Essential Guide For Employers – What Are Domestic Driving Hours?

As a fleet manager, your vehicles must adhere to domestic driving hours regulation. Find out how it works and why it pays to track them.
Drivers' Hours Rules PDF: What are domestic driving hours?

The rules and regulations when it comes to domestic driving hours can seem complex. Fundamentally, domestic driving hours exist to keep driving and drivers safe. They do so by outlining driving hour limits as well as mandatory rest breaks.

Therefore, fleet operators, business owners and employee drivers should be aware of many factors. This includes relevant driving hours and rest breaks for their vehicles, what kind of vehicle they drive as well as its classification.

There are two key pieces of regulation to be aware of. These are:

  • GB Domestic Driving Hours
  • EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations

Importantly, these regulations don’t define where the driver comes from, whether Great Britain or the EU. Rather, they apply to what type of vehicle you drive while on duty, and where. Moreover, the current regulations in place, both GB and EU, are a continuation of those found pre-Brexit. 

This post outlines the most important pieces of information you need to know, including GB Domestic Driving Hours, EU regulations and their corresponding rest breaks. 

What Are Domestic Driving Hours?

Drivers' Hours Rules PDF: What's it like in Great Britain for domestic driving hours?

The GB Domestic Driving Hours are the driving hours that apply to most passenger-carrying vehicles and goods-carrying vehicles. To be subjected to these domestic driving hours, both vehicle types must weigh under 3.5 tonnes as well as being located in Great Britain, with Northern Ireland having its own separate regulations.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the GB Domestic Driving Hours are only valid for certain vehicles in Great Britain. Should a vehicle drive into an area where driving hours are governed by the EU Drivers’ Hours regulations, its driving hours are also subject to such. 

In addition, business owners and drivers should also be aware of the definition of duty time, which GB Domestic Driving Hours concern. Essentially, duty times means working hours. If you are self-employed, duty times means the time spent driving a work-related vehicle or undertaking work relating to a work-related vehicle.

GB Domestic Driving Hours For Goods-Carrying Vehicles

As mentioned above, the good-carrying vehicle in question must not exceed 3.5 tonnes to qualify as a standard goods-carrying vehicle. The GB domestic driving hours are the following:

  • You must not drive the vehicle for more than 10 hours a day on a public road/off-road when not during duty hours.
  • You must not work for more than 11 hours a day if that working day involves driving. 

Furthermore, off-road driving counts as duty time if it is:

  • Agriculture-related
  • Forestry
  • Building work
  • Civil engineering

There are also exemptions to the GB Domestic Driving Hours for goods-carrying vehicles. These are:

  • Dealing with emergencies, such as major disruptions/danger to life situations
  • Using a vehicle privately
  • Driving off-road during duty time
  • Driving a vehicle used by the military, police or fire brigade

GB Domestic Driving Hours For Passenger-Carrying Vehicles

Passenger-carrying vehicles weighing under 3.5 tonnes in Great Britain are also subjected to the GB Domestic Driving Hours Regulations. The regulations for this type of vehicle are:

Drivers’ Hours Rules pdf: Domestic driving hours for passenger-carrying vehicles?
  • You must not exceed the 10 hours of duty time for each working day
  • The absolute limit time allowed in a working day is 16 hours, including driving and non-driving work.

As with goods-carrying vehicles, there are exceptions to adhering to the GB Domestic Driving Hours. These are:

  • Dealing with emergencies, such as major disruptions/danger to life situations
  • Driving for less than 4 hours a day a week

Moreover, if you drive for more than 4 hours for up to 2 days a week, the following applies to you:

  • Adhere to the maximum daily driving and working day limits
  • Complete all of your work duties within a 24-hour period
  • Take a 10-hour rest break between duty periods on following days

Does This Differ To HGV Driving Hours?

The short answer is – yes it does. HGV stands for “Heavy Goods Vehicle”, which weigh more than 3.5 tonnes. As HGV vehicle driving usually involves large distances to cover as well as a larger bulk to transport, they are subject to separate regulations from the GB Domestic Driving Hours. 

Vimcar: Vehicle tracking for HGVs

HGV driving hours are subject to the EU Drivers’ Hours regulations. These are:

  • No more than 9 hours of duty time a day
  • A maximum of 56 hours of duty time a week
  • A maximum of 90 hours of duty time in a consecutive two-week period. 

Moreover, HGV drivers are subject to stricter break schedules as part of EU Drivers’ Hours regulations. These are:

  • Rest periods of at least 11 hours a day, which can be shortened to 9 hours a day for a maximum of 3 days a week.
  • A continuous rest period of 45 hours a week, which can be reduced to 24 hours once every two weeks
  • A break period of at least 45 minutes per 4 hours and 30 minutes of duty time.

Read More: Read Our Guide to HGV Driving Hours

Why Does Your Business Need To Care About Domestic Driving Hours Regulations?

GB Domestic Driving Hours, as well as the EU Drivers’ Hours, are legal regulations. They are set out to ensure safer driving conditions for business owners, employees as well as other motorists. 

Read More: Find Out How You Can Create Safer Driver Policy At Work

Vimcar helps you avoid penalties. So does adhering to domestic driving hours laws.

If your business doesn’t comply with the relevant regulation, you may be met with penalties and sanctions. Businesses that are found to have consistently violated legal driving hours may have their vehicles interpreted as a threat to road safety.

Vehicles can be prohibited as well as immobilised for further use. Business owners that consistently fail to comply with regulations may even be prosecuted in more serious cases.

Moreover, written records must be recorded in many instances via tachograph or logbook containing record sheets. All vehicles that are subjected to EU Drivers’ Hours regulations require a tachograph or a logbook. 

What is a Tachograph?

A tachograph is a device that records your vehicle’s speed, driving time and distance. They ensure that businesses adhere to legal driving hours regulations. They either come in an analogue or digital form. 

When Do I Need a Tachograph?

If your fleet additionally operates in an area covered by EU Drivers’ Hours, you would need a tachograph or manual logbook in this instance. You may be required to produce a tachograph chart for any driving/related work in those areas for the current day as well as the previous 28 calendar days. Moreover, HGVs weighing over 3.5 tonnes are subject to the EU Drivers’ Hours regulations. Therefore, they require a tachograph or a logbook.

Where Can I Get a Tachograph?

Digital tachographs are far more common. This is where tracking software comes in. Good tracking software today comes in the subscription form and contains individual tracking devices. These are individually installed into each vehicle, and record a whole range of vehicle information, including vehicle speed, location, driving time and distance. Therefore, a tracking device counts as a tachograph.

Read More: Find Out How Vimcar’s New Features Improve Driver Safety & Car Policy for Employees

Conclusion: It Pays To Record Domestic Driving Hours

Whether your fleet contains vehicles goods-carrying vehicles and passenger vehicles that weigh under 3.5 tonnes, HGVs, or both – it pays to record your driving hours with Vimcar

Vimcar’s Fleet Geo is industry-leading tracking software that you can rely on. Accurately track your vehicle’s statistics and view them in real-time on a user interface via mobile, tablet or desktop. Domestic driving hours can be complex – but Vimcar makes them easier to track and avoid penalties.

For another essential guide, get our van check sheet template.

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