The publication of the French ban on rest in vehicles that entered into force since September 4, 2020 caused quite a stir in the transport industry and doubts how to implement this with the appeared Covid situation. Therefore, the French authorities sent an information note to the European Commission explaining to all Member States the reason for the ban, how to enforce it and sanctions for not complying with it.
Why France has introduced new restrictions for light vehicle?
Let us recall that Decree No. 2020-1104 of August 31, 2020 introduced new sanctions on carriers who force their employees to take daily or weekly rest on board of a light vehicle or in a place of accommodation that does not provide safety, comfort and hygiene conditions. Pursuant to the decree, the employer is also punishable if the employee is unable to prove that he spent the last rest periods in good conditions.
In a letter sent to Brussels, the French explain that the driver, regardless of whether he is employed by the carrier under a contract of employment or works based on self-employment, may not stay on board of a vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes neither during the day nor during the weekly rest. This ban applies to companies based both in France and in any other European countries.
France has introduced new regulations to oblige employers to provide drivers with adequate accommodation outside the vehicle for a daily or weekly rest in an official communique. The conditions of this accommodation must be appropriate – the employer has to ensure comfort, hygiene and access to sanitary facilities.
Therefore, it is expressly forbidden to stay in the cabin of a light vehicle, in its rear part, in roof installations such as a sleeping cabin (so-called henhouse) and in tents next to or near the vehicle.
According to the letter, only the employer is responsible for ensuring that the driver rests in appropriate conditions and paying the employee an equivalent for the night in the vehicle is also punishable by law.
What are the sanctions for not respecting the French ban?
For not complying with the law the transport company can receive a fine of 1500 euros and this may be raised up to 3000 euros in the event of a further transgression.
Moreover, for vehicles registered outside France, a deposit of 750 euros will be required so that the car is not immobilized and the driver could continue to reach his destination.
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