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Working Time Directive Rules on Driversí Hours

This guide provides advice to drivers and operators of goods vehicles, whether used privately or commercially. It explains the rules for driversí hours and the keeping of records, and it replaces publication GV 262 (dated December 2006). The EU regulations also place a responsibility on others in the supply chain such as consignors, freight forwarders, contractors, sub-contractors and driver agencies. People working in these branches of the road haulage industry may benefit from an understanding of the guidance offered here.

According to VOSA's guidance, the Working Time Rules that apply to a driver depend on whether a vehicle is in scope of the EU or GB domestic drivers' hours rules.

EU drivers' hours rules

If in scope of the EU rules, then a driver is subject to the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 (as amended), unless a driver is an occasional mobile worker.

The main provisions of the Working Time Regulations are:

• Weekly working time must not exceed an average of 48 hours per week. A maximum working time of 60 hours can be performed in any single week, providing the average 48-hour limit is not exceeded.
• Night work must not exceed 10 hours in any 24-hour period. Night time is the period between 00.00 and 04.00 for goods vehicles. The 10-hour limit may be exceeded to 12 hours, if permitted under a collective or workforce agreement.


          - Mobile workers must not work more than 6 hours without taking a break.
          - If working hours total between 6 and 9 hours, working time should be interrupted by a break or breaks totalling at least 30 minutes.
          - If working hours total more than 9 hours, working time should be interrupted by a break or breaks totalling at least 45 minutes.
          - Breaks should be of at least 15 minutes' duration.

• Rest: the regulations are the same as the EU drivers' hours rules.
• Record keeping: records need to be kept for two years after the period in question.

The reference period for calculating the 48-hour week is normally 17 weeks, but it can be extended to 26 weeks if this is permitted under a collective or workforce agreement. There is no 'opt-out' for individuals wishing to work longer than an average 48-hour week, but breaks and 'periods of availability' do not count as working time.

Generally speaking, a period of availability (POA) is waiting time, the duration of which is known about in advance. Examples of what might count as a POA are accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing or waiting while other workers load/unload your vehicle. For mobile workers driving in a team, a POA would also include time spent sitting next to the driver while the vehicle is in motion (unless the mobile worker is taking a break or performing other work i.e. navigation).

In addition, you are affected by two provisions under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended - 'the 1998 Regulations'). These are:

• an entitlement to 5.6 weeks' paid annual leave; and
• Health checks for night workers.

If you only occasionally drive vehicles subject to the EU drivers' hours rules, you may be able to take advantage of the exemption from the 2005 Regulations for occasional mobile workers.

GB domestic drivers' hours rules (or are an occasional mobile worker) If you drive a vehicle subject to the GB domestic drivers' hours rules or are an occasional mobile worker, you are affected by four provisions under the 1998 Regulations.

These are:

• Average 48 hours working week
• Entitlement to 5.6 weeks' paid annual leave
• Health checks for night workers
• Entitlement to adequate rest.

The content displayed on this page is supplied by Dyne Solicitors Limited and every effort has been made to keep this information as current and up to date as possible. However this road transport law information should be initially used solely as general guidance only and should not be regarded as a complete or authoritative statement of the law at any given time. The guidance and information shown will be updated to reflect any developments in new legislation or case law as soon as is feasibly possible. To ensure you are receiving the most up to date information in road transport law, contact Dyne Solicitors Limited on 0844 324 5307 and speak to them direct.