EU Drivers Hours Changes Need to be Studied to Ensure Compliance

Land Transport

Source: Handy Shipping guide, 2020-08-27

Anyone reading the UK Department for Transport (DfT) directive on the changes made to HGV drivers' hours which came into force on the 20th August 2020 would, at first sight, think very little had changed. Listing only the main points on the advisory notice emailed out the main EU rules on driving hours are written thus:

  • at least 11 hours rest every day - you can reduce this to 9 hours rest 3 times between any 2 weekly rest periods
  • an unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week - you can reduce this to 24 hours every other week
  • a break or breaks totalling at least 45 minutes after no more than 4 hours 30 minutes driving
  • a weekly rest after 6 consecutive 24-hour periods of working, starting from the end of the last weekly rest period taken

Other than to say all hours must of course be recorded on a tachograph, that is the extent of advice given unless one searches further on the often impenetrable maze that is the government website. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) however, whose business of course it is to do so, explains the situation more simply.

Included in the changes, besides the extra flexibility on the scheduling of the rest periods for some drivers on international carriage of goods, is the requirement for drivers’ to ‘return home’ every 4 weeks and to not take their regular weekly rest periods in the vehicle, a practice favoured by international hauliers working abroad and saving money on hotels and the like.

There are also new provisions for rests and breaks for drivers when journeys involve transport by ferry or by rail, a requirement to keep a full record of all other work, something often ignored and which holds real dangers in terms of fatigue, plus also a new definition of ‘non-commercial carriage’.

The full breakdown of the RHA observations on the changes can be read HERE.


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