Driving regulations affecting your coach and minibus hire in Europe vol.1

Your coach and minibus hire in Europe can be affected by strict driving regulation as they apply to all passenger vehicles over 3.5 tones or more than 9 seats including the driver (minivans with less than 9 seats are not affected). The aim of this set of rules is to avoid distortion of competition, improve road safety and ensure drivers’ good working conditions within the European Union.

The compliance with these provisions is subject to continuous monitoring and controls, which are carried out on national and international level via checking tachograph records at the roadside and at the premises of undertakings.

We all know how nuisance this strict rules can be, but they are here to stay. The fines for breaching are heavy and can even lead to blocking of the bus by police, so careful tour planning is necessary.

Some of the basic but very important rules affecting your coach and minibus hire in Europe:

  • Breaks of at least 45 minutes (separable into 15 minutes followed by 30 minutes) should be taken after 4 ½ hours of driving
  • Daily driving period shall not exceed 9 hours, with an exemption of twice a week when it can be extended to 10 hours. These means that coaches or minibuses in Europe, which all have speed limits of 100km/hour, can cover maximum 700 – 800 km per day depending on the road conditions
  • Daily rest period shall be at least 11 hours, with an exception of going down to 9 hours maximum three times a week. When shortened 9 hour rest period is to be taken, driver can be available for up to 15 hours (maximum 10 hours daily driving period still applies)

Breaks and daily driving periods are fairly easy to manage due to the nature of the tours, as the breaks have to be taken anyway for clients comfort and also a touring coach or minibus in Europe rarely covers more than 600 km in one day.

However, daily rest can be a bit tricky if the client is requesting early or late services such as airport transfers on the first and the last day of the tour.

If for example, arrival of the group is at 23:00 with check in to the hotel at 0:00, the driver cannot start the services next day earlier than 09:00, provided his accommodation is with the group. The same applies for early departures. If the groups’ flight is 7:00 with a departure from the hotel at 3:00, the driver has to start his daily rest period of minimum 9 hours earlier, which means at least by 18:00 the day before. If the drivers hotel is not with the group, the daily rest period has to start as to accommodate for additional time for getting to and back from his hotel. This means that late services on the last day of the tour such as driving a group to a restaurant cannot be provided or other arrangements, such as restaurant in walking distance to the hotel, have to be made.

As our price quotations for are usually made at early stage when the flight details are not available, the tour organizers should inform us and highlight this information as soon as it is available, so the additional cost is calculated or the itinerary is changed to meet the driving regulation.

We are happy assisting you or answering any questions regarding this topic, just drop us an email.

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