Safety limits for working drivers likely to become law

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Series Details Vol.7, No.47, 20.12.01, p18
Publication Date 20/12/2001
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Date: 20/12/01

By Martin Banks

PROPOSED laws to limit the number of hours self-employed coach and lorry drivers can work for safety reasons are a step closer to being passed.

The restrictions are likely to become binding under the EU-wide working time directive within seven years, following negotiations between the European Parliament and Council of Ministers.

Liberal MEP Liz Lynne, who has led calls for stricter controls on working hours for coach and lorry drivers, welcomed the development.

"Drivers falling asleep at the wheel or simply making mistakes because they are tired, cause too many road accidents," she said.

"The terrible disasters which recently occurred in the Alpine road tunnels also highlight the need for action.

"Drivers who are over-tired are not just a risk to themselves but other people - pedestrians, passengers such as pupils on school buses, other vehicles and even train passengers."

The European Commission is to carry out a study into the hours currently worked by coach and lorry drivers, with a view to including them within the working time directive by 2008, said the British deputy.

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