News Story

A simple guide to basic HGV driver working hours in the UK

News Story

A simple guide to basic HGV driver working hours in the UK

In addition to vehicle safety technology, adhering to strict driver hours are one of the most fundamental ways that drivers and fleet managers are able to keep HGVs safe.

An overworked or overtired driver is more likely to let their concentration lapse or make an incorrect decision, and where HGVs are concerned, it only takes a second or so for a devastating and potentially deadly incident to occur.

An overtired driver may even fall asleep at the wheel, and while our StopSafe system has been designed for just such an eventuality, it’s never acceptable to knowingly take the risk!

These are just a few vital reasons why it’s so important for employers and drivers alike to know what their basic obligations are in regard to driver hours. It can be sometimes difficult to work out how to plan a driver’s schedule depending on the type of work they undertake, so we’ve provided a really simple guide below.

The limits on HGV driving hours in the UK

The main EU rules on driving hours are that you must not drive more than:

  • 9 hours in a day – this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week
  • 56 hours in a week
  • 90 hours in any 2 consecutive weeks

You must record all driving you do under EU rules on a tachograph.

The legally mandated breaks an HGV driver must take:

  • 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
  • Your weekly rest after 6 consecutive 24-hour periods of working, starting from the end of the last weekly rest period taken

If you’re driving goods vehicles on an international trip, you can take 2 consecutive reduced weekly rest periods (less than 45 hours) as long as these are taken:

  • Outside the UK
  • Outside your country of residence
  • Over a 4-week period, 2 of the weekly rest periods must still be of at least 45 hours.

Here at Vision Techniques we’re committed to helping you maintain and improve the safety of your fleet. Our wide-ranging stock of vehicle safety technology includes vehicle cameras and our award-winning VT Brakesafe system. If you need any help or advice in learning which ones might be best for your fleet, feel free to give us a call on 01254 679717.


What’s the difference between driving time and working time?

They might sound the same, but they’re not. Driving time is classed as time spent behind the wheel, whereas working time is defined as anything you do in connection with transport operation.

This includes (but is not necessarily limited to):

  • Driving
  • Loading and unloading
  • The monitoring of any loading/unloading activities
  • Driver CPC training or industry-specific job training
  • Cleaning and maintaining vehicle
  • Daily vehicle defect check and report
  • Administrative work
  • Waiting periods where the foreseeable duration isn’t known advance by the driving

Under this system, driving time is a form of working time. The hours for working time aren’t necessarily defined in the same way, and the implications can be complex. There’s an excellent comprehensive guide that goes into even more detail, if you need it.


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