Driver and truck regulations
Whether employed or self-employed, the truck driver observes strict rules to limit the risk of accidents. These apply to all drivers, French and foreign, regardless of vehicle registration. Driving time, breaks and rest periods are recorded so that they can be checked in the company by an inspector. First, the maximum driving times should be mentioned:
For break times, if the driver drives for 4.5 hours, he must take a 45-minute break. He can also take 2 breaks, of 15 minutes then 30 minutes, spread over this 4h30 range. As for the rest period, it is defined according to the nature of the transport, i.e. subject or not to Regulation (EC) n°561/2006:
Heavy vehicle licenses C, C1 and C1E
At the base of the profession, the permit certifies the training and apprenticeship followed by the driver. There are several categories, depending on age, the type of transport to be carried out as well as the permits already obtained. Among the most common are:
Permit C: transport of goods or equipment. The candidate, holder of license B, is at least 18 years old. No more than 7.5t before the age of 21;
The truck, a vehicle that requires rigorous maintenance
All vehicles must be accompanied by their maintenance booklet. This is the legal and professional proof summarizing the information on the truck as well as the follow-up of the repairs. It also traces the various technical inspections carried out each year for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. As a precaution, the road driver carries out a few visual and auditory checks before each start to ensure his safety and that of other road users. It is his responsibility in the event of an incident.
Regulations for heavy goods vehicles on the road
Speed limits for trucks
You all have in mind the 60, 80 or even 90 buttons, stuck on the left rear corner of truck trailers. They indicate the maximum authorized speed according to the type of track. As a general rule, the authorized speeds for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are as follows:
These speeds may change depending on the type of load (machinery, hazardous materials). Heavy goods vehicles are also subject to specific signage on the road network, sometimes with lanes dedicated to them in the event of a significant drop, in tunnels or on bridges (weight to be respected)
Loading, weight and dimensions
Each driver refers to the tonnage and dimension rules, listed in the highway code. When loading, he must know the empty weight (PV) of his vehicle as well as the PTAC to determine the payload, the weight of the goods. Each truck respects a total authorized rolling weight (GCW) according to the number of axles. Tables of characteristics list:
Lengths for work vehicles and towing vehicles;
Derogations for transporting an additional load also exist depending on the type of truck (gas, electric) and its equipment (retarder). The driver can then increase the total weight from 500kg to 1 ton.
Authorization and ban on driving
In France, a truck weighing more than 7.5t is prohibited from driving between Saturday 10 p.m. and Sunday 10 p.m., all year round, not to mention public holidays. Local restrictions may be imposed in order to reduce the risk of pollution or improve safety when going on holiday. Again, there are exemptions for certain carriers (animals, events, air freight, fuel, moving, etc.). Emergency situations such as natural disasters or accidents may also give rise to exceptions.