The Basics of HGV Driving Hours

If you drive a goods vehicle you should already be aware of the driving and enforced rest hours. If you are not aware of these hours, you need to learn about this quickly or you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. These HGV job hours have been put in place for your safety and the safety of other road users. When you drive an HGV while tired, you can turn this vehicle into a dangerous weapon which could have lethal consequences if there is an accident.

HGV Driving Hours Regulations

The rules for HGV drivers have been set by the Department of Transportation and it is vital that you read and fully understand the rules. There are 3 sets of rules which could apply when driving which are the RU rules, AETR rules and the GB domestic rules. Each of these sets of rules is different and the ones that apply will depend on what you are driving and where you are.

If you are on an international journey, EU rules or the AETR rules will apply. These rules will apply if you are driving for commercial purposes or if you are using the vehicle for private purposes. There are certain key elements to the EU rules that you should know including the daily driving limit.

The EU regulations state that you cannot drive for more than 9 hours each day, but this can be increased to 10 hours twice a week. You cannot drive for more than 56 hours in a week and 90 hours in 2 consecutive weeks. All of this will be tracked on a Tachograph and will need to be submitted to your employer.

When it comes to breaks, the EU regulations state that you must rest for at least 11 hours each day, but this can be reduced to 9 hours 3 times between any 2 weekly rest periods. You also need to have an unbroken 45-hour rest period, but this can be reduced to 24 hours every other week. After no more than 4 hours and 30 minutes of driving, you will need to take a break of at least 45 minutes.

Obligations for the Employer

If you are an employer, you are legally obliged to monitor the driving and rest times of your drivers and ensure that they comply with the rules. You also need to record working time and keep all of the records for a period of at least 2 years.

All driving rules are enforced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. If you break a rule, you will be given an improvement notice which sets out the changes that you need to make by a certain date. You may also be served with a prohibition notice which requires you to stop all dangerous activity or start to comply with the rules.

When it comes to enforcement, the DVSA uses a proportionate approach and formal action is only taken against serious and persistent offenders. However, it is recommended that you stay legal and do not take any chances with the rules.

It is important to note that there are some occasional exemptions to these rules. These will include relaxation during the Calais industrial action and relaxation during the Fourth Road Bridge closure. If you ever find yourself in one of these situations, it is important to find out if there have been any relaxation of the rules.

There has been a lot of criticism of the EU stating that the legislature that it implements appears to benefit only certain countries in Europe. However, haulage professionals agree that these rules are different. The rules relating to driver hours and tachograph use has actually benefited UK drivers by reducing the pressure on them to work longer hours. It has also created adequate controls for commercial vehicles and the rest times that are essential for their safe operation.

Categories: Automotive

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