HGV Drivers Hours Simplified

Did you know that there are driver hour laws in place in the UK for HGVs? Learn more about them and how to stay out of trouble with this post.
HGV driving hours simplified

9-10% of accidents in the UK are linked to drowsiness. To prevent driver fatigue and keep our roads safer, it’s imperative to follow Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV)  working time directives. 

Get a handle on these regulations and keep your fleet moving with this guide to “HGV Drivers Hours Explained & Simplified”. Here’s how:

What are HGV Driver Hours?

HGV driver hours simplified: There are special laws in place to prevent you from falling asleep.

HGV Drivers Hours Are Regulations Dictating Maximum Commercial Driving Hours And Required Rest Periods

These laws apply to drivers operating vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. Abiding by HGV working time directives prevents falling asleep at the wheel, reduced reaction times, and driver errors like running out of petrol. 

With 1 in 8 drivers admitting to falling asleep at the wheel, these restrictions aren’t just a formality, they are life-saving!

HGV drivers hours simplified: what are the HGV working time directives for driver hours and breaks

Daily Driving Hours & Maximum hours

  • Drivers can drive a maximum of 9 hours per day, or 10 hours twice a week.
  • Night shift drivers can drive a maximum of 10 hours; this can be increased as part of a workforce agreement.
  • Commuting between drivers’ homes to the worksite does not count as driving time.

→ Jump to: 2021 updates: changes to the driving rules

An employee using a GPS Fleet Tracker on a desktop computer

Get a Free HGV Driving Breaks Guide


HGV Drivers Hours Simplified: a driver taking a break

A break is defined as any period during which a driver may not carry out driving or any other work and which is used exclusively for recuperation.

After each 4.5 hours spent on the road, drivers must take a 45-minute break. They may split this by taking one 15 minute break followed by another 30 minute break, but not the other way around.

Daily Rest periods

A daily rest period is the total time between the end of one work session and the start of the next day’s work session.

  • Drivers must have an 11 hour daily rest period, or a 12 hour rest period if it’s split into two periods of 3 hours and 9 hours. 
  • This rest period can be reduced to 9 hours three times in a week.

How does this work in action?

A driver starting work at 9 AM on day 1 must have taken a rest period of 11 hours before they start work at 9 AM on day 2, so they should finish their shift at 10 PM at the latest. Or, they could split a rest period of 12 hours by taking a 3 hour rest period and a 9 hour rest period. Alternatively, a reduced rest period of 9 hours can be taken if it does not exceed 3 times a week.

Weekly Driving Hours

Put simply:

You should follow the HGV working time directive.
  • Drivers must have 45 hours of rest over a week. This can be reduced to 24 hours, but it must be followed by a full rest period during a 2-week period.
  • Drivers must not work more than an average 48 hours a week; this spans a 17-26 week period, depending on your workforce agreement.
  • Staff may drive a maximum of 56 hours a week as long as the average working time of 48 is not exceeded. 
  • Drivers may not exceed 60 hours a week working time (driving and other work).
  • Drivers must not work more than 90 hours in a 2 week period.

Read more: Why Timesheets Matter When Optimising Your Fleet

2021 updates: changes to the driving rules

To deal with supply chain issues, the UK government has temporarily relaxed some HGV driving hour rules. The updates are as follows: 

  • Drivers can now drive 10 hours a day (compared to 9)
  • Drivers can now drive 99 hours per fortnight (compared to 90)

These new rules will stay in force until January 2021, but could be extended. Visit here for more information.

An employee using a GPS Fleet Tracker on a desktop computer

Get a Free HGV Driving Breaks Guide

→ Jump to: HGV Driving Hours FAQs simplified

What Are the Consequences of Not Following HGV Working Time Directives?

Failure To Comply With HGV Working Time Directives Can Result In Penalty, Fines, And Prosecution

If a driver gets into an accident while breaching regulations, your company could be in hot water.

What If My Drivers Have Other Jobs?

An HGV driver, writing on a clipboard

HGV working time directives do not only apply to driving duties. 

  • If your drivers perform other work during their off-driving hours, it’s considered working duties and does not count as rest. 

This includes self-employed work, community service, Driver CPC training, and emergency service activities. The EU’s HGV working time directives take precedence over other break requirements.

  • The HGV working time directive requires drivers completing other work to take a 30 minute break if their work is between 6 and 9 hours, or 45 minutes if work totals over 9 hours.

Read more: Why Timesheets Matter When Optimising Your Fleet

How Do Drivers Track Hours?

HGV Drivers Hours Simplified: driver tracking his hours

Drivers must record their driving hours and rest periods on a tachograph, a gadget that records vehicles’ driving periods, speed, and distances.

To make HGV drivers hours simplified, install a GPS fleet tracker or a truck tracking system that allows you to continuously monitor with a convenient mobile app.

Plus, Fleet Geo keeps your fleet even safer through preventing theft and vehicle misuse, helping you keep on top of vehicle maintenance and drivers licence checks, and incentivising better driving behaviour.

Understanding HGV Regulations

HGV working time directives can be confusing, but hopefully this guide to HGV drivers hours simplified the regulations. The bottom line is drivers need to take the appropriate breaks and rest periods while ensuring that other work activities do not cut into rest. 

Don’t forget, installing GPS trackers for cars like Fleet Geo lessen the headache involved with monitoring hours. Ultimately, these guidelines keep our roads safer. To learn more about how Fleet Geo can improve your fleet’s safety, contact our customer service team today.

HGV Driving Hours FAQs simplified

What is a 6-hour rule?

An HGV driver following HGV driving rules

This rule precisely means that a driver can not work (whether it be driving or any other kind of work) for more than six hours without taking any break. HGV drivers hours simplified follows the six-hour rule. However, some exceptions may be accepted with the six-hour rule but only under certain circumstances. The six-hour rule also states that you must have taken a break of at least 15 minutes before working for the six hours. The pattern continues with the increase in the hourly rate.

  • Note that any attempt to conduct a break that tends to be less than 15 minutes will not be considered a break according to the six-hour rule. A driver cannot take a break at the end of the drive shift.

How many 15 hour shifts can a HGV driver do?

These hours are meant to regulate commercial driving hours and the periods of rest; with approximately 4.5 hours that are spent on the road, the driver should take two shifts, the first shift should entail a 15 minutes’ break, then the second shift should be around 30 minutes break which makes the shift interval on a double scale but that is on an average daily basis. During a week, the count will be five and a half hours within the work span.

An HGV drivers hours simplified states that rest hours must not be for less than nine hours within a 24 – hour period, which is up to three times a week, and later, which allows them to carry out work in the same week for 15 hours in three days.

How many hours can Drivers work a day?

A car clock symbolising HGV Driving Hours simplified

To put it simply, HGV driving hours dictate that the maximum time a driver can drive in 24 hours is 9 hours from an overall weekly limit of fifty-six hours, giving you 9 hours per day, and these HGV drivers hours simplified laws are obvious. Note that the resting time of an HGV driver is considered to be “working hours”. These laws only apply to those who have a heavy goods vehicle.

How many hours can an HGV driver work at night?

HGV drivers hours rules simplified state that you can only work for 10 hours at night, compared to the 9 hours of the day. HGV drivers hours simplified also say you cannot exceed ten hours within a 24 hour period. It is also noted that midnight to around 4 am are strictly meant for HGV drivers, whereas 1 am to 5 am is for PSV drivers.

Read more: Trackers for Cars

What are the maximum driving hours per week?

An HGV driver with a watch, recording his hours

As mentioned earlier, under HGV drivers hours simplified, drivers should not work for more than 56 hours a week, giving a span of 17-26 hours of rest per week on an HGV drivers hours simplified that may depend on workforce agreement. That’s all the information you need to know regarding HGV drivers hours simplified.

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