Driving Times

There are strict regulations surrounding your drivers’ hours, when they should be on the road and when they should be off them. As an employer, there is a requirement to monitor drivers’ working hours. Businesses with fleets must help ensure their drivers are staying within the legal limits for driving times, or otherwise be at risk of facing legal action.

Rules on driving times

As with many laws in the UK, most regulation is set by the EU and therefore could change after the Brexit transition period ends. For now, though, allowable driving times largely follow the EU rules on drivers’ hours and limits and The European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR).

Driving times for van drivers

Main EU rules surrounding driving times (for drivers of goods vehicles and vehicles carrying passengers) state:

  1. Not to drive more than 56 hours in any week
  2. Not to drive more than 9 hours each day (this can be increased to 10 hours twice weekly)
  3. Not to drive more than 90 hours per fortnight
  4. Not to drive for up to ten hours daily – on public roads or off-road
  5. Not to work more than an 11-hour shift on any given day
  6. To rest for at least 30 minutes after 5 hours 30 minutes of continuous driving.
  7. To rest for at least 10 hours at the end of the week, and to rest at least 10 hours prior to the first shift of the week. 

Implications for employers

Organisations that employ drivers should not only be familiar with driving laws, they are also responsible for making sure those laws are obeyed by their drivers.

Driver time sheets needed for driving times

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers (as far as “reasonably practicable”) to protect the health and safety of their employees while at work. This includes drivers on the road – also known as “mobile workers”.

Employers must monitor the driving hours of mobile workers and ensure that, within those records, there are no breaches of the aforementioned EU rules. Records must be kept for at least 2 years. Typically, driver times are recorded on a tachograph or handwritten by the driver.

As an employer, if you are caught without the appropriate records and are, therefore, not protecting your drivers as far as “reasonably practicable”, you can be reprimanded by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The consequences can range from fines to shutting down business activity altogether. Hence, many employers are now looking for easier, more reliable ways to store driving time records.

Future of driving times

With employers’ fleets becoming increasingly complex and large, many look to the digitalisation of fleet management to ensure orderly recording. 

Some fleet tracking software can automatically record driving times digitally and store them for the appropriate amount of time, taking the burden off drivers (who no longer have to hand write time sheets) and employers (who have to uphold the above legal commitments). More sophisticated software can even notify employers when their staff is driving outside of their working hours and are therefore at risk of breaking driving time laws.

Digital fleet software is helping managers and drivers all over the UK stay within legal limits and are likely to adjust to any legal alterations after the UK has left the EU, ensuring organisations remain updated.

Read more: How to navigate HGV driving hours


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