Designed to limit the number of hours a worker can drive and the minimum rest time required between spells behind the wheel, the Drivers' Hours Regulations is split into three major categories:
- Daily and fortnightly driving limits
- Required rest breaks and the amount of rest required on a daily and weekly basis
- Emergencies and exemptions
According to the directive, drivers are limited to a maximum of nine hours driving a day followed by at least 11 hours rest. Additionally, drivers may only drive 4.5 hours continuously before having a 45 minute break. Break can be divided into two periods, the first at least 15 minutes long, the second at least 30 minutes long. At the end of the week, a regular or a reduced weekly rest must be taken.
And as if that wasn't difficult enough to manage, each of these limits can be changed in certain situations - for example, during the “daily driving period” you can normally drive for 9 hours. Twice in the fixed week (00:00 Monday to 24:00 Sunday) the daily driving period may be extended to 10 hours. The daily rest period can also be cut to a minimum of nine hours no more than three times between weekly rests. The weekly rest can also be reduced to at least 24 hours.
All these drivers hours regulations, variations and exceptions make keeping accurate records of your drivers' activity absolutely vital - particularly since failing to do this could expose you to corporate manslaughter charges.
For more information about Drivers' Hours Regulations, visit the DFT website.