Truck drivers’ rights during the pandemic. Validity and extension of deadlines

25 May 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Member States – including Poland – allow for derogations from the normal rules on the transport of goods. This concerns documents, entitlements or training that have expired during the period of the epidemic. They will remain valid within 60 days from the end of the emergency.

With the introduction on 18 April this year of the amendment to the provisions relating to the prevention, prevention and combating of COVID-19, the validity of the following documents was extended in Poland:

– driving licence, including foreign one;

– driver’s certificate;

– authorizations to drive vehicles.

The extension of the documents concerns, among others, the entry of code 95 in the driving licence, concerning:

– initial qualification,

– accelerated initial qualification,

– the supplementary initial qualification,

– the accelerated initial qualification,

– completion of periodic training.

If any of the documents indicated are no longer valid during an epidemiological emergency or epidemic state, they may still be used. The owner will be obliged to renew the expired document within 60 days after the end of the said emergency. During this time he will have to perform the necessary examinations and training.

The same time regulations apply to those drivers who are unable to do so due to the prevailing pandemic:

– periodic training in road transport,

– compulsory medical and psychological examinations required for practising drivers.

For the time being it is not possible to carry out the above training and examinations.

Authorisation of professional drivers in the European Union

In Germany, facilities have already been introduced in March this year for the renewal of driver licences. In order to protect the continuity of the supply chain, the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) has announced that it will prolong enforcement of the 95 licences for domestic and foreign drivers. The reason for this derogation was that it was not possible to attend training courses and thus to renew the licence. 

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However, the German authority stresses that after the pandemic, professional drivers will be obliged to comply with the relevant requirements. Indeed, the liberal approach to the validity of documents is only temporary.

The renewal of some documents was also applied in Spain. There, the validity of the temporary documents was extended by 60 days after the end of the pandemic. On the other hand, permanent users of permits,other or driving licences will have to renew their documents up to 70 days after the end of the emergency.

In the Netherlands, however, all documents in force in the transport industry have been extended until 1 June 2020. The extension of licences, code 95, ADR and other documents applies to both domestic and foreign drivers. 

Extensions of the deadlines provided for in Directive 2003/59/EC and Directive 2006/126/EC

Dates of periodic training

The deadlines which expired between 1 March and 31 August 2020 are extended by another 6 months. Certificates of Professional Competence also remain valid accordingly.

EU Code 95

The validity of EU code 95 (entry in the driving licence of a professional driver necessary to carry out road transport operations) on the basis of the certificates of professional competence is extended by 6 months from the date indicated in the document.

Driver qualification cards

The validity of the cards, which will expire between 1 March and 31 August 2020, will be extended by 6 months from the expiry date shown on the document.

Lorry drivers’ licence

The validity of driving licences, which will expire between 1 March and 31 August 2020, will be renewed for 6 months from the date referred to in the document.