COVID-19: Drivers’ hours rules - Update 20 April 2020

Posted 20/04/2020 : By: Tim Ridyard

The temporary relaxation of the enforcement to the EU Drivers’ Hours Rules we reported here that began on 23 March 2020 has been reviewed and extended until the end of Sunday 31 May 2020.

In essence, the relaxations will almost all continue as before. However, the previous relaxation of the EU rule on breaks applied from 23 March to 21 April 2020 will not continue. This permitted 5.5 hours of driving instead of 4.5 hours of driving before taking a 45-minute break.

These relaxations are not some carte blanche to simply exploit the current COVID-19 crisis: their use can only be used when truly necessary. The Department of Transport expects disruption to be planned for and to be managed.

It also remains the case that these relaxations should only be deployed through an agreement with employees and/or driver representatives.

Drivers will continue to have to endorse the reasons for exceeding the normal rules by endorsing the back of an analogue tachograph chart or taking digi-roll printouts. This procedure should be familiar to drivers anyway since they have to do this anyway when faced with unusual circumstances preventing them from complying with the normal rules relating to driving times, rests and breaks.

Relaxation of EU Drivers’ Hours Rules (reproduced from Department for Transport)

The EU drivers’ hours rules can be temporarily relaxed as follows:

  1. Replacement of the EU daily driving limit of nine hours with one of 11 hours
  2. Reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to nine hours
  3. Lifting the weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limits (90 hours) to 60 and 96 hours respectively
  4. Postponement of the requirement to start a weekly rest period after six 24 hours periods, for after seven 24 hours period; although two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight
  5. Drivers using the relaxation at ‘2’, reducing their daily rest from 11 hours to nine, can still use the derogation allowing them to interrupt their daily rest, by up to one hour, to embark and disembark from a train or a ferry.

Drivers must not use relaxation ‘1.’ and ‘4.’ at the same time. This is to ensure drivers can get adequate rest.

Relaxation of GB Drivers’ Hours Rules

The GB drivers’ hours rules can be temporarily relaxed as follows:

  • replacement of the GB duty time limit of 11 hours with 12 hours
  • replacement of the GB daily driving time limit of 10 hours with 11 hours.

Drivers can only take advantage of this temporary relaxation five days in any seven day period and must take a rest period of 24 hours within the same seven day period when taking advantage of this relaxation.

Further information

Please contact us if you have any queries by email to Please also see our other COVID-19 advice and information at out HUB

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