The rules that apply to goods vehicle drivers differ according to what type of vehicle they drive. The rules discussed here apply only to drivers of vehicles used for “the carriage of goods by road” which is defined as any journey undertaken entirely or in part on open public roads.
EU Drivers Hours Rules generally apply to drivers of LGVs (Large Goods Vehicles) of over 3.5 tonnes. These rules set out the limits for daily, weekly, and fortnightly trips. It specifies the minimum break times during a working day as well as the daily and weekly rest periods. LGVs usually have a tachograph in the cab and drivers are also covered by Working Time Regulations.
The 2006 Regulations of the EU rules define a driver as:
– Anyone who drives a vehicle
– Anyone carried on a vehicle in order to drive it
Any driver who spends any amount of time driving during the day puts him or her in the scope of EU Rules for the duration of that day. This requires the driver to comply with the EU Rules for driving limits, daily driving, break and rest requirements, as well as weekly rest requirements. This is part of owning an HGV Licence.
The EU Rules require that after a 4.5-hour drive a driver must have an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes unless a rest period is taken (see below). During this break period, the driver may not take part in any other type of driving work.
This excludes work other than driving. For example, if a driver drives a vehicle for 2.5 hours, does other work for an hour, and then drives for another 2.5 hours, he or she must still take a 45-minute break.
The 45-minute break can be taken by having a break of at least 15 minutes and another break of at least 30 minutes during a 4.5-hour period. For example, a driver can drive for 2 hours, take a 15-minute break, and then drive for a further 2.5 hours before taking another 30-minute break.
After a 45-minute break has been taken, the next 4.5-hour driving period starts again with the same break rules. (There are different rules for professional drivers who may be members of the Territorial Army, which is not covered here).
Daily Driving Time
The maximum driving time allowed under the EU Rules is 9 hours per day which can be increased to 10 hours twice during a week. This means a driver is allowed to drive for a 4.5 hour period, have a 45-minute break, and then have another driving period of 4.5 hours.
Daily Driving Time is calculated by accumulating the total driving time between the end of a daily rest period and the start of the following rest period or the total driving time between a daily and weekly rest period.
Weekly Driving Limit
The weekly driving limit in a ‘fixed’ week is 56 hours. This is calculated by applying the following formula:
– 4 x 9 hours per day + 2 x 10 hours per day equalling 56 hours.
A ‘fixed’ week starts at midnight on a Monday and ends one week later.
The driver must have a daily rest period within each 24 hour work period. This rest period must be uninterrupted and any time spent on other employment work or self-employed work does not count towards a rest period.
A minimum 11-hour daily rest period is referred to as a ‘regular’ rest period.
A regular daily rest period can be divided into two parts. For example, the first uninterrupted rest period must be at least 3 hours long and can be taken at any time during a working day. A second uninterrupted rest period must be at least 9 hours long bringing the minimum total rest period to 12 hours.