The European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) sets drivers' hours rules for international trade. The agreement covers more than 40 European states and includes other countries such as Russia, Turkey, Croatia and the Ukraine.
The AETR rules are now aligned with the EU rules, so all maximum driving times and limits and minimum break and rest times are the same in each set of rules.
Which countries are covered by AETR drivers' hours rules?
The European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) exclusively covers:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Serbia and Montenegro
Other countries covered by the agreement fall under the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA). See a map showing EU, AETR and EEA countries - Below.
The AETR rules apply for the whole of any journey that passes through or ends in a country covered by the agreement. This includes any EU countries passed through while travelling.
Vehicles covered by AETR rules
The AETR rules cover goods vehicles - including vehicle and trailer combinations - with a maximum weight over 3.5 tonnes. Passenger carrying vehicles with more than eight passenger seats are also included in the AETR rules.
Journeys to or through the countries that are signatories to the AETR Agreement are subject to AETR rules. AETR rules apply to the whole journey, including any EU countries passed through.
The AETR rules were aligned with Council Regulation (EEC) 3820/85 in April 1992. Until a further alignment occurs, these will remain in force. Some specialised vehicles are exempt from the rules. For a full list refer to the regulation.
Breaks and driving limits
After a period of no more than 4.5 hours of driving, a driver must take a break of at least 45 minutes, unless the driver begins a daily or weekly rest period.
Alternatively, a full 45-minute break can be replaced by two or three breaks of no less than 15 minutes during or immediately after the driving period, so that the total break time adds up to at least 45 minutes in the 4.5 hours of driving. Breaks of less than 15 minutes will not contribute towards the qualifying break time, but neither will they be counted as duty or driving time
Note: 'Wiping the slate clean' applies
Daily driving limit
The maximum daily driving time is 9 hours.
This can be increased to 10 hours twice a week
Weekly driving limit
The AETR rules define no maximum weekly driving limit. However, a weekly rest period must be taken after no more than six daily driving periods. It is possible to drive up to 56 hours between weekly rest periods (or 58 hours if the six daily periods straddle two 'fixed' weeks).
Fortnightly driving limit
The maximum fortnightly driving time is 90 hours.
Daily rest periods
A driver must take a daily rest period of at least 11 continuous hours. This must be taken within each period of 24 hours after the end of the previous daily or weekly rest period.
Alternatively, 12 hours' daily rest may be spread over the 24-hour period, taken in two or three periods, the last of which must be at least 8 consecutive hours, and all of which must be at least 1 hour.
Drivers may reduce their daily rest period to no less than 9 continuous hours, although this can be done no more than three times in each fixed week. Reduced daily rest must be compensated for by an equivalent period by the end of the week following the week when the reductions took place. This compensating rest does not have to be taken in one block, but each piece must be added to another rest period of at least 8 hours' duration
To summarise, a driver who begins work at 06.00 on day 1 must, by 06.00 on day 2 at the latest, have completed either:
a daily rest period of at least 11 hours; or
a split daily rest period of at least 12 hours; or
if entitled, a daily rest period of no less than 9 hours.
Where a daily rest period is taken, this may be taken in a vehicle, provided that it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.
Where a vehicle is continuously manned by two or more drivers, each driver must have a daily rest period of at least 8 consecutive hours within the 30-hour period that starts at the end of the last daily or weekly rest period. For this rule to apply, there must be more than one driver travelling with the vehicle at all times. If, for any reason, only one driver is left on board the vehicle, then the single driver rules will apply.
Journeys involving ferry or train transport
Where a driver accompanies a vehicle that is being transported by ferry or train, the rest requirements are more flexible.
A daily rest period may be interrupted no more than once, but the total interruption should be as short as possible and must not exceed 1 hour in total.
Where the rest period is interrupted in this way:
the total cumulative rest period must be extended by 2 hours;
one part of the rest period must be taken on land, either before or after the journey (the other part can be taken on the ferry/train); and
a bunk or couchette must be available during both parts of the rest period. Time spent on the ferry or train that is not treated as daily rest can be treated as break
Weekly rest periods
A driver must start a weekly rest period after no more than six daily driving periods. The weekly rest period may be postponed until the end of the sixth day if the total driving time over the six days does not exceed the maximum corresponding to six daily driving periods
A daily driving period is:
the total accumulated driving time between the end of one daily rest period and the beginning of the following daily rest period; or
the total accumulated driving time between a daily rest period and a weekly rest period.
A driver must take a minimum weekly rest period of at least 45 consecutive hours.
Alternatively, a driver can reduce a weekly rest period to a minimum of 36 consecutive hours if these are taken at base, or 24 consecutive hours if taken away from base. If a reduction is taken, it must be compensated for by an equivalent period of rest taken in one continuous block before the end of the third week following the week in question. The compensating rest must be attached to a period of at least 8 hours that, at the request of the driver, may be taken at the vehicle's parking place or the driver's base.
A weekly rest period that begins in one week and continues into the following week may be attached to either of these weeks.