If you drive a vehicle which carries goods or passengers, there are certain rules and regulations around the hours that you can work which you must adhere to. There are three sets of rules which could apply to you and which one you use depends on the type of vehicle that you’re driving and what country you’re driving in.
In the EU, the main rules on driving hours are:
- You must not drive for more than nine hours a day- this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week.
- You can’t drive more than 56 hours in a week or 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks.
All driving that you do under EU regulations must be recorded on a tachograph.
There are also rules regarding breaks and rests that you must follow. These are:
- You must rest for at least 11 hours every day, but you can reduce this to 9 hours 3 times between any two weekly periods.
- You must have an unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week, but you can reduce this to 24 hours every other week.
- A break or breaks amounting to 45 minutes after no more than 4 1/2 hours driving.
- Your weekly rest after 6 24 hour consecutive periods of working.
Coach drivers who are working on an international trip can take their weekly rest after 12 24 hour periods.
The European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) rules are now the same as the EU rules. They apply to the following countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- San Marino
- Serbia and Montenegro
GB Domestic Rules
These rules apply to most passenger carrying vehicles and goods vehicles which don’t have to follow EU rules.
If you work as a driver for a company, ‘duty time’ is any time you’re working. If you are self employed, duty time is only time you spend driving the vehicle. Under GB regulations, you must not drive for more than 10 hours a day. You can’t be on duty for more than 11 hours a day, and your hours must be recorded on a time-sheet or tachograph.
Passenger carrying vehicles
After 5 1/2 hours of driving, you must take a break of at least 30 minutes for rest and refreshment. Alternatively, within any period of 8 hours 30 minutes, you must take at least 45 minutes in breaks. You must not work more than 16 hours between the times of starting and finishing work. You must also take a rest period of 10 hours before the first duty and immediately after the last duty in a working week.
Every 2 weeks you must also take 24 hours off duty.
The GB domestic rules don’t apply to people who:
- Drive for less than four hours a day.
- Drive off road or on private roads
- Drive a vehicle used by the police, armed forces or fire brigade
- Are dealing with an emergency
Driving under both GB and EU rules
If you work partly under several sets of rules, you need to know:
- Driving under the EU rules counts towards the duty limits of the GB rules.
- On the days that you drive under EU rules, you must take EU daily rest periods, as well as weekly rests.
- You cannot count the time that you spend driving under EU rules as an off duty period under GB rules.
- Driving and other duty under the GB rules count as ‘attendance at work’, not a break or rest period under EU rules.
You must follow the GB domestic limit of a maximum of 10 hours driving per day, but any time you’re driving under EU rules, you must follow these. Failure to comply with these rules could result in DVLA intervention.