UK and European Driving Rules
and Employers' Duties
The time that may be spent driving a goods vehicle and the rest periods that
must be taken are fixed by law.
Most goods Vehicles used for the commercial carriage of goods, whether laden
or unladen will be subject to European Community rules as laid down in EC Directive
There are exemptions to these rules but any goods vehicle excluded has to conform
to UK domestic rules.
|New rules came
into effect on 11 April 2007. There were many minor changes.
outline of changes, (Word doc; 75 Kb)
Official European parliament publication, (Adobe PDF; 416 Kb)
Text below is from pre-April 2007 publications: There may have been changes.
||Vehicles engaged in international
journeys to other countries beyond EC external borders have to
conform to the AETR rules which have been amended to bring them
virtually into line with EC rules.
There is a specific requirements in the EC directive that employers must make
periodic checks to ensure that the drivers' hours rules are observed.
Employers must also organise drivers' work in such a way that the requirements
of the regulations are not broken.
A Department of Transport book: "A Guide to Goods Vehicle Drivers' Hours,
Tachographs and Records" (GV 262) can be obtained free of charge from Traffic
The RHA has produced cab stickers, A4 size, setting out the main EC rules. Supplies
are available from RHA Regional Offices.
There is a maximum fine of £2,500 for offences against drivers' hours and
This applies to drivers and to anyone whose orders the driver was following,
These offences are not endorsable on driving licences but convictions may be
taken into account by Traffic Commissioners in determining the grant of an operator's
licence or an LGV driver's licence.
||Provided that road safety is not jeopardised, and
to enable him to reach a suitable stopping place, the driver
may depart from the driving limits and rest requirements
to extend necessary to ensure the safety of persons, of the vehicle or of its
A note of the occurrence and the reason why the requirements were disregarded
must be made on the back of the tachograph chart.
||Journeys to, or through, some European countries
outside the EC are subject to an international agreement on drivers'
hours known as AETR.
The AETR rules apply to the whole of a journey instead of EC Rules.
The AETR rules apply to the former Czechoslovakia, Norway, The Commonwealth of
Independent States (Russia), Yugoslavia and the independent states within former
For all practical purposes AETR rules have been harmonised with EC rules.
|Non-EC and Non-AETR Countries
||When driving in a country which is neither in membership
of the EC nor a party to the AETR agreement, for example Switzerland,
drivers must observe the drivers'
hours requirement of that country.
Domestic drivers hours rules apply to the drivers'
Vehicles on journeys within the United Kingdom which are exempt
from the EC rules.
The rules do not apply to drivers who always
drive off the public road (i.e. driving in connection with road
improvements or road maintenance, quarrying or other construction
work or civil engineering works)
.A driver who drives for less
than 4 hours in any day in any fixed week (24:00 hrs Sunday to
24:00 hrs Sunday) does not have to observe the drivers hours
requirement during that week.
Daily Driving Limit - Domestic A
driver must not drive for more than 10 hours in a day. The
daily driving limit applies to time spent at the wheel actually
on a public road. Off-road driving counts as duty time.
Duty Limit - Domestic A driver must not be on duty for more
that 11 hours on any working day. A driver is exempt from the
duty limit on any working day when he does not drive.
domestic rules are relaxed for events needing immediate action
to avoid danger to life of health; serious interruption of
essential public services (gas, water, electricity, or drainage);
telecommunications and postal services; or in the use of
roads, railways, ports, airports; or serious damage to property.
these cases the driving and duty limits are suspended for
the duration of the emergency.
|MIXED DRIVING (DOMESTIC and EC)
||Where a driver uses a vehicle which is subject
to the EC rules during a day or week in which he also drives
a vehicle subject to Domestic rules he may either observe the
EC hours rules all the time, or a combination of both rules as
long as the EC limits are not exceeded when driving
on EC work.
The following points must be considered:
spent driving under EC rules cannot count as an off-duty period
under Domestic rules.
The time spent driving or on duty under
Domestic rules cannot count as a break or rest period under EC
Driving under EC rules counts towards the driving and
duty limits under the Domestic rules.
Any EC driving in a week
means that the driver must take EX daily and weekly rest. Percy
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Exemptions are given to the EC drivers' hours rules
and, additionally, national governments may make additional exemptions.
The international and national exemptions under EC regulations
Vehicles used for the carriage of goods where the maximum
permissible weight of the vehicle, including any trailer or semi-trailer,
does not exceed 3.5 tonnes.
Vehicles with a maximum authorised
speed not exceeding 30 kilometres per hour.
Vehicles used by
or under the control of the armed services, civil defence, fire
services, and forces responsible for maintaining public order.
Vehicles used in connection with sewerage, flood protections,
water, gas and electricity services: highway maintenance and
control: refuse collections and disposal: telegraph and telephone
services: carriage of postal Articles: radio and television
broadcasting and the detection of radio or television transmitters or receivers.
Vehicles used in emergencies or rescue operations.
Vehicles used for medical purposes.
Vehicles transporting circus
and fun-fair equipment.
undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or
maintenance purposes, and new or rebuilt
Vehicles which have not yet been
put into service.
Vehicles used for non-commercial carriage of
goods for personal use.
Vehicles used for milk collection from
farms and the return to farms of milk containers or milk products
intended for animal feed.
National Exemptions under British Law
used by agricultural, horticultural, forestry or fishery undertakings
for carrying goods within a 50 kilometre radius of the place
where the vehicle is normally based, including local administrative
areas the centres of which are situated within that radius.
(In the case of fishery undertakings the exemption applies
the movement of fish from landing to first processing on land
and of live fish between fish farms).
Vehicles used for carrying
animal waste or carcasses which are not intended for human
Vehicles used for carrying live animals for farms to local markets
and vice versa or from markets to local slaughterhouses
used as shops at local markets or for door-to-door selling, or
used for mobile banking, exchange or saving transactions, for
worship, for the lending of books, records or cassettes, for
cultural events or exhibitions, and specially fitted for such
Vehicles with a maximum permissible weight of not more
than 7.5 tonnes carrying material or equipment for the drivers'
use in the course of his work within a 50 kilometre radius of
the place where the vehicle is normally based, provided that
Vehicles does not constitute the driver's main activity.
Vehicles operating exclusively on islands not exceeding 2,300
square kilometres in area, which are not linked to the rest of
Great Britain by a bridge, ford or tunnel open for use by motor
Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (including batteries)
of not more than 7.5 tonnes used for the carriage of goods
and propelled by means of gas or electricity.
Vehicles used for driving
instructions with a view to obtaining a driving licence, but
excluding instructions on a journey connected with carrying
a commercial load.
Vehicles operated by The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1947.
Vehicles used by Health authorities as ambulances or
to carry staff, patients, medical supplies or equipment.
used by Local Authority social service departments to provide
services for the elderly or physically or mentally handicapped.
Vehicles used by HM Coastguard and Lighthouse services.
used by harbour or airport authorities if the vehicle remain
wholly within the confined of ports or airports.
by British Rail and other transport authorities when engaged
in maintaining railways.
Vehicles used by British Waterways Board
when engaged in maintaining navigable waterways.
exclusively for agricultural and forestry work.
operating under STGO. (Drivers of
Vehicles operating under STGO
Regulations are exempted from the provisions of EC Drivers Hours
Regulations (3820/85) and Recording Equipment Regulations (3821/85).