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HGV Driver Hour Regulations

Sep 27, 2019

HGV driver hour regulations are very strict in the UK. This is to ensure the health and safety of drivers and businesses as much as other road users.

At the moment, there is a lot of discussion happening in the USA around rules and regulations which currently govern their truck driving industry. Proposals to relax rules have recently been suggested.

We look at what the regulations are in the UK, the regulations in the USA and the changes which are being proposed, and whether HGV driver hour regulations could be relaxed in the UK.

What are the HGV driver hour regulations in the UK?

HGV driver hour regulations in the UK are very strict. Driving is considered one of the most dangerous occupations, so the regulations are put in place for good reason.

Some of the driving hour regulations which apply include:

• Driving no more than 9 hours in a day (can be extended to 10 hours twice a week)
• Mustn’t exceed 56 hours of driving in a week. Or 90 hours over a consecutive two-week period
• There are also specific break and rest requirements

You can read our recent blog on HGV driver hour regulations for more details.

Given that the rules are quite complex you can find more information and guidance on working hours, break and rest requirements on the gov.uk website

What changes are being proposed in the USA?

Currently in the USA, regulations around truck driver hours are also very strict. Requiring drivers to only drive for set numbers of hours before they must take a break.

Amongst others, the regulations currently limit drivers to:

• 11 hours of driving time within a 14-hour on-duty window
• 10 consecutive hours off duty before starting a new shift
• A driver who is going to be driving for more than eight hours must take a 30-minute break before hitting the eight-hour mark.

Many changes have been proposed (in mid-August) including

– Extending a trucker’s maximum hours to 14 hours
– Allowing drivers to extend the 14 hours by a further 2 hours if conditions are adverse
– Moving distance limits before a break is required to 150 ‘air miles’
– Changes to breaks such as splitting the 10-hour break requirement in to two (7 hours for sleep and 3 hours at another time)

This article gives a good overview of the changes to the HGV driver hour regulations which are being proposed in the USA.

Whilst those in favour of the changes say they will improve safety and give flexibility to drivers. Those opposed to the changes have concerns around driver fatigue and increased crash risk believing that the current rules are set to give drivers sufficient rest to ensure road safety.

Will changes happen to HGV driver hour regulations in the UK?

Breaking the regulations set around HGV driver hours can see drivers receive substantial fines as well as employers being issued with improvement notices if they break rules relating to recording and monitoring working time.

There is also increasing focus on legislation and prosecutions following serious or fatal road traffic collisions in the UK. This includes tough sentencing guidelines. With new guidance coming into force on the 1st February 2016, health and safety offences now come with higher fines and for those found guilty of Corporate Manslaughter there is an increased likelihood of jail time for individual offenders. You can watch our recent video, made alongside our legal partners DAC Beachcroft here for more information on serious road traffic accidents.

With all of this in mind, and such a focus on health and safety, as well as an appreciation of the effects of driver fatigue, at Anthony Jones we don’t foresee there being any relaxing of the current regulations in the near future.

Anthony Jones are specialists in arranging insurance for those working in the haulage industry and can arrange insurance whether you run a small or large fleet of vehicles. Get in touch with us today on 020 8290 9099 or email us at commercial.motor@anthonyjones.com to discuss your fleet insurance needs.

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