Drivers' Hours Rules

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Drivers’ Hours Rules Offences and Infringements

The regulations around drivers’ hours can seem complicated and confusing; however, failing to adhere to rules around how many hours an HGV or PCV driver can drive or work can result in penalties and even criminal proceedings. 

The specialist road transport solicitors at JMW have significant experience in dealing with these types of investigations or prosecutions. Early expert legal advice will help you to stand a better chance of resolving allegations of infringing drivers’ hours.

To speak to a solicitor about allegations of infringement, or for general advice around complying with the drivers’ hours rules, contact JMW today. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will give you a call back at a convenient time.

How JMW Can Help

We understand that many business owners and operators may be unaware of offences relating to drivers’ hours taking place within their business. Our solicitors regularly defend and work with clients facing investigation and prosecution for breaches of drivers’ hours rules and tachograph offences. We represent operators and drivers in:

  • Interviews under caution
  • Criminal cases in the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court
  • Investigations by DVSA/VOSA
  • Regulatory proceedings before the Traffic Commissioner

Our services include:

  • Reviewing the allegations and the evidence
  • Working closely with you to understand how the offences occurred
  • Arranging independent analysis of tachograph data, if necessary
  • Assisting you to put in place best practice policies and procedures
  • Liaising with investigators on your behalf
  • Representing you in any proceedings

The road transport team at JMW will always seek to obtain the best possible outcome for you and your business. 

What are the Drivers’ Hours Rules?

There are, generally speaking, three types of drivers’ hours rules relevant to goods and passenger vehicles:

  1. EU Rules
  2. GB Domestic Rules
  3. The European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) Rules

Predominantly, professional drivers will find themselves driving under one of the first two types of rules. 

Despite the fact that the UK has left the EU, the regulation governing EU drivers’ hours rules (Regulation (EC) No.561/2006) has been retained in UK law with some amendments and so is still in force. This means that the rules prescribed under this regulation still apply, e.g. the restriction of nine hours daily driving time (possible to extend to 10 hours twice a week), and the requirement to take a 45-minute break after four and a half hours of driving.

Where a goods or passenger carrying vehicle is not subject to the EU drivers’ hours rules, they are most likely going to be subject to the GB Domestic Rules. This restricts a person’s daily driving time to 10 hours a day, and their daily duty time to 11 hours in any working day.

The AETR Rules are mostly similar to the EU Rules; however, they also cover additional countries that are not EU member states.

Some drivers will find themselves driving partly under EU or AETR rules and partly under GB Domestic Rules in a day or over a week. In such circumstances, there are some complicated rules surrounding the recording of driving time with regards to tachographs, and the production of such records.

How to Monitor Drivers’ Hours

Where a driver infringes the restrictions and requirements of the drivers’ hours rules, this will most likely be detected by a tachograph installed in the vehicle. Operators will need to have systems for monitoring drivers’ hours inringements and/or instances of drivers driving without inserting their driver card. Failure to have such systems in place could see an operator being called in front of the Traffic Commissioner or possibly subject to criminal proceedings.

Types of Drivers’ Hours Offences

Common drivers’ hours offences include:

  • Driving without a driver card
  • Using someone else’s driver card
  • Failing to make a relevant record or entry
  • Knowingly making a false record
  • Interfering with a tachograph device
  • Exceeding your daily/weekly driving hours
  • Failing to take proper breaks and rests

Drivers’ hours offences are serious matters, and can impact your reputation, your livelihood and, in some cases, your liberty.

FAQs About Drivers’ Hours Rules

What is the maximum driving hours per week?

EU Drivers’ Hours Rules state that drivers can do a maximum of 56 hours of driving per week. The fortnightly driving limit is 90 hours.

What breaks do drivers need to take?

Under the EU Drivers’ Hours Rules, 45 minutes break must be taken for every 4.5 hours of driving. The driving period can be continuous, or made up of shorter periods totalling 4 hours 30 minutes.

Periods of non-driving lasting 15 minutes or more qualify as breaks. The EU Drivers’ Rules state that only split breaks that show the secondary period being 30 minutes or over will be allowed

What is classed as working time?

Working time is a complicated concept under the relevant legislation; however, examples of such tasks are time spent carrying out activities or functions that are linked to transport, such as:

  • Driving the vehicle
  • Loading or unloading the vehicle
  • Cleaning and maintaining the vehicle
  • Carrying out a defect check

What are the penalties for breaching the drivers’ hours rules?

Penalties for breaching the rules around drivers’ hours can vary from warnings, offence rectification notices, prohibitions, fixed penalties and prosecution and referral to the Traffic Commissioner.

Talk to Us

Speak to the road transport solicitors at JMW to find out more about how we can help you and your business regarding drivers’ hours rules. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will give you a call back at a convenient time.

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