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Working Time Directive & HGV Drivers Hours

As an HGV haulage & logisitics operator, you must follow the Working Time Directive & HGV drivers hours rules governing how many hours drivers of a goods vehicle can drive and the breaks that they need to take. There are different kinds of rules that may apply to each journey depending on the type of vehicle they are driving and in which country you are operating within. There are both GB domestic rules and EU rules that may apply.

Working time rules for employers

As an employer of goods vehicle drivers, the HGV haulage and logistics operator must monitor drivers' and anyone else who is part of the travelling staff's working time and make sure they don’t go over the working time limits. HGV haulage and logistics operators are required to record working time and keep those records for at least 2 years.

HGV drivers hours: EU rules

For goods vehicle drivers operating within the European Union, the EU rules (Regulation (EC) 561/2006) apply to drivers of most vehicles used for the carriage of goods - defined as goods or burden of any description - where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle, including any trailer or semi-trailer, exceeds 3.5 tonnes and where the vehicle is used within the UK or between the UK and other EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. This applies even if the goods vehicle is unladen.

HGV drivers hours: Great Britain domestic rules

For driver's operating within Great Britain, the GB domestic rules, as contained in the Transport Act 1968, apply to most goods vehicles that are exempt from the EU rules, though note that separate rules apply to Northern Ireland.

HGV drivers hours: Mixed EU and Great Britain driving

Many drivers will drive in both Great Britain and the European Union during a day or a week. If this is the case, then the following points must be considered, and the EU rules take precedence over the GB domestic rules.

  • Any time spent driving under EU rules cannot count as a break or rest period under the GB domestic rules
  • Any driving or other duty performed under GB domestic rules (including non-driving work in another employment) count as other work but not as a break under EU rules
  • Any driving or other duty under EU rules count towards the driving and duty limits under GB domestic rules
  • Any driving under EU rules in a week means that you must take a daily rest period on those days when you actually drive under EU rules, as well as a weekly rest period

Tachograph rules

An approved analogue or digital tachograph is required to record the activities of drivers subject to the EU drivers’ hours rules. Whether using a digital or analogue tachograph, it must record how many hours a driver has driven for, any breaks or rest periods, the goods vehicle’s speed and the distance the goods vehicle has traveled. This information is used to monitor the HGV haulage and logistics operators' compliance with the drivers' hours rules.

HGV driver's hours: Enforcement and penalties

Legislation has given powers to DVSA authorised examiners to enforce any breaches of drivers' hours for goods vehicles. These include the ability to inspect a vehicle, the power to prohibit and direct vehicles, to undertake investigations into possible breaches of regulations, to instigate proceedings at a magistrates’ court and the ability to issue improvement notices and prohibition notices in relation to working time rules.

Any infringements of the drivers hours rules and tachograph rules can result in the DVSA issuing verbal warnings, offence rectification notices, prohibitions, fixed penalties and deposits, and ultimately prosecution or even referral to the Traffic Commissioner.

Our transport lawyers can help you to understand the rules and regulations governing the working time directive and how it can affect your HGV haulage and logistics transport operation. We can also help ensure you have the systems and records in place to monitor goods vehicle drivers hours and the use of digital and analogue tachographs. And in case of any tachograph rules infringement, our transport lawyers can represent you.

For expert legal advice on the Working Time Directive & HGV Drivers Hours contact us today or call 01279 818280.

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Richard Pelly

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Latest Haulage & Logistics News and Insight