26th March 2020

Government Announces Changes to Drivers Hours

Due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rules around drivers’ hours for essential items have been relaxed. Panic buying has been widespread throughout the UK and HGV drivers have become essential during this difficult time. On the 18th March, the Department for Transport announced that they would be agreeing to temporary relaxations of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales for the drivers involved in the delivery of food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning) and over the counter pharmaceuticals.

The rules have initially been relaxed for 30 days, until Thursday 16th April and only applies to the drivers specified in the notice and are involved with the movement of such goods from importers, manufacturers and suppliers to distribution centres.

To ensure that the shelves are well stocked for the UK public, the drivers’ hours have been relaxed in the following ways:

The daily driving limit of nine hours has been upped to 11 hours.

The minimum 11 hours daily rest requirement has been reduced to nine hours.

The weekly driving limit has been increased from 56 to 60 hours.

The fortnightly driving limit has gone up from 90 to 96 hours.

The required weekly rest period after six 24-hour periods has been postponed to after seven 24-hour periods - although two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and reduced weekly rest period is still required each fortnight.

Drivers must not use the weekly rest postponement (after seven 24-hour periods) at the same time as upping the daily driving limit to 11 hours.

The required 45-minute daily break after four and a half hours driving is replaced with a 45-minute rest after five and a half hours.

"The drivers in question must note on the back of their tachograph charts or printouts the reasons why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits. This is usual practice in emergencies and is, of course, essential for enforcement purposes," explained the Department for Transport in their official statement.

"The temporary relaxation of the rules described above reflects the exceptional circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak. The department wishes to emphasise that, as a general rule, we expect business to plan for and manage the risks of disruption to supply chains."

SNAP would like to publicly thank the entire HGV industry for the selfless and crucial work they are doing during this troubling time.

Josh Cousens | SNAP. 

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