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Drivers’ hours update as at 30 March 2020

30 March

On 20 March 2020 the Department for Transport announced the latest temporary relaxations to drivers’ hours rules.

This latest update applies to all sectors engaged in the carriage of goods by road and is applicable from Monday 23 March 2020 until 23:59 on Tuesday 21 April 2020. It should be noted however that the continuation of these relaxations after Sunday 5 April 2020 is subject to review.

Following this relaxation of the rules, drivers are now permitted to do the following:

  1. The EU daily driving limit of 9 hours can be extended to 11 hours.
  1. The daily rest requirement can be reduced from 11 hours to 9 hours. The rule preventing more than 3 reductions between two weekly rest periods has been lifted during the relaxation period. If there is a ferry crossing involved, this reduction in daily rest does not apply and the driver must still have 11 hours rest as per the usual rules.
  1. An increase in the weekly driving limit from 56 hours to 60 hours. This applies to the fixed week of 00:00 Monday to 23:59 Sunday. Please note that point 4 below must still be adhered to.
  1. The two weekly driving limit can be increased from 90 to 96 hours. The two-week period being 00:00 Monday to 23:59 on the second Sunday.

It should be noted that drivers are still required to take at least two regular 45 hour weekly rest periods or one regular 45 hour weekly rest and one reduced 24 hour weekly rest period in any two consecutive weeks. The delay of the weekly rest period cannot continuously be taken over consecutive weeks.

  1. The driving break of 45 minutes can be extended to after 5 ½ hours rather than after 4 ½ hours. This break is till permitted to be split across a 15-minute break and a 30-minute break.
  1. The weekly rest period can be postponed from after six 24-hour periods, to after seven 24-hour periods. Please note that this postponement of the weekly rest period can not be used in conjunction with an increase in the daily driving limit as per point 1.

GB Domestic Drivers’ Hours

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

  1. The duty time limit of 11 hours can be increased to 12 hours
  2. The daily driving limit of 10 hours can be increased to 11 hours

The above relaxation of the domestic rules can only be used for five days within a seven-day period. Drivers must take a rest period of 24 hours within this seven-day period.

It is important that any drivers making use of the relaxation of these rules state the reasons why they are exceeding the usual permitted driving limits on the back of their tachograph charts, digital printouts or record sheets. The relaxation of these rules is not a blanket excuse for drivers to exceed the normal hours rules, they are only to apply if needed to make deliveries.


If using a digital tachograph, all drivers who are taking advantage of the relaxed drivers’ hours rules must take a printout, if using an analogue tachograph you should write on the reverse and record the following:

  • Name
  • Driving licence number
  • Date
  • Signature
  • Confirmation of which relaxations have been applied
  • Explanation of why the relaxations have been applied
  • Details of the type of work being carried out
  • Details of where drivers have travelled from and to

It may be advisable for two printouts to be completed so that the driver can obtain one copy 28 days and the other copy can be provided as soon as possible to the Operator.

Emergency Relaxations

GB and EU drivers’ hours rules automatically cease to apply in emergency situations. Guidance from the Department for Transport provides that an emergency situation includes journeys which are essential to provides goods and services to protect public health, meet people’s needs for day to day living or to provide medical treatment. However, the DFT do not envisage that even with an emergency that a driver would have to exceed the relaxations already issued above.

Once the situation is under control and immediate action is no longer required, the emergency exemption will cease to apply.

Where there is a conflict between the relaxations and the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005, the relaxations take priority. You must however continue to comply with all the other applicable rules under the Working Time regulations.

Operators must, where possible, seek the agreement of drivers or driver representatives to any extension of working time before that work start.

Please contact the regulatory team on 01254 828300 or for more information.

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