Relaxation of Drivers’ Hours

Both the GB and EU drivers’ hours automatically cease to apply in emergency situations.

An emergency situation is if your journey is necessary to enable someone to:

1) provide goods or services to protect public health, and/or

2) meet their or others’ basic needs for day to day living, and/or

3) provide medical treatment

and there is a risk of danger to the life or health of people if your journey is not carried out.

Operators do not need to ask the department for an exemption. It is automatic.

The exemptions cease to apply once the situation is under control and there is no longer a need for immediate preventative action.

The department would not normally expect drivers in emergencies to:

  • drive for more than 11 hours in one day
  • have less than 9 hours of daily rest
  • work for more than 7 days before the start of the regular or reduced weekly rest (if operating under the EU rules), or
  • have less than 24 hours weekly rest
  • drivers operating under the EU drivers’ hours rules should ensure they take a 45 minute break after 4.5 hours driving.

The drivers in question must note on the back of their tachograph the reason why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits.

Operators should maintain records of when standard drivers’ hours have been deviated from, along with a justification of why this was needed.

The relaxations apply from 23 March 2020 and will run until close of play on 31 May 2020.

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