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HGV Driving Hours: How Many 15 Hour Days Can an HGV Driver Do?

Apr 26, 2019

Given that driving could be considered one of the most dangerous vocations, and when coupled with responsibility for large HGVs, it’s not hard to understand why HGV drivers are subject to some very strict rules.

The 28th April is ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ so with this in mind we thought that we’d look at some of the regulations and rules that HGV drivers must adhere to including areas such as:

• Maximum hours an HGV driver can work in a day and week
• Break schedules
• Rest periods

The information below focuses on the EU rules with regards to driver hours. There are also GB Rules and AETR Rules, so it is important to understand which apply to your drivers or business. You can find more information from the government guidance on driver’s hours.

How many hours can an HGV Driver legally drive for?

The EU rules state that driving hours must not exceed

• 9 hours in a day.
• This can be extended to 10 hours twice a week

Whilst this daily limit applies, there are also weekly limits:

• Over the course of a week driving hours mustn’t exceed 56 hours
• Over the course of a consecutive two-week period this mustn’t exceed 90 hours

What are the break requirements?

Breaks are classed as times when the individual is not driving or doing other work.

If you are driving:

– A 45-minute break is required if you have driven for 4.5 hours
– A further 45 minute break will be required if you accumulate another 4.5 hours of driving after the first rest period

If you are doing other work:

– A 30 minute break is required during shifts of 6-9 hours
– Working for more than 9 hours, a 45 minute break is required

Regardless of the work being done, drivers must not work for more than 6 hours without a break

What are the rest requirements?

The regulations require continuous rest over the course of a day of 11 hours. However, this can be reduced to 9 hours a day up to 3 times a week.

How many 15 hour working days can an HGV driver do?

The rest rules state that a driver can only have a minimum of 9 hours rest in a 24-hour period 3 times in a week. This means that an HGV drivers working day can only be 15 hours at most three times between weekly rest periods.

The requirement for drivers to only drive 9 hours (or a maximum of 10 hours) a day means that this 15-hour working day cannot be made up purely of driving.

In the instance of a 15-hour day the following must be accounted for within the hours

– Driving time
– Other work
– Rest periods
– Breaks

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 are the penalties for not following the rules?

Drivers are required to record their driving hours using a Tachograph.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is responsible for upholding the rules in the UK. They can fine drivers up to £300 if they are found to be breaking rules around driving hours. They can also prosecute and immobilise vehicles.

The rules were changed in March 2018 to allow fines to be issued for offences committed in the previous 28 days. In a single check, fines for 5 offences can be issued in one go – meaning a total fine of £1,500 is possible.

Employers can also be issued with improvement or prohibition notices if they break the rules around recording and monitoring working time.

It is important that employers and business who operate HGV’s keep a focus on Health and Safety to ensure that the working culture promotes a safe and responsible working environment. A part of this will include making sure you have adequate HGV insurance in place so do talk to us today if you have any questions about your insurance needs.

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