EU / GB Drivers’ hours & working time
Goods and passenger vehicle drivers must observe drivers’ hours rules and working time rules, unless exempt.
The businesses operating those vehicles must also comply with their legal obligations.
If a business and its drivers do not comply with the rules they are at risk of having action taken against them. Some may also be unnecessarily following rules that do not apply to them.
Drivers and operators of goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (including vehicle / trailer combinations) and passenger carrying vehicles with more than eight passenger seats must install and use tachograph recording equipment and observe the rules relating to rests, breaks and driving limits.
There are many exemptions and relaxations. An understanding of how they apply is vital to a business. Whether it needs to observe the EU rules affects the running of a business and can have important consequences for scheduling, staffing and operating costs.
Road Transport Working Time rules
Drivers and crew (known as ‘mobile workers’) must adhere to working time rules specific to road transport activities. In broad terms, they apply if the EU Rules apply. These rules are not the same as the Working Time Regulations.
No opt-out is permitted though some provisions can be modified by agreement e.g. night work.
GB Domestic Rules
Goods and passenger carrying vehicle activities that are exempt from the EU tachograph rules will be subject to GB Domestic Rules. Again, there are exemptions to this requirement or the need to keep records depending on a variety of factors including the nature of the activity, distance, duration of daily driving and the number of passenger seats.
Drivers and operators of goods vehicles not more than 3.5t, e.g. vans, are subject to these rules, again.
The Road Transport Working Time rules do not apply here, so an opt-out from the 48-hour working week is permitted.
The challenges you face and how we can help
There are a number of different things we can do to assist in ensuring things do not go wrong, but also to help if something does go wrong:
- general advice with regard to the application of drivers’ hours and working time rules to your business and work
- specific problem solving: planning for changes in your business where drivers’ hours and working time are affected to ensure they are lawful, including staff consultation and employment contract issues
- disciplinary issues: we can advise you how to manage breaches of the law by driving and other staff, where action including warning or dismissal may be appropriate - this may include cases of falsification of records
- ensuring your contracts of employment and driver handbooks have suitable provisions for these and other road transport legal obligations
- review of your existing drivers’ hours systems to ensure they are fully compliant and fulfil your operator’s licence undertaking to the Traffic Commissioner that you will observe all rules
- provide clear and appropriate advice with regard to any investigation being carried out by Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) or police. This will include attendance at any interview conducted under caution
- expert advice and representation in any Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court case brought by DVSA or the police
- advice and representation at any preliminary hearing or public inquiry hearing before the Traffic Commissioner
- positive engagement with DVSA with regard to policy and specific problems relating to your sector or type of work to seek a solution for your business.
For advice and representation in relation to all road transport-related matters please contact Tim Ridyard and Tim Norris in our specialist team.