In response to the worsening shortage of HGV drivers, the Department for Transport (DfT) has introduced a temporary relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales. This exceptional step demonstrates how severe the driver shortage is and the mounting pressure on the supply chain.
So, what are the relaxations?
This is a temporary relaxation that will apply from 12:01am on Monday, 12 July 2021 and will run until 11:59pm on 8 August 2021.
The relaxation cannot be used in combination with existing rules for international driving, which allow for two consecutive reduced weekly rest breaks in certain circumstances and it is recommended that the relaxation is not used where drivers also engage in international journeys as this is a GB relaxation and is likely to cause issues if records are checked outside of GB.
The small print
Operators who wish to rely on the relaxation must notify the DfT by completing “an initial notification of relaxation form” and emailing a copy to RSSSFOLRCOVID19@dft.gov.uk.
Further, a completed follow-up notification of relaxation form must be emailed to RSSFOLRCOVID19@dft.gov.uk one week after the end of the period of relaxation.
A failure to fulfil the notification requirements will render the use of the relaxation inappropriate and leave operators open to investigation.
Another point to be aware of is that drivers are required to note on the back of their tachograph charts or printouts the reasons why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits, as is usual practice in emergencies. What would be an acceptable reason for drivers going beyond the normal driving hours when relying on the exemption isn’t clear.
Finally, as with any relaxation of the drivers’ hours rules, the DfT has pointed out that relying on the relaxation must not compromise driver safety and reminds employers of their health and safety obligations.
For further information, contact the Regulatory team on 01254 828 300 or Regulatory@backhouses.co.uk