Drivers of vehicles subject to driver’s hours and working time directive regulations could be in for an expensive weekend in France or Belgium. Drivers are required in effect to take a weekend break (regardless of the days of the week it falls on) for a period of at least 45 hours. In effect if they spend the week away and fail to reach the ferry to get home they are then forced to take the 45 hour break wherever they happen to be. To long distance drivers this is an occupational hazard and vehicles are often have a bed built into the cab plus the home comforts of TV, stove, cabin heater and even a microwave oven.
The Belgian and French authorities however have interpreted the regulations to say, in effect, that a weekend is not a weekend if you have to spend it in your cab, no matter how much like a motorhome it may be. The fines being imposed E1,800 (£1,440) would cover the cost of a week’s family holiday in Spain never mind 45 hours in Belgium.
It would appear that the French and Belgian authorities are not trying to boost the takings of Bed and Breakfast establishments but instead are trying to discourage eastern European operators from running backwards and forwards within France and Belgium for weeks on end and not returning to the country of their operating centre. My experience is that the French police in particular will never miss the chance to flex their muscles with any foreign drivers, might improve sales of tents!