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Drivers Hours Regulations

Drivers' Hours Rules

Check your CPC training by going to the Government website here.

Lorries have always been a popular way of transporting goods - this has been so following the invention of tarmac in Derbyshire in 1901.  Now, as much as 85% of all the products purchased in the UK have spent time through the UK road haulage industry.

On 11 April 2007, Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 replaced the older Council Regulation (EC) No 3820/85.

These regulations applied to drivers of most commercial vehicles (including passenger vehicles) over 3.5 tonnes within the UK or between the UK and other EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. Vehicle operations that take place off the public road system, or vehicles that are never used to carry goods on a public road are deemed to be out of scope.

Off road driving counts if some driving occurs on a public road. If all driving occurs off the public road network, it is recorded as other work.

There are several sets of rules that govern commercial driving in the UK, including GB domestic rules, EU regulations, working time regulations and AETR rules.  

Which set of rules to follow is governed by the type of driving, the type of vehicle driven and the countries travelled through.

The AETR rules are the same as the EU rules with respect to drivers hours.

Drivers must fully account for all their time - including driving, breaks, rests and other work.

1. EU Driving


9 hours daily driving limit (can be increased to 10 hours twice a week)

Maximum 56 hours weekly driving limit

Maximum 90 hours fortnightly driving limit


45 minutes break after 4.5 hours driving

A break can be split into two periods, the first being at least 15 minutes and the second at least 30 minutes (which must be completed after 4.5 hours driving)

Breaks can be taken in vehicles as long as the driver does no work. Breaks must be recorded.


11 hours regular daily rest (which can be split into a minimum 3 hour plus 9 hour);

Rests can be reduced to 9 hours no more than three times a week.

45 hours weekly rest, which can be reduced to 24 hours, provided at least one full rest is taken in any fortnight. Any reduction has to be taken in one block before the end of the third week following and attached to either a weekly or daily rest.

There should be no more than six consecutive 24 hour periods between weekly rests (144 hours).

Rests can be taken in vehicles (not moving) with suitable sleeping facilities. The driver does no work (including training or self employment). Rests must be recorded.

Ferries and Channel Tunnel Crossings

A regular rest (one that is at least 11 hours long) can be interrupted twice for up to an hour maximum to allow for moving onto and off the ferry/train.


PCV Specific rules

The rules cover vehicles permanently designed to carry 8 passengers plus the driver.

Drivers on occasional international coach trips (at least 24 hours through at least two countries) can postpone weekly rests up to 12 days from the last weekly rest, providing they take two weekly rests back to back (one of which may be a reduced one).  Vehicles must be fitted with digital tachographs for this.  Also, if driving from 22:00 and 06:00, the vehicle must either be multi-manned or the driving shifts are reduced to 3 hours rather than the usual 4.5 hours.  Should the trip end before the 12 days, two weekly rests are taken.

LGV Specific rules

Weekly rests: The rest cannot be taken in the vehicle and must use 'suitable gender-friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities.’ And, ‘any costs for accommodation outside the vehicle shall be covered by the employer.’

Drivers on international transport of goods must return back to the operational centre or the driver's residence at least once every 4 weeks for a weekly rest that is at least 45 hours long (or longer if weekly rest compensation is paid back).  Also, drivers can take two consecutive reduced weekly rests provided that in four weeks, two of the weekly rests are regular ones.

Unforeseen Circumstances

Provided that road safety is not jeopardised, drivers can depart from the rules to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of people, the vehicle or the load.

Drivers record the reasons on the back of the tachograph record when they have stopped.

it must be unexpectedly impossible to comply with the rules - weather, road traffic incidents, breakdowns, ferry problems are examples of reasons.

Planned breaches are not allowed.

The driver alone must make the decision to breach the rules, but repeated occurrences are not allowed.


If the driver's vehicle is not at the driver's home or operational centre, the time spent travelling to the vehicle cannot be counted as a rest or a break (unless on a ferry/train with a bed), regardless of whether the driver is paid or not.


The same driving hours rules applies for each driver.

The maximum driving time for a two man team is 20 hours (with an optional extra hour for commuting though this is classed as other work).

The 24 hour day is extended to 30 hours for multi-manning.

The first 45 minutes of a POA (period of availability) for driver 2 is classed as a break even though the tachograph may not record this, provided driver 2 does no work.

Exemptions from EU rules

  • Vehicles limited to 40 kph;

  • Armed forces, civil defence, fire services;

  • Aid and rescue operations;

  • Medical vehicles (eg. blood, MRI, cancer screening, etc.)

  • Breakdown recovery vehicles within 100km;

  • Unregistered vehicles not yet put into service;

  • Vehicles undergoing road testing (eg. autonomous driving development);

  • Passenger vehicles on regular service routes or special regular services not exceeding 50km;

  • Vehicles up to 7.5T used for the non-commercial carriage of goods;

  • Vehicles used to carry people, materials and equipment as part of work, but not specifically paid to drive as long as the driving doesn't account for more than 30% of the working time in a rolling month.

  • Vehicles with historic status (i.e. more than 25 years old), not carrying loads or passengers;

  • NHS transport;

  • Local authority services;

  • Coastguard;

  • Railway and waterways maintenance;

  • Vehicles used within agriculture, horticulture, forestry, farming or fishing within 100km as part of their own entrepreneurial activities.

  • Agricultural / forestry tractors within 100km;

  • Vehicles transporting animals between farms & markets, or between markets and slaughterhouses;

  • Fallen livestock services where carcasses are not for human consumption;

  • Educational vehicles;

  • Vehicles used for driver training;

  • Emergency situations such as: danger to life or health of people/animals; serious interruption of essential services (gas, water, electricity, drainage); telecommunications and postal services; use of roads, railways, ports, airports; serious damage to property;

  • Vehicles operating on islands separated from the UK mainland up to 2300 square kilometres;

  • Vehicles up to 7.5T powered by gas or electricity;

  • Household refuse collection;

  • Radio and TV broadcasting (and detection);

  • Drivers are already permitted to depart from the rules in exceptional circumstances (Article 12.) It will now, in addition, be possible ‘provided that road safety is not thereby jeopardised, in exceptional circumstances’…

    • to exceed daily and weekly driving time by up to 1 hour in order to reach the operating centre or the driver’s place of residence to take a weekly rest period

    • to exceed daily and weekly driving time by up to 2 hours so long as an uninterrupted break of 30 minutes is taken immediately prior to the additional driving, again to reach the operating centre or the driver’s place of residence, to take a regular weekly rest period.

This list is not exhaustive - more information can be found It is strongly recommended to seek legal advice if you believe you are exempt from drivers hours regulations or driver CPC requirements.

2. GB Domestic Regulations

These are contained in the Transport Act 1968 and apply to most goods vehicles that are exempt from EU regulations. Separate rules apply for Northern Ireland. DVSA enforce these rules.

Drivers of vehicles that fall outside the scope of the EU drivers’ hours rules are covered by the GB domestic drivers' hours rules.  This includes vehicles working in the following areas:

  • Vans not exceeding 3.5 tonnes

  • Tradesmen (e.g. building / construction);

  • Passenger transport (operating on regular routes up to 31 miles (50km)).

  • NHS & publicly owned medical vehicles;

  • Refuse collection;

  • Local authority services for the elderly & disabled;

  • Milk (not including bulk milk tankers);

  • Utilities & road maintenance (see below);

  • Breakdown;

  • Agricultural, fishing and forestry (used within a 62 mile (100km) radius from the base of operations);

  • Charity work (where employed drivers are used);

  • Special vehicles (e.g. vehicles that operate on natural gas, electric or are not capable of speeds over 24mph (40km/h));

  • “Gritters” – vehicles designed for the spreading of rock salt directly onto roads/pavements.



Record Keeping:

Drivers are to keep written records of the hours worked and driven (this can be on a weekly record sheet or tachograph) for any day the driver drives more than 4 hours or 50km radius from base.

The operator checks and signs on a weekly basis.

The driver keeps a copy of the records for at least two weeks following the week worked.

Drivers can use tachographs – these should be set to ‘Out of Scope’ (classes as other work).

Where a tachograph is fitted to a vehicle subject to the domestic rules but is not used to produce a legally required record, the operator and driver should nevertheless ensure that the tachograph is properly calibrated and sealed. The tachograph does not have to be recalibrated provided the seals remain intact and the vehicle remains out of scope of the EU rules.

The day is defined as the 24-hour period beginning with the start of duty time (although records again take the whole day into account, starting from 00:00 that day).

Approach for recording periods exceeding 1 week of no in-scope driving


The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is responsible for enforcement of both the EU drivers’ hours rules and the tachograph rules. Where a driver fails to record other work and duties or attempts to hide insufficient rest periods DVSA will take enforcement action.


Every day that they drive a vehicle in scope of the EU drivers’ hours rules, all drivers must use a tachograph to record their activities on record sheets or their driver card.


It is the department’s current interpretation of the amended regulations that, while records are required to cover days when no driving of vehicle in scope of EU drivers’ hours rules is done, it is not necessary that an individual record is made for each day.


The DVSA is accepting, until further notice, recording of activities in blocks to cover any fixed week during which no in-scope driving takes place.


For fixed weeks (00:00 hrs Monday to 24:00 hrs Sunday) when no in-scope driving takes place, the DVSA will accept one or more records for the whole week, as opposed to requiring 7 daily records. Records must identify all the weekly rest periods within that fixed week.


When in-scope driving is undertaken, a full record must be kept for that whole week with separate records for each 24-hour period.



Daily driving

Maximum of 10 hours per day on the public road network, or off road if it isn’t during duty time.  Off road driving counts as duty for agriculture, quarrying, forestry, building work and civil engineering. Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether it is moving or stationary with the engine running, even for a short period of time.

Daily duty

Maximum of 11 hours.  (If the driver doesn’t drive more than 4 hours on each day of the week, this doesn’t apply, nor does it for days where the driver doesn’t drive). Duty time does not apply  (but the driving does) if the driver’s vehicle weighs less than 3.5 tonnes and the vehicle is used for:

  • Doctor, dentist, nurse, midwife or vet

  • For inspection, cleaning or maintenance

  • As commercial travellers carrying goods for fulfilling orders

  • Working for the AA, RAC or RSAC

  • For radio and TV broadcasting


For employee drivers, duty includes all periods of work, driving or otherwise but does not include rests or breaks. For owner drivers include the driving of a vehicle connected to the business or doing any work connected with the vehicle and its load.


The 1998 Regulations don’t apply to self-employed drivers, though if you are a self-employed driver, 'on duty' means driving the vehicle or carrying out any other work in connection with the vehicle or its load. Answering the phone or sweeping the yard would not count as time on duty but cleaning a van or loading it up would be. Note that if you drive for fewer than four hours in a day, there are no restrictions on duty time.


Continuous driving

No requirement to take a driving break.

Daily rest

Drivers have an entitlement to adequate rest but there is no stipulated amount.  The inferred length is 13 hours from the duty limit.  The law requires drivers not to harm themselves or others because of tiredness.



The following are completely exempt:

  • Emergencies – examples include major disruptions to public services, danger to life

  • Private driving and not for work

  • Driving off road or on private roads during duty time

  • Operations for the armed forces, police or fire services.

  • drive for less than 4 hours a day in a week - this is only during the week you are driving less than 4 hours a day


If you drive for more than 4 hours for up to 2 days a week, you do not need to follow all of the rules. You need to:

  • follow the rules for daily driving limits and length of working day

  • start and finish all of your duties within a 24-hour period

  • take a rest of 10 hours before the first duty and immediately after the last duty


Four provisions of the 1998 regulations:

  • Weekly working time must not exceed 48 hours per week over the reference period (17 weeks or up to 52 weeks under a collective workforce agreement) – individuals can opt out of this if they wish

  • 5.6 weeks paid annual leave

  • Health checks for night workers

  • Entitlement to adequate rest


Definition of a self-employed driver under the 2005 Regulations

‘Self-employed driver’ means anyone;

  • who is entitled to work for himself and who is not tied to an employer by an employment contract or by any other type of working hierarchical relationship

  • who is free to organise the relevant working activities,

  • whose income depends directly on the profits made and

  • who has the freedom, individually or through a co-operation between self-employed drivers, to have commercial relations with several customers (Regulation 2 of SI 2005/639).


Definition of an occasional mobile worker under the 2005 Regulations


A mobile worker would be exempt from the 2005 Regulations if:

  • they work 10 days or less within the scope of the European drivers’ hours rules in a reference period that is shorter than 26 weeks or

  • they work 15 days or less within the scope of the European drivers’ hours rules in a reference period that is 26 weeks or longer

Definition of self-employed under the 1998 Regulations

You are self-employed if you are running your own business and are free to work for different clients and customers.

3. Working Time Regulations

Applies to any driver in scope of EU or GB Domestic rules.

Drivers must notify each employer (if more than one) of working time;

Working time must not exceed average of 48 hours a week or 8 hours a day (no opt out) averaged over 17 or 26 weeks reference period

Maximum working time of 60 hours in one week (provided average not exceeded)

Annual holidays: entitlement to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (4 weeks neutral, 1.6 weeks bank holidays);

4 weeks annual, sick and parental leave cannot bring the average down.

Maximum working time of 10 hours if night work (00:00 - 04:00 for LGV, 01:00 - 05:00 for PCV) unless agreed under collective workforce agreement.

Cannot work for more than 6 hours without a break. A break should be at least 15 minutes long

30 minute break if working between 6 and 9 hours in total

45 minute break if working more than 9 hours in total

A popular misunderstanding about WTD breaks goes along the lines of requiring a 30 minute break at 6 hours. This is untrue - a 15 minute break is required at 6 hours, a total of 30 minutes is required up to 9 hours.

The fixed week starts at 00:00 Monday morning through to the following Sunday midnight - ie. 7 x 24 hours. A driver may have a different working week time, but tachographs record on this fixed week.

Annual holidays: entitlement to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave (4 weeks neutral, 1.6 weeks bank holidays).

Mixing EU/AETR and GB Domestic Rules

Drivers will often drive under different rules, sometimes even in the same day. For PCV drivers, there is no requirement to record GB domestic driving.  For LGV drivers, GB domestic working is recorded via logbooks and tacho records, however mixing the rules requires all activities to be logged within EU regulations.

For LGV drivers:

If a driver has mixed EU and GB domestic during a week, having started the week under EU, the most compliant route is to record the remainder of the week under EU rules. 

Having said that, these are the rules to be followed:

  • The time you spend driving under EU rules cannot count as a rest or break under GB domestic rules.

  • Driving and duty under GB domestic count as other work under EU (but not break or rest).

  • Driving or working (duty) under EU/AETR is counted towards driving and duty under GB domestic limits.

  • 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

  • Alternately all driving / work can be recorded under EU rules when rules are mixed.


Rest periods and breaks for mixed driving 

EU rules on rest periods and breaks on days and weeks apply when driving in scope of EU rules is carried out.

A weekly rest period is only required in a fixed week when drivers drive under EU rules.

If a driver works under EU rules in one week and under GB domestic rules in the following week, the driver may take either a regular or a reduced weekly rest in the first week (if a reduced weekly rest is taken, compensation will be required by the end of the third week.) 

Where a driver works under GB domestic rules in week one and the EU rules in week two, the weekly rest required in week two must start no later than 144 hours following the commencement of duty on or after 00.00 hours on Monday.

Another example.  A driver operates under GB domestic regulations in week one up until Saturday, then starts operating under EU regulations at 7am on Monday, week two.  The weekly rest in required following week two no later than 144 hours from Monday 7am, ie. the weekly rest must start at 7am Sunday on week two at the latest.


Any previous work (including out-of-scope driving in that week) are recorded as 'other work' on tachographs.

For the Government wording on this, go to 

Official recommended links: (Excellent guide!)

Drivers' hours: recording of other work - GOV.UK ( (a must read on this topic)

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