Trucking Around the World: Iceland
Iceland is not a member of the European Community (EU), but we have to follow the rules of the EU. Icelandic truck drivers have to be 20 years of age and go through truck driving school. There is a special test for trailers, another test for other kinds of trucks and so on. Here there are two shipping companies that have all the trucks in Iceland.
Trucking in IcelandThere are laws about the length of the trailer and the length of a truck towing a trailer. There are a lot of brand new trucks here, nearly all of them European: Scania, Volvo, Benz, Renault, Man. All trucks over five tons in Iceland have a speed retarder. They cannot go faster then 90 kilometers (about 70 miles) per hour.
We follow the EU regulations for driving and stopping time--drive four hours and rest for 45 minutes. After nine hours of driving, we must take eight hours of sleep.
The roadways are not so good. There are a lot of one-car bridges where only one car can go over them at a time. In some places the roads are not very wide. The longest route here in Iceland is only 700-800 kilometers. There are small road restaurants where truck drivers stop to rest and eat.
The scenery here is magnificent. Iceland has the biggest glacier in Europe. When American astronauts where looking for a country to train before they went to the moon in 1969, they came to Iceland because they thought Iceland was similar to places on the moon. Because of the location, being so north on our planet, the summer days are bright and in July there is daylight for 22-23 hours. In the winter, it is cold and dark. The culture here is more western (American) than European.
Drivers do not make good wages. The young guys with new licenses like to drive trucks and don't mind the low wages. Because there is no trucking union, drivers are pressured to drive through bad weather and icy conditions. There are many truck crashes here. The extreme winter weather, with high winds and snow, sometimes forces 45-ton trucks off the road.
The good thing about driving in Iceland is the scenery. Driving in good weather in the summertime at night, that is the best thing.
Written By: Dori Sig