New common safety rules affecting road transport in the EU have come into force. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents and improve conditions for road users, notably professional drivers. Twenty percent of fatal road accidents are caused by trucks or heavy vehicles, Brussels said, and driver fatigue is often to blame.
Tachographs are no longer allowed to use paper to register data; they must be digital, making falsification more difficult. Time spent behind the wheel when on the job is limited to a maximum of 56 hours per week.
This is down from 74 hours which, according to a European Commission spokesman, is the norm in some countries. The minimum rest time is now nine hours per day.
The rules also shift liability for non-compliance to employers of drivers and freight companies instead of placing it on the drivers themselves. Coach operators say the rules will push up costs, risk jobs and dent salaries.