Drivers Working Hours Reformed
Reforms to the hours long-distance lorry drivers work are now in operation.
Drivers from the EU will still have to comply even after the Brexit transition period is over.
The restrictions will restrict the ability of eastern European hauliers to offer low-cost services in western Europe. Until the introduction of the reforms, Eastern European hauliers have been able to undercut domestic operators by keeping their trucks and drivers on the road for longer.
The UK government’s advice on drivers’ hours rules are now amended to reflect the changes.
Among the changes are:
- Driver requirement to return home every four weeks
- Clarification on that normal length weekend rests as they cannot be taken in the vehicle’s cab: suitable hotel accommodation must be provided instead at the employer’s expense
- More flexibility in scheduling rest periods on international journeys
- If a return to base for weekly rest has been delayed, drivers will allowed extra time at the wheel
- Drivers can no longer take a full regular weekly rest of 45 hours or more in the vehicle. If not at the company premises or the driver’s residence, then these breaks must be taken in a ‘suitable gender-friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities’
- The legislation clearly states that all costs associated with being away from home must be borne by the employer
- Drivers ‘weekended’ outside their home state can take two consecutive weekly rest periods of 24 hours, but in any four-week period, four weekly rests must be taken, at least two of which must be regular weekly rest periods
- When two consecutive reduced weekly rests are taken, the next weekly rest must be preceded by a rest period to compensate for the two reduced weekly rests
- In each four-week period the driver should be enabled to return to a depot in the haulier’s member state, or to his/her own home. Drivers are free to choose to spend their rest period elsewhere, and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) advises its members to document the driver’s request to do this
- Operators are required to organise drivers’ work so that they do not spend excessive amounts of time away from home, and that they can benefit from the long rest periods taken in compensation for reduced weekly rests
The RHA also advises operators to keep copies of tachograph records, duty rosters and other documentation to provide proof that drivers have returned to home for their weekend rests.
In the future, drivers will be required to retain tachograph records for 56 days, double the current amount. This change will be introduced in the 31st December, 2024.
Drivers delayed from returning home or to base for their weekly rest by exceptional circumstances can either
- extend their daily and weekly driving time by up to an hour to enable them to reach their destination,
- extend their daily and weekly driving time by up to two hours, providing an additional break of 30 minutes is taken immediately before the extended driving.
In these circumstances, the driver must make a manual record on the tachograph chart or printout to justify the reasons why driving for the extension, and compensate for the additional driving in any rest period within three weeks.
The current arrangement where driving can be extended to enable a suitable stopping place to be reached is retained; the reformed arrangement allows the driver a better chance of reaching his home or base and can only be used in those circumstances.
The requirement to have tachographs fitted will be extended to include goods vehicles of 2.5 – 3.5 GVW on international hire and reward work from July 2026.
UK firms have welcomed the rule changes:
Dr Nigel Kirkwood, managing director of Tachograph Analysis Consultants Ltd said:
“It provides greater clarity on, and extends, existing rules where there had previously been differing interpretations. There is an enhancement of rest rules generally and encouragement for improved provision of service areas – reducing the social impact on drivers. Improved recording of enforcement details makes flouting the rules ever more difficult, with the potential of a more level playing field for all.”
Eastern European government ministers have described the changes as “restrictive and disproportionate” and warned that its “the death knell for international road haulage in western Europe by eastern European companies”.
How can Cambrian Help?
We offer a range of fuel cards to cater for every size and type of fleet. Our Shell fuel cards offer unparalleled site facilities for drivers and dedicated HGV lanes. Our Shell networks cover over 4000 sites offering both dedicated Shell sites and a host of partner sites in strategically chosen locations.
To find out more about the Shell CRT Card click here – https://www.cambriancards.com/shell-crt-card/
To find out more about the Shell Fleet Card click here – https://www.cambriancards.com/shell-fleet-card/
For the official guidance click here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/drivers-hours-goods-vehicles