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IRU calls for flexible drivers’ hours

International road transport body IRU is calling for a more flexible approach to weekly rest periods and the 12-day derogation for coach tour operators.

It has highlighted the coach tourism sector’s high safety record, and the fact that buses and coaches are the safest mode of transport in the EU, as it supports efforts by European institutions to customise drivers’ hours rules.

It says there is no evidence to suggest that this approach would lead to increased driver fatigue or accident risk. Instead, more flexibility in managing daily driving times could lead to less stress for the driver in performing daily tasks.

Figures show that fatalities from traffic accidents involving coaches and buses have halved since 2006.

Matthias Maedge, who leads IRU’s work in the EU, says: “Coach tourism is a business delivered by people for people. Specific and improved rules for coach tourism operators and drivers would lift barriers to a better service.”

Tim Fairhurst, Director of Policy at ETOA, adds: “Coach tourism drives growth from Europe’s key long-haul origin markets, whose visitors typically visit more than one country. The new proposals would allow greater fleet efficiency without compromising safety. The changes are timely and welcome.”