Frachtbox team

The Hidden Heroes Of Logistics: Truck Drivers

Published 26 Jun 2021

The Hidden Heroes Of Logistics: Truck Drivers

The Hidden Heroes Of Logistics: Truck Drivers

A large part of the goods traffic in industrialised countries is transported by truck, and not only within national borders. Here, truck drivers do a back-breaking job! Eight hours a day they drive along the roads, ignoring tailgating drivers and thinking for inattentive pedestrians or cyclists.

And now the Corona pandemic came on top of that: while entire countries were hoarding purchases and isolating themselves at home, the truck drivers kept the public supply going. They endured the fact that many motorway service stations were closed or had no hot food, that the already limited sociability of this job was reduced even further, and that sanitary facilities were even more unhygienic due to cleaners who were summarily rationalised away.

Long-distance drivers spend a lot of time away from their homes and are often separated from their families even at weekends. Tours are often not planned so that the driver is back home before the Sunday driving ban begins.

One Of The Oldest And Most Important Professions Since The Invention Of The Wheel

Whether horse-drawn vehicles, automobiles, buses or trucks, drivers have always been needed to get from one place to another. A truck driver, is a driver of lorries (trucks) and other heavy goods vehicles. Often this occupation is held by men, but the number of women truck drivers is on the rise.

The driver is present when the truck or trailer is loaded, may help and supervise the loading work. When the goods and pallets are loaded, the truck driver can start.

A long-distance driver is expected to find his way quickly in unfamiliar areas and reach his destination by the fastest route.

On arrival at the destination, the truck driver parks the vehicle in the unloading position, opens the tarpaulins, doors, side walls, etc. and is present when the goods are unloaded until the end.


Working Time Regulations For Truck Drivers

If a truck driver falls into a microsleep due to overtiredness or too long driving time, this can have far more dramatic consequences: Serious accidents are not uncommon in such situations. Working hours for truck drivers should therefore always be observed.

Daily and weekly working time:

Normally, when considering working hours for drivers, a week is assumed to start at 0 a.m. on Monday and end at midnight on Sunday. In this week, a maximum working time of 48 hours may not be exceeded - this is stated in the Working Hours Act for drivers.

This results in a daily working time of eight hours, which should not be exceeded on average. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule.

Because: The Working Hours Act for truck drivers also gives them the possibility to work up to ten hours a day. However, this is only possible if an average working time of eight hours is not exceeded within the next six months (24 weeks).

The same applies to weekly working hours. Professional drivers should not exceed a working time of 48 hours a week. However, this is allowed if a number of hours of 60 per week is not exceeded and an average of 48 hours per week is achieved within four months (16 weeks).

The working hours for truck drivers apply to both employees and self-employed persons. There are also normally no distinctions between local and long-distance transport.


Do Driving And Rest Times Count As Working Time?

Driving times and rest periods apply to truck drivers who drive a motor vehicle with a permissible total weight of more than 3.5 t. Basically, it must be stated that a distinction must be made between driving times and working times for professional drivers. Driving time is part of the working time of professional drivers. This refers to the work behind the wheel.

As already mentioned, only driving times are counted as working time, not rest periods. This means that the Working Hours Act stipulates for truck drivers that two complete driving periods of 4.5 hours each, for example, may only be completed twice per working day without exceeding the maximum limit of 10 hours. Rest periods, which a truck driver must also take in addition to the driving time, are not included in the working time.

The following applies: After six hours, workers must take a 30-minute break. If the working time for the truck driver is more than nine hours per day, even 45 minutes are mandatory. The breaks can be divided into 15-minute sections. Although the Labour Code only provides for a break after six hours of work at the latest, the rules on driving and rest periods must not be disregarded.

If truck drivers have already been driving for 4.5 hours, they are not allowed to continue driving until they have reached six hours. In this case, a break of at least 45 minutes must be taken after 4.5 hours. It is important that truck drivers are able to distinguish working time from driving time.

Working time for professional drivers also includes other aspects of a truck driver's work in addition to pure driving time:

·         the loading and unloading times

·         cleaning and maintenance work

·         time spent on legal and official formalities

·         monitoring loading and unloading Operations

·         waiting times

How Is Compliance With Road Traffic Regulations Monitored?

Compliance with road traffic regulations is monitored by the Federal Office for Goods Transport and the police. The tachograph or the EC control device plays a special role in this. The device contains the driver card, which must always be carried by the truck driver. It can be used to prove that the last 28 days have been recorded. If there is no recording equipment in the vehicle, a daily log sheet must be kept.

New EU Truck Law 

EU Parliament enforced tougher rules for truck drivers on 8.7.2020. The aim is to improve the situation of drivers and to prevent wage dumping.

Drivers are not allowed to sleep in their trucks:

The legislative package that has now been adopted in Brussels states, among other things, that truck drivers may no longer spend their statutory weekly breaks in the vehicle. If the drivers cannot spend their rest break at home, the employer must pay for the costs of accommodation, according to the text of the law.

Home leave for foreign drivers:

Furthermore, the duty roster of a foreign truck driver must provide for a trip home after three to four weeks of work. This regulation also applies to drivers of long-distance buses. Companies must adjust their schedules accordingly after it comes into force.


Occupational Diseases Of Truck Drivers

An online survey conducted in 2011 by Annika Adler as part of her diploma thesis shows that almost half of all drivers complain of acute complaints:

·         41% back problems

·         22% overweight

·         14% joint complaints

·         13% typical stress symptoms

Other typical complaints of truck drivers are vein problems, haemorrhoids, high blood pressure or metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Furthermore, lack of exercise leads to atrophy of the back and abdominal muscles, which in turn are so strained by heavy carrying and lifting that serious health problems can result. This sheds light on another problem, namely the loading and unloading of the truck by the driver. According to a new report by the FOPH, 90.9 per cent of drivers surveyed by the FOPH have to unload their vehicle themselves - even though they are not always contractually responsible for doing so.


Royal Thank You To Truck Drivers In Switzerland

A red carpet, a white table, delicious food and refreshments. Such a royal welcome awaited truck drivers at the Grauholz service area during a great event organised by the Swiss initiative Change Moments as a heartfelt thank you for their work during the difficult time of the pandemic. Amazement and surprise were mixed with great joy and happy smiles of the truckers caught on hidden camera.

In addition to hosting a snack, the organisers also prepared a large banner with the inscription: “Thank you dear truck drivers. Nothing works without you!”. This could also be seen from the motorway.

Dear truck drivers, we know that it is often not easy for you. Thank you for doing this job - for us!