Anyone who is responsible for driving a goods vehicle in the UK needs to understand driving hour limits and how the law enforces rest hours. Anyone who is driving under these circumstances and do not know these laws will find it necessary to learn them as quickly as possible because a failure to follow them could cause significant problems. The regulations are there not only for your safety but also for the others on the road with you. If you are an HGV driver and driving an HGV when you are too tired to do so then your vehicle can quickly become a weapon capable of killing someone. It is, therefore, necessary for all HGV drivers to follow these rules and to take them seriously.
The 3 Sets of Driving Hours Rules
The information herein is provided based on our understanding of the rules which are determined and implemented by the Department of Transport. It is your responsibility to read and understand the rules fully. The 3 sets of rules to be aware of include the GB domestic rules as well as the AETR rules and the EU rules. Each group of rules are independent and separate and you will need to understand which applies to you.
If you are making international trips, then the rules that apply to you will either fall under the EU rules or the AETR rules. It is important to note that it makes no difference whether you’re using your goods vehicle for commercial or private purposes because the rules will still apply to you. We will now take a look at some of the most important aspects of the EU driving rules.
What Are the Daily Driving Limits?
1. The rules require that you do not drive over 9 hours a day. The exception to this is that twice a week you are allowed to drive for up to 10 hours.
2. You are only allowed to drive a maximum of 56 hours in a week.
3. Over any two-week period of time, your hours cannot accumulate to more than 90 hours.
You are required to use a tachograph to record all of your driving time and it must be given to your employer. Now the rules on rest and breaks required by EU.
1. You are required to rest at least 11 hours every day. The exception to this allows you to rest only 9 hours a day 3 days over any two-week period.
2. Once you have been driving a maximum of 4 1/2 hours, you are required to take a 45-minute break.
3. You are required to take a 45-hour break that is uninterrupted every other week and on the opposite weeks, you’re allowed to break for only 24 hours.
As an employer, you are equally responsible for monitoring your employees and ensuring that they don’t go over driving limits. Employers must maintain a full two years of recorded work time on all employees.
The DVSA is the agency that regulates and enforces these rules. Here are some of the things that can happen if you’re found to have broken them.
1. A notice to improve. This will state any changes they require you to make and you must do it by the date they indicate.
2. A notice of probation. If you receive this, then it means you must immediately stop whatever dangerous activity you were found doing. It requires that you immediately begin to comply with the rules.
DVSA does its best to be fair and reasonable in its enforcement of these rules. The most formal actions are usually not taken unless a person proves to be a serious and persistent offender. We recommend that you follow the rules and don’t ever break them.
Occasionally, the rules do have exemptions such as the relaxation for the Calius Industrial action or the Forth Road Bridge closure. It is up to you to find if there are any rules that have been given some type of relaxation if you ever find yourself potentially on the wrong side of the rules.
Some people have accused the EU of enacting certain legislation that only benefits a select few countries in Europe. The majority of people that are actually in the industry of hauling goods feel that these rules are different. The use of the tachograph and the rules drivers are required to follow have often benefited HGV drivers in the UK. To drive safely, it is necessary to control how much rest time a driver must take because without them the driver is more likely to drive beyond their limits which makes them a danger to all others on the road.