HGV Drivers Hours Explained

HGV Drivers Hours Explained

Drivers of HGVs and trailers are required to adhere to regulations when it comes to working hours. A lot of long haul jobs can take many hours, a lot longer than a regular working day, and driving for long periods can take its toll. It is essential that drivers stick to the rules when it comes to driving long haul. 

Any driver of a trailer or heavy goods vehicle that totals 3.5 tonnes or more is required to follow these rules and regulations. Below is an explanation on hours that drivers should be adhering to. 

EU Driving Hours

A driver in the EU should be driving a maximum of 9 hours per day. Twice a week, this time limit can be increased to 10 hours. Within a single week, a driver is capped at 56 hours in total and 90 hours per fortnight. 

EU Drivers Breaks 

Drivers are required to take a break every 4.5 hours of driving. The break should be 45 minutes long. This period of 4.5 hours can be one continuous drive or slots of shorter periods that total 4.5 hours. 

Each break can be split into two but must equal 45 minutes in total. For example, one break can be 15 minutes long while another can be 30 minutes. This is also known as split breaks. If you are splitting your breaks, each one should be at least 15 minutes and no less. If its less than 15 minutes then this would not qualify as a break. 

EU Drivers Rest Periods

For each day of driving, you are required to have a rest period of 11 hours. Again, this can be split into two, but the first period must be at least 3 hours long and uninterrupted. 

A driver is allowed to reduce their rest periods, but this can only be done three times in one week. If a rest period is under 11 hours, this is classed as a reduced rest period, but must be at least 9 hours. 

Each week, a driver must have 45 hours of rest period. This can be reduced to 24 hours as long as one full rest is had in the fortnight. Drivers should not be having more than six consecutive 24 hour periods between each week’s rests. 

HGV working time includes both driving and non-driving work. Working hours and breaks can differ slightly for those carrying out both driving and non-driving work. If a driver is performing tasks that do not involve driving, this still needs to be considered when it comes to working hours, breaks and rest periods. For example, if you have driven for 4.5 hours and worked for 6 hours in total, you are required to take a break. 

HGV Working Time (Including Driving)

Working hours for a HGV driver must be limited to 48 hours per week. This can be increased to 60 hours, as long as the average working hours remains at 48. If driving at night, the maximum hours must be capped at 10. This can also be increased if the average remains at 10 per night.

HGV Working Time Breaks

Drivers should not work longer than 6 hours without taking a break. A break should be at least 15 minutes long to be classed as a break. If a driver is working between 6 and 9 hours, then a break should be at least 30 minutes. 

Mobile workers should take a 15 minute break after 6 hours of work. If working between 6 and 9 hours, a shift mobile worker must take a 30 minute break. This can split into two 15 minute breaks. If working longer than 9 hours, a 45 minute break must be taken.

HGV Working Time Rest

HGV working time rest is the same as the EU drivers rest time.

What is Period of Availability?

You may have heard the term ‘period of availability’. This means that a driver is on call and is not classed as a break or a rest. Drivers should be notified of the length of this period beforehand. 

What is a reference period? 

A reference period is the number of hours worked each work over a 17 week or 26 week period if extended. The average weekly working hours are calculated over this period of time. Reference periods begin on the first Monday of either April, August or December and starts at 00:01 on the Monday and runs through to the last Sunday of this period at midnight. 

Why are driving hours and working hour’s breaks different?

Breaks for driving hours and working hours are different due to the fact that driving a HGV is more difficult and is a high risk job when compared to other types of work.

Night Working Hours

Night work periods fall between the hours of midnight and 4am. Anything outside of these hours is classed as daytime work. 

What Is Classed As A Break? 

During a break, a driver must not be carrying out any time of work. Drivers can take their breaks in their vehicles, as long as they are not undertaking any work within the vehicle. 

What Is Classed as Work? 

The following tasks are all classed as work and should be carried out during working hours. Drivers should not undertake any of the following during their breaks or rest periods. 

Driving, Training, Cleaning (vehicle), Maintenance (vehicle), Loading and Unloading, Defect Checks, Admin Tasks.

It should also be noted that travelling to and from work is not classed as work. 

How To Record Working Hours and Breaks?

Records must be kept of drivers working hours, rest periods, breaks and periods of availability. Drivers can record their working time and their breaks on a tachograph. This sends data through to the employer who keeps track of the driver's records. Apps and other calculators can also be used to record working hours and breaks. 

It is important that drivers adhere to these rules and regulations when working to ensure safe driving for themselves and other road users. For further safe transportation of cargo and haulage, drivers and transport managers must make sure their vehicles are fitted with high-quality equipment, parts and spares. Nationwide Trailer Parts provide a wide range of trailer parts for various vehicles. Contact one of our team members to find out more about our products and which are suitable for your vehicle. 

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