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Driving time in the road transport sector

Driving time in the road transport sector

Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 lays down rules on driving times, breaks and rest periods for drivers of lorries and buses in order to improve working conditions and road safety.


Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport and amending Council Regulations (EEC) No 3821/85 and (EC) No 2135/98 and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85


The regulation applies to the carriage by road of goods by vehicles with a total mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes and to the transport by road of passengers by vehicles that are adapted to carry more than nine people (including the driver).

It applies, irrespective of the country of registration of the vehicle, to carriage by road in the EU and between EU countries, Switzerland and European Economic Area countries.

Minimum age

Drivers and drivers’ mates must be at least 18, except in certain circumstances for trainee drivers’ mates for whom the minimum age is 16 (see Article 5 for more details).

Rules on driving times, breaks and rest periods

Detailed rules for these are set out in Articles 6, 7, 8 and 9. They include:

  • a maximum amount of daily driving time of 9 hours, that can be extended to 10 hours no more than twice a week;
  • a maximum amount of weekly driving time of 56 hours;
  • a maximum total accumulated driving time during any two consecutive weeks of 90 hours;
  • after driving for a period of 4.5 hours, a driver must take an uninterrupted break of not less than 45 minutes, unless he takes a rest period;
  • a minimum daily rest of 11 hours, which can be reduced to 9 hours, no more than 3 times a week;
  • a regular weekly rest period of minimum 45 hours and a reduced weekly rest period of a minimum of 24 hours.


Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 was amended by Regulation (EU) No 165/2014. This sets out requirements concerning the construction, installation and use of recording equipment (tachograph) that must be fitted in the vehicles that fall within the scope of this regulation.

The tachograph is a device that records the driving time, breaks and rest periods, as well as periods of availability and other work undertaken by a driver. The aim of the tachograph is to:

  • control drivers’ compliance with the rules in force;
  • monitor the driving times of professional drivers in order to prevent fatigue;
  • ensure fair competition and road safety.

The new law introduces the ‘smart tachograph’ which, once it comes into operation, will provide automated recording through satellite positioning. This should improve compliance and permit early detection of possible fraud or misuse.

It is obligatory to install a digital tachograph in new vehicles having a mass of more than 3.5 tonnes (in goods transport) and carrying more than 9 persons including the driver (in passenger transport).



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 561/2006

11.4.2007, with the exception of Article 10(5), Article 26(3) and (4), and Article 27, which enter into force on 1.5.2006


OJ L 102 of 11.4.2006

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009

4.12.2009, with the exception of a partial application see Article 31


OJ L 300 of 14.11.2009

Regulation (EU) No 165/2014

1.3.2014, with exceptions listed in Article 48


OJ L 60 of 28.2.2014

last update 10.06.2014