There are various rules for drivers based on what they drive. The rules you will find below apply to vehicles that are only used for transportation of goods by road. In other words, this is any journey made in part or entirely on roads that are open to the public. The HGV hazard perception test must be passed before one can drive an HGV but if a driver is tired or has been driving too long then they will be prone to mistakes; this is why the Drivers Hours Rules were put into place.
For those drivers operating most large goods vehicles (over 3.5 tonnes), the EU Drivers Hours Rules apply. Drivers of LGVs usually have a tachograph inside their cab. Often, the EU drivers set (daily, weekly, and even fortnightly) limits, and dictate minimum drivers’ break times during their working day, as well as daily and weekly rest periods. Also, the Working Time Regulations cover these drivers.
According to the 2006 EU rules or regulations, a driver is anyone who:
- Drives a vehicle
- Is within the vehicle for the purpose of driving
During the day, any amount of driving places the driver in EU rules’ scope for the rest of that day. For this reason, the driver must adhere to the daily break, driving, and rest requirements, as well as weekly driving limits and rest requirements.
A driver should take an undisturbed break of 45 minutes after driving 4.5 hours unless s/he takes a rest period appropriately. Also, they might not perform any other driving work during this break. Generally, this excludes carrying out ‘other’ work instead of driving; that means that if a driver is on the road for 2.5 hours, performs other work for an hour before driving for an extra 2.5 hours, it’s prudent s/he takes a 45-minute break.
The driver can, however, replace the 45-minute break with a single break of more than 15 minutes, followed by another break of a minimum of 30 minutes within 4.5 hours. Therefore, you can drive for 2 hours, take a 15-minute break, then drive a further 2.5 hours and take a 30-minute break. So, after this 45-minute break, the following 4.5 hour driving period starts (this hasn’t covered professional drivers who are also part of the Territorial Army).
Daily Driving Time
Typically, the maximum daily driving time is 9 hours. That means that you can drive for 4.5 hours, take a 45-minute break before driving for 4.5 hours. The driver can increase this to 10 hours twice a week. In other words, daily driving time is the overall accumulated driving time between the end of a particular daily rest period and the start of the next daily rest period or the whole accumulated driving time between a specific daily rest period and another weekly rest duration.
Weekly Driving Limit
In a ‘fixed’ week, the weekly driving limit is usually 56 hours. That translates to 4 x 9-hour days, and an extra 2 x 10-hour days for a sum of 56 hours. Typically, the ‘fixed’ week begins on Monday Midnight and ends a week later.
Typically, a driver must take a daily rest period within every duration of 24 hours. Also, the rest must be an undisturbed period. Furthermore, time spent working on other tasks, even if it is self-employed work, shouldn’t count as rest. Usually, a minimum 11-hour daily rest period is known as a ‘regular’ daily rest period. Also, a driver can split this period into two.
The first period should be a minimum of 3 hours undisturbed rest, which you can take at any time of the day. For the second period, it should be a minimum of 9 hours of uninterrupted rest, which gives a total minimum of 12 hours.