Along with vehicle safety technology, one of the key ways that fleet managers and drivers can help to keep HGVs safe is to adhere to stringent driver hours. It is more likely for an overtired or overworked driver to make the wrong decision or allow their concentration to lapse. In terms of HGVs, it can take just a few seconds for a potentially deadly and devastating incident to happen. An overtired driver might fall asleep behind the wheel, and although our StopSafe system is designed for this type of eventuality, to knowingly take this risk is never acceptable.
Those are just a couple of reasons why it is essential for both drivers and employers to be aware of what their basic obligations are in terms of driver hours. Sometimes it can be hard to determine how a driver’s schedule should be planned depending on the kind of work they are doing, so below we have provided a very simple guide. But before that, it may be worth you seeing lorry driver training.
Limits on UK HGV driving hours
The driving hour rules are based on European Union regulations They are enshrined in British law as well. The important rules include the following:
A daily driving limit of 9 hours. It can be increased up to 10 hours, but just twice per week
A maximum weekly driving limit of 56 hours
A maximum fortnightly limit of 90 hours
The legally mandated breaks that must be taken by HGV drivers
After driving for 4.5 hours, HGV drivers are legally required to take a break for 45 minutes at least. The driving time can either be comprised of multiple short time periods or done continuously and all at once. Either way, after a driver has reached the four hours and 30 minutes mark, they are required to take a break of 45 minutes or longer.
Like the actual driving, the break can be taken in a single setting. Or the driver can opt for what is referred to as a split break, which is comprised of one 15 minute break, closely followed by an additional 30-minute break.
If the first break is less than 15 minutes in a split break, then it doesn’t count officially as a break. (However, it also will not be classified as driving time.) Only split breaks that are 15 minutes or longer along with a minimum 30-minute break counts. If they are not honoured, the fleet manager and driver might have committed a criminal offence.
What are the differences between working time and driving time?
These may sound like they are the same thing. However, they are night. Working time is anything that is done that relates to transport operation while driving time is time that is spent behind the wheel.
It includes, but is not necessarily limited to the following:
- Unloading and loading
- Monitoring unloading or loading activities
- Industry-specific job training or driver CPC training
- Maintaining and cleaning vehicles
- Daily defect check and report of vehicles
- Administrative work
- Any waiting periods where there is an unknown foreseeable duration
Driving time is a type of working time under this system. Working time hours are not defined the same way necessarily, and there can be complex implications. If you need it, there is a great outstanding guide that offers even more detail.