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Driving Hours Rules

The following table provides an 'at a glance' summary of on the rules on driving hours. Please note that there are additional rules for multi-manned vehicles and PCV’s on international journeys.

Max spread over 13 hours max May be extended to 15 hrs if reduced daily rest is taken
Daily driving period 9 hrs max May be extended to 10 hours twice in any fixed week
Daily break 45 mins after 4.5 hrs driving May be taken as 15 mins followed by 30 mins
Daily rest 11 hours minimum May be reduced to 9 hrs 3 times between weekly rest periods
Split daily rest 3 hours minimum followed by 9 hrs minimum
Weekly driving 56 hrs max in a fixed week
Fortnightly driving 90 hrs max in any 2 consecutive fixed weeks
Weekly rest (Must be taken after 6 daily driving periods) 45 hrs min May be taken as 45 hrs with 24 hrs min in the second week providing the balance is added to a rest period before the end of the third week
Carrying records Current day plus previous 28 calendar days
Downloading of card data At least every 28 days
Downloading of vehicle data At least every 56 days

The rules were revised by Regulation (EC) 561 of 2006 with the intention of clarifying the correct interpretation of driving time computation. The Regulation has not been entirely successful in doing this and there remain some difficult areas.

Do you drive a horse box?

Until 11th April 2007 all vehicles used for the non-commercial carriage of goods for personal use were out of scope of the tachograph rules. In a little publicised change, only drivers of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass up to 7 ½ tonnes are exempt for non-commercial use. If your horse box is plated at above 7 ½ tonnes (and most will be) then you have to have a tachograph installed, calibrated and used.

Moreover, you will have to comply with the Weekly Rest rule. If you drive at weekends, any time spent working during the week for your employer (work of any description whatsoever) will not count as Rest.

The VOSA Enforcement Sanctions Policy recommends the issue of a £200 Fixed Penalty to the driver if a tachograph record is not being made. If the driver cannot prove that proper Rest periods have been taken, then a TE160 Prohibition Notice will be applied to the vehicle.

If you feel you are at risk, you should contact us for advice.

Do you drive a van and trailer?

The tachograph rules apply to vehicles whose maximum permissible mass, including any trailer, exceeds 3 ½ tonnes. It is easy to be caught out by this rule. For example, an LWB Ford Transit (gross vehicle weight 3,300 kgs) with an Ifor Williams single axle trailer (gross carrying weight 1,400 kgs) has a combination weight of 4,700 kgs, no matter what its actual weight is during use. The Transit, if it is being used commercially (and providing, of course, that none of the statutory exemptions applies), will need to have a tachograph fitted.

But what if you put that trailer with an SWB Ford Transit (gross vehicle weight 2,340 kgs)? The combination of gross weights is 3,740 kgs but you could never legally drive at that weight, because this Transit has gross train weight of 3,140 kgs, below the 3½ tonnes tachograph threshold.

The rule is as follows. If the combination of the gross carrying weights of the van and the trailer exceeds 3½ tonnes AND the gross train weight of the van exceeds 3½ tonnes, a tachograph needs to be fitted and used.

VOSA have announced they are actively targeting light commercial vehicles. If you feel you are at risk, you should contact us for advice.

Do you operate a stretch limousine?

Licensing authorities do not like stretch limos because their unusual construction means they do not neatly fit into their categories. However, guidance from the Department for Transport tells local Councils to look at function and service rather than construction. Therefore, a limo which can carry 8 or less passengers should be issued with a Private Hire Vehicle licence.

If it is a large limo which can carry 9 passengers or more, it will need a PSV Operating Licence from the Traffic Commissioner. This may be a Standard Licence, or it may be a Restricted Licence if running PSV’s is not your main occupation.

The key issue here is that not the number of actual seats is counted, but the number of seating positions, so fitting bench seats or ripping out belt buckles will do no good.

Large limos (9 passengers or more) will need to have a tachograph installed and used.

Do you run a hotel courtesy bus?

As above, you will need a tachograph and a restricted operating Licence if your bus can carry 9 passengers or more. It does not matter that your residents do not pay for the use of the bus.

If you are unsure whether you are complying with the law, you should contact us for advice.

What if you are exempt from tachograph use?

If you fall within one of the many exemptions from tachograph use, you will probably be subject to the regulation of hours known as the Domestic Rules. They impose a 10 hours daily driving limit and an 11 hours daily duty limit.

You will have to record your work by simple written entries in a log book. But you will not need to keep any log book records at all if either (i) your vehicle is outside Operator Licensing rules, or (ii) you do not drive for more than 4 hours per day and you do not drive more than 50 kms beyond your operating centre.

Bear in mind that your drivers are always subject to the general employee protection of the Working Time Regulations.


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