vehicle in the United Kingdom or even just CPC qualified and waiting to pass your practical, you should be aware of the limits associated with driving hours as well as the enforced-rest hours. If you do not know about these laws you should find out about them fast, as going over these limits can result in landing yourself in deep trouble. These laws are designed for the safety of the other road users as well as for yourself. Driving an HGV when you are tired can turn the vehicle into a dangerous hazard and accidents are often linked with legal consequences. It is vital that you take these rules seriously.
The Different Regulations
The information provided is based on how we interpret these rules which are set out by the Department for Transport. You should carefully read and understand these rules. Currently, there are 3 rule sets which can apply. These include GB domestic rules, AETR rules and EU rules. Each of these rule sets is different and will depend on what you drive and where you drive for which of the rules will be applicable to you.
For the international journeys, either the European Agreement or EU rules concerning work of the crews of the vehicles engaged in the International Road Transport or AETR will apply.
Whether you are driving the vehicle for commercial reasons or you use the goods-vehicle for your own private use, these rules will still apply. Here are key elements in association to the EU driving-hours rules:
The main EU regulations for driving hours associated with daily driving limits state that:
- You are not allowed to drive over 9 hours in one day, the hours can be increased by an additional hour twice weekly.
- A total of 56 hours in a week.
- 90 hours over 2 consecutive weeks
You will need to record the hours you drive in a Tachograph, which needs to be sent to your boss. The EU rules associated with the rest and breaks that you should be taking:
- You should rest for a minimum of 11 hours every day. You can reduce this down to 9 hour rest times, 3 times between 2 weekly rest periods.
- You must take a 45-hour rest which is unbroken every week. You can reduce this down to 24 hours every second week.
- You need to take breaks that total a minimum of 45 minutes after a maximum of 4 hours and 30 minutes of continuous driving.
Your rest periods weekly after 6 consecutive twenty-four hour periods of driving begin at the end part of the last period that you took.
Rules for Employers
If you are the employer, you are required to monitor all your driver’s driving and working times and to ensure they never exceed the limits. You are also required to record the working time as well as keep these records for a minimum of 2 years.
The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) enforces these regulations. If you are found breaking any of these rules you are at risk of being given:
- An Improvement Notice- this will set out the changes that need to be made within a certain time period.
- A Prohibition Notice- this will be a notice that states you have to immediately stop dangerous activities or that you need to comply with the stated regulations.
DVSA takes “proportionate” approaches to this enforcement. Formal actions are typically taken against the serious or persistent offenders. We highly advise that you always remain legal and never take a chance.
In some cases, there may be an exemption to a rule like relaxation during a Forth Road Bridge closure or relaxation during a Calais Industrial action. For this reason, it is important you know about these relaxation rules if your driver ever faces this type of situation.
The EU has often been criticised for the introduction of these legislations which often appear to only be of a benefit to certain countries in Europe. However, the majority of workers within the haulage industries agree on that the rules happen to be different. The driver hour’s rules and the use of a tachograph have definitely benefited the HGV drivers in the UK, which reduces pressure on the drivers to overwork in order to get jobs done on time. Adequate control over commercial-vehicle rest times and driving is important for safe operations. This is because a tired driver is more prone to becoming involved in an accident.