Legal Working Hours For HGV Drivers In The UK

Reasons to Comply with the Legal Hours of HGV Driving

In addition to utilising the safety technology commonly found in modern vehicles, fleet managers and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers can prioritise safety by strictly adhering to the legally mandated HGV driver hours outlined in road traffic laws. Fatigue or excessive work can lead to distractions or poor decision-making, which, in the case of HGVs, can have devastating consequences within a split second. An excessively tired HGV driver may even doze off at the wheel, despite the availability of the StopSafe system designed to prevent such incidents. Fleet managers must avoid allowing HGV drivers to drive for extended periods, recognizing that this could lead to avoidable and potentially fatal accidents.

Planning a driver’s working hours can be challenging and time-consuming in certain situations. This is particularly true for HGV drivers, as their work assignments often vary based on client requirements. To provide assistance and ensure compliance with driving hour regulations, we have created an informative guide that covers essential road regulations for HGV drivers in the UK. If you’re interested in learning about lorry driver training, you can find more information before delving into the article.

Driving Time Restrictions for HGV Drivers in the UK: A Comprehensive Overview

The regulations governing the permissible driving hours for HGV drivers in the UK are rooted in both EU policies and British legislation. Here are some important guidelines that UK HGV drivers need to follow.

  1. The daily driving limit is set at 9 hours, but it can be extended to 10 hours. However, this increase of 1 hour is only permitted twice a week.
  2. The weekly driving limit is set at a maximum of 56 hours.
  3. The driving limit for each fortnight is strictly enforced and must not exceed a maximum of 90 hours.

Legally Required Rest Periods for UK HGV Drivers

According to legal requirements, an HGV driver must adhere to a mandatory break of at least 45 minutes after driving for a continuous period of 4.5 hours. This 4.5 hours of driving can be achieved either in one go or through multiple shorter driving periods. Regardless of the approach, an HGV driver needs to take a break lasting no less than 45 minutes once they have accumulated 4.5 hours of driving time.

The 45-minute break mentioned above can either be done continuously in one sitting or it can also be divided into several breaks (split breaks). For example, an HGV driver can make their first 2.5 hours and take a 15-minute break, and then drive for another 2 hours and take a 30-minute break. In total, such a driver will have driven for a total of 4.5 hours and rested for a total of 45 minutes – just as prescribed by law. If you’re willing to put the time and effort into developing your HGV driver skills, you can develop a highly rewarding career.

While it is essential to note that a split break under 15 minutes is not acknowledged under the law, it is important to understand the implications. For instance, if a driver spends a cumulative 4.5 hours on the road and takes two breaks, with one lasting 10 minutes and the other lasting 35 minutes, only the 35-minute break will be considered valid. Consequently, the driver would violate road traffic regulations regarding legally mandated breaks, which is considered a criminal offence in the UK.

Understanding the Distinction Between Driving Time and Working Time

Many individuals with knowledge of driving and fleet management often mistakenly assume that these two expressions carry the same definition, but that is not the case.

Driving time refers to the duration during which a driver is actively operating a vehicle on the road.

Working time refers to the period during which a driver is engaged in various tasks related to their overall responsibilities in transportation. It includes, but is not restricted to, the time allocated to the following operations:

  • Operating a vehicle
  • Loading and unloading of goods
  • Receiving training on industry-specific tasks
  • Receiving CPC training
  • Inspecting the vehicle for defects
  • Cleaning and maintaining the vehicle in perfect condition
  • Administrative tasks
  • Waiting periods wherein the driver is unable to gauge how long they will be on hold

Note that the definition of driving time may not align exactly with that of working time. As a result, there can be complexity for drivers or fleet managers who aim to strictly comply with UK road laws and regulations. If you wish to gain a more comprehensive understanding of this topic, we offer a detailed guide that delves into the intricacies of driving time.