehicles could be required with a compliance cost to the Road Transport Industry in excess of 1 billion per annum. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) carried out a survey at the time and suggested that an average 48-hour working week - without utilising periods of availability (POA's) - could result in a 10% reduction in productivity, resulting in a requirement for an additional 12,900 extra drivers of regulated vehicles - approximately 5% of the then current UK driver workforce.
Consider also, with the national driver shortage at the time, the problem would have become further compounded as existing drivers would be in considerable demand, possibly resulting in certain sectors within transport offering better pay and conditions to attract drivers away from their then current employers.

We believe that many of these factors have transpired. However, we are also aware that few (if any) operators have been the subject of any form of WTD investigation by the policing authority (VOSA), and we are also aware that hundreds of operators of In Scope vehicles have done nothing to implement a WTD policy within their operations some three years after the implementation date.

What actually applies?
Well, in simple terms, the following: -

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What Defines Working Time?
The regulations define 'working time' as being from the beginning to the end of the mobile workers working day, where the mobile worker is at his/her workstation at the disposal of the employer for the purposes of carrying out his/her function, where that function is devoted to all road transport activities.

Working time applicable to all mobile workers includes the following:

Who is affected?
Effectively, any employed worker who either drives or crews an 'In Scope' vehicle as laid out below:

Background - The Admin Function
It was expected that human resource and payroll departments would find their workloads increased as a result of the directive unless the depots affected already had solid procedures for keeping records of drivers hours. However, it was our view that this would not be the case as Transport managers and Supervisors would likely be the ones to produce accurate pay returns, and with them already tasked with ensuring compliance of EU drivers hours and tachograph regulations, as well as maintaining legal fleet compliance under the constraints of their companies operator's licence would find the WTD placing serious demands on them. We have found this to be the case where transport managers have fully implemented the WTD on behalf of their companies.
At the time of implementation, some senior managers within the National/International haulage sector were already confused by the working time directive's content and impact, and again, we've also found this to be the case not only at senior level, but also in many HR/Payroll departments as well.

Putting together the procedures and programs to ensure full compliance was a sizeable task then, and the complexities are no different today. It was enevitable, that this task would fall into the laps of Transport Managers/Supervisors, along with the need to educate and train the workforce who fell under the banner of 'Mobile Worker'.
We believe it's as true today as it was in 2005, that it is imperative that (subject to your operation) sufficient numbers of mobile workers (and vehicles) are in place to maintain service levels within the bounds of the directive, and failure on any level to get this right will affect not just your own operation but that of the people who keep you in business - your customers.

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Employers Checklist

What counts as working time?

Key Information
Key Information
It should be noted also, that working time for a second employer also includes any work other than driving an in-scope vehicle. If you drive a van, fork lift truck or carry out manual work in a warehouse as a second job, the hours worked form part of the weekly working time if the individual in question is classed as a mobile worker.

Calculating working time

Night workers


Record keeping

If tachograph records are used

Key Information
Key Information
If you use Tachograph Charts/Digital print outs as the source for the information for your WTD data, these must be retained for two years.

Although the above gives you an insight into the WTD and its required application, we have included additional links here within this section to further explain the following, and which include:

Putting this in place is a requirement under the law, it is not difficult to put together and maintain records accurately and properly, and despite the fact that it's yet another item of adminstration to be dealt with, we've found in this cost conscious world, it does have certain advantages.

Further Reading
Further information on the Road Transport Working Time Directive can be found at the links below.

Working Time (The Facts) - VOSAPDF logo

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