Driving while tired can have life-threatening consequences. According to Fleet News, one in eight drivers in the UK admit to falling asleep at the wheel at some point. The damage that could be done by a drowsy driver behind the wheel of a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) is terrifying to consider. This is why driver rest periods are so important and why the HGV weekly rest period guidelines should be followed.
This article will discuss driver rests, including what they are, why they’re so important and how fleet managers can enforce these rest periods.
What Are Driver Rests?
Driver rests refer to periods of rest that drivers are required to take in compliance with industry regulations. These regulations apply to all drivers of heavy goods vehicles. The current EU drivers regulations are as follows:
- HGV daily rest: Drivers must have a rest period of at least 11 hours daily. They can shorten this up to nine hours rest period, but only three times per week.
- HGV weekly rest: Drivers must have an uninterrupted rest period of 45 hours weekly. They can reduce it to 24 hours every week, if desired.
- While driving: Drivers must take break periods of at least 45 minutes after four and a half hours of consecutive driving.
Additionally, there are EU driving regulations that outline the number of hours drivers are allowed to drive daily and weekly. HGV drivers must record their rests and driving times on a tachograph, which is a gadget that’s attached to an automobile to record driving periods, distances and speed.
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Why Are Driver Rests Important?
Driving for long hours on end requires immense concentration and control. By taking driving breaks, drivers will ensure they stay alert on the road and avoid any of the risks associated with driving for too long without rest.
Some of the risks of skipping the daily or weekly HGV rest period include: running out of fuel, falling asleep at the wheel and reduced reaction times. For these reasons, it’s crucial that HGV weekly rest periods are observed — for the safety of the driver and others on the road.
Read more: How To Have Happy Drivers In Your Company
How Drivers Can Incorporate Rests Into Their Routine
Determining when a driver should take a break can be confusing. Driving times and time spent on other work are classified differently and consequently require different amounts of rest periods in between.
The easiest way for a driver to incorporate daily driver rests and weekly rests into their routine is to keep a log of their driving times, rest times, and time spent on other work. Drivers are legally required to record driving and rest times on a tachograph, but keeping a paper or digital log may make calculating rest periods easier.
Drivers should familiarise themselves with the EU driving regulations and go over any questions with their fleet manager before hitting the road.
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How Fleet Managers Can Enforce Driver Rests
There are a few key things fleet managers can do to enforce daily and weekly driver rests:
- Develop road-safety strategies: Fleet managers should implement a protocol for management to establish road safety strategies at the local, state and national levels.
- Provide driver training: Driver training, education and incentive programs can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure drivers take the appropriate rest periods.
- Utilise a fleet management system: A vehicle management systems like Fleet Geo can track driving hours, mileage and the real-time location of vehicles. Fleet managers can review this information retrospectively and address issues as the crop up.
Driver Rests Make for Safer Roads
The HGV weekly rest period should not be overlooked by drivers. Skipping these important rest periods increases the risk of drivers running out of fuel, falling asleep at the wheel and damaging the vehicle or others on the road.
Fleet managers can better enforce daily and weekly rest periods by implementing road-safety protocol, educating drivers and using a fleet management system like Fleet Geo to review driver routes and behaviour.