In the current crisis, the government have relaxed the driver’s hours rules in certain circumstances. These rules are in place to protect road safety, safeguard working conditions for drivers, and reduce the risk of drivers being involved in fatigue related accidents.
Currently, the EU drivers’ hours rules have been relaxed until the 21st of April 2020 for carriage of goods by road. No further extension has been currently granted and operators should keep a close eye on developments. The following relaxations of the rules are designed to help with the supply of vital goods such as food and medicines during the current outbreak and should be used only where absolutely necessary:
- EU daily driving limit extended from 9 to 11 hours.
- Reduction of daily rest requirement from 11 to 9 hours.
- Lifting the weekly and fortnightly driving limits from 56 and 90 hours respectively, to 60 and 96 hours.
- Postponement of the requirement to start a weekly rest period from 6 to 7 twenty-four hour periods. Two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight.
- Daily breaks of 45 minutes after 4.5 hours driving are extended to the same break after 5.5 hours of driving.
- Drivers using 2. above can still interrupt their daily rest by up to an hour to embark or disembark from a train or ferry.
- Relaxations 1. and 4. above cannot be used at the same time.
The relaxations are not limited to specific sectors or journeys but be warned, as stated above, their use must be deemed ‘necessary’ in the context of the current outbreak. Tacho charts/printouts must be endorsed by the driver in the usual way applicable to emergencies to explain the reason for exceeding the usual legal limits. And be warned, the DVSA are likely to crack down heavily on operators taking unlawful advantage of these relaxations.
All this may seem very technical, and comes from a former DVSA/VOSA prosecutor, but is vital information for transport operators, and offers considerable opportunity for those involved in supply chain management and customers involved in the supply of key goods.
We will keep you updated with any changes in the legal position. For further guidance, ring Edmund Conybeare on 07739 463571 or email him at email@example.com