HGV Driver Rules on the Road

How long can an HGV driver drive for? How often should an HGV driver take a break? 

If you’re an HGV lorry driver, it’s important to know the answers to these questions as you’re subject to certain rules on the road for your own safety as well as others.  

At Elite, we like to support HGV drivers the best we can. We’ve worked with our expert team to put the HGV driver rules all in one handy place.  

I’m an HGV Driver, how long can I drive for? 

Sticking to strict HGV driver hours is one of the most fundamental ways that Class 1 and Class 2 drivers can keep HGV lorries safe. An overworked or overtired HGV lorry driver is more likely to lose concentration, which can cause fatal accidents.  

Under current regulations HGV drivers can only drive for 9 hours per day and this must be broken up by a break of at least 45 minutes after 4.5 hours of driving. This driving limit can be increased to ten hours twice a week, with a maximum weekly driving limit set at 56 hours. 

I’m an HGV Driver, what rest period do I need? 

  • At least 11 hours rest every day – you can reduce this to 9 hours rest 3 times between any 2 weekly rest periods 
  • An unbroken rest period of 45 hours every week – you can reduce this to 24 hours every other week 
  • A break or breaks totalling at least 45 minutes after no more than 4 hours 30 minutes driving 

In summary if an HGV driver begins work at 7.00am on day 1 they must by 7.00am on day 2 have completed one of the following: 

  • A regular daily rest period of 11 hours uninterrupted 
  • A split regular daily rest period of 12 hours, taken in two separate periods, the first being a minimum of 3 hours and the second at least 9 hours 
  • A reduced daily rest period, only if entitled, of a minimum of 9 hours uninterrupted (but not over 11 hours) 

I’m an HGV Driver, what do I need to class as working time outside of driving? 

Working Time Directive Rules take into account a HGV Driver’s responsibilities that aren’t behind the wheel. Any time spent carrying out activities in connection with the transport operation is classed as working time, this would include: 

  • Driving 
  • Loading and unloading 
  • Driver training or other industry or job specific training 
  • Cleaning and maintenance of vehicle 
  • Monitoring of loading and unloading (to ensure goods are safely loaded and unloaded) 
  • Daily vehicle defect check and report 
  • Time during which the HGV driver cannot freely dispose of their time and is required to be in the vehicle ready to take up normal work. 
  • Administrative work linked to legal or regulatory obligations directly linked to the transport operations which are under way. 
  • Waiting periods where the foreseeable duration is not known in advance by the HGV driver, either before departure or just before the start of the period in ques 

As an HGV driver, if you’re doing any other work as listed above between 6 and 9 hours, you’re required to take a break or breaks totalling 30 minutes. For any work that goes over 9 hours a total break of 45 minutes will be required. 

What is not included in working time? 

Travelling between home and their normal place of work is not counted as working time, nor are rest periods or breaks. 

As an HGV Driver, how do I know when a break is required if I’m driving and doing other work? 

An HGV driver needs to understand that when they are driving they need to follow EU driving hours rules and must have a 45 minute break after they have driven for 4.5 hours. 

It can get confusing when a driver is doing a mixture of Driving and Other work, for example, if a driver does other work before driving this needs to be taking into account towards their working time. They must not exceed more than 6 hours working time without the required break. 

You need to take a break after you have driven for 4.5 hours or worked for 6 hours (including driving) whichever comes first. 

HGV Drivers’ hours cannot be taken lightly, and infringements can be heavily penalised. HGV Drivers also need to be aware of why there are restrictions on the hours they can spend both behind the wheel and at work; it’s about making roads safer for everybody. 

Are you an HGV Driver looking for work? 

Elite is a recruitment agency specialising in HGV drivers, we’re keen to support the UK supply chain with committed HGV drivers. We drive the right people to the right jobs and have made it easy for you to find suitable HGV agency work. You can quickly register your details online here or download our Elite app for regular work updates on the go. Our team are happy to chat, if you’d like more information on becoming an HGV driver or HGV driver work you can contact Elite via email at widnes@elite-employ.com or call 0151 420 1219

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