Different HGV drivers have to follow different rules. The rules that we delve into herein are related to vehicles used in the ‘carriage of goods by road’ in journeys made entirely or in part on public roads.
The EU Drivers Hours Rules apply any driver of a large goods vehicle, better known as LGH with a weight capacity of 3.5 tonnes. LGV drivers typically carry a tachograph in their cabs to track driver performance. The Driver Hours Rules has established allowed daily weekly and fortnight driving times. Moreover, the rules set out the minimum break times for every driver should take while working as well as the weekly and daily rest periods. When you undertake your training for a Cat C Licence, this is something you will learn more about.
In addition to the Driver Hours Rules, drivers must also follow the Working Time Regulations.
Under the EU rules established in the 2006 Regulations, the definition of drivers is anyone who:
– Drives a vehicle
– An individual carried on the motor vehicle to drive it.
Any amount of driving over the course of the day places the driver under the scope of the EU rules for that particular day. As such, the driver must comply with the daily driving times, break and rest requirements, as well as weekly rest requirements and driving limits.
A driver must take a break for an uninterrupted 45 minutes after driving for 4.5 hours. This rule must be followed unless the driver takes a rest period (explained below). During this break, the driver cannot conduct any other driving work.
The rules exclude conducting other work. For a better understanding, consider this: if a driver drives for 2.5 hours, stop and does any other work for another hour and gets back on the road for a further 2.5 hours of driving, they must take a 45 minutes break.
Also, note that the 45-minute break can be replaced by a single 25 minutes break and a 30 minutes break within the 4.5 hours.
As such, you can drive for 2 hours, take a 15 minutes break and then drive for further 2.5 hours, after which you can take a 30 minutes break. After completing the net 45 minutes break, the next four and half hours of driving periods begin. However, there are differences for professional drivers with a membership in the Territorial Army (we have not covered that here).
Daily Driving Time
Under the rules, you can drive for a maximum of nine hours every day. As such, you can only drive for two 4.5 hours driving sessions with a minimum 45 minutes break in between the periods. However, you can increase the total driving hours to a maximum of 10 hours twice a week.
The Daily Driving Time is defined as the total accumulated time while driving after a daily rest period for the previous day and before the commencement of the daily rest period for the current day. It can also be the total accumulated time while driving between a daily rest period for the previous day and the weekly rest period.
Weekly Driving Limit
The rules state that the weekly driving limit is 56 hours for ‘fixed’ weeks. As such, you can drive for 9 hours for four days and then drive for 10 hours for two days within one week, resulting in a total of 56 hours. A fixed week is defined to start at midnight on Monday, and it ends one week later.
Drivers must take a daily rest period within 24 hours. Moreover, the rest must be uninterrupted and the time spent working in other employments, whether self-employed is not considered as rest.
The minimum daily rest of 11 hours is called the ‘regular’ daily rest period.
A driver has the choice of splitting their ‘regular’ daily rest periods into two periods. The first period should entail at least 3 hours of uninterrupted rest. This early period can be taken at any point during the day. The second period should entail 9 hours of continuous rest, for a total of 12 hours of rest.