During the pandemic, in an attempt to help transport companies and their drivers, most EU countries took steps to liberalize their approach to the rules governing drivers' working time. Based on EU legislation, in urgent cases, Member States may allow temporary derogations for a period not exceeding 30 days.
However, this form of introducing exceptions to general provisions may cause difficulties in their application. This is caused by the fact that the derogations apply to selected groups of drivers or types of transport only, and are also territorially applicable (e.g. in Poland only domestic derogations apply). In addition, changes in the application of Regulation (EC) 561/2006 vary in duration and working time details, as a result of which some countries allow shorter rest periods, while others extend the driving time.
The question also arises, how will enforcement authorities from other countries behave in the event of deviations from the standards of another country?
In this case, if the general norm is exceeded in the country where the derogation is applied, other EU countries cannot impose a penalty for the infringement. Thus, when a driver in Poland violated the general norm, e.g. of driving time, but managed to "fit in" the implemented derogation, he or she will not be punished for the infringement during controls in other EU countries. However, the norm may not be exceeded outside Poland, unless individual EU countries also introduce the indicated exceptions to the general provisions.
To assure the safety of traffic participants, Inelo Group experts recommend adhering to the previous regulations, but in a situation when using the derogation allowed in a given country is necessary, each such case should be described on the tachograph printout. This helps drivers avoid problems during subsequent checks. It is worth adding in the description that the driver uses the exception introduced for the duration of the pandemic, as well as to provide employees with the "table of exceptions" applicable in individual EU countries, prepared by Inelo Group experts.