Explainer: Recommended Break and Rest Times for UK LGV Drivers

The rules that are applied to drivers typically depend on the type of car that is being used. In this article, the discussion will focus on the rules that apply for drivers who use vehicles used to ferry goods on the road. This essentially means any transportation of goods on roads that are fully or partially open to the public.

The European Union driver rules usually apply for Large Goods Vehicles or LGVs (Vehicles that weigh over 3.5 tonnes). In almost all instances, drivers with LGVs usually have a tachograph in their vehicles. The EU LGV rules have stipulations on the limits for number of hours and specifically minimum breaks that a driver should take on a daily, weekly and fortnightly basis. The drivers covered in these regulations are also covered by the Working Time Regulations.

According to the 2006 EU rules, a driver is any person who fits the following description and must follow the rules below.

Drives a Motorised Vehicle

This refers to any person who has to be inside a vehicle in order to drive it.

Drives for Any Duration of Time

According to the EU rules, when a person drives for any amount of time however small, they are under the jurisdiction of EU rules. This means that they must comply with regulations pertaining to daily driving, driving limits, daily break and rest regulations as well as weekly rest and break requirements.

Must Take Daily Breaks

After driving a vehicle for 4½ hours, the driver of a vehicle must take a break for 45 minutes without any interruption unless he or she takes a rest period (Explained below). During this break period the driver cannot undertake any activities pertaining to driving.

It is important to note that this means that even if the driver takes a break from driving and does other work in between, when they eventually reach the 4.5 hours threshold they must take the 45 minutes’ uninterrupted break.

However the 45 minutes break can be replaced by shorter breaks in the 4½ hour driving period. This means that a driver can take a 15-minute break that should be followed by another 30-minute break before 4½ hours are over.

This essentially means that you can drive for 2 hours, take a 15-minute break and then drive for another 2½ hours before stopping for a 30 minute break. After driving for 4½ hours and resting, then another countdown for 4½ hours driving time starts and the process is repeated. It is however important to note that professional drivers who are part of the Territorial Army may be subject to exceptions to this rule. These exemptions have not been discussed here.

Allowed Driving Time on a Daily Basis

In the EU, each driver is allowed to drive for a maximum of 9 hours on each day. However, this can go up to 10 hours twice each week. What this means is that each day you can drive for 4½ hours, and take a 45-minute break concurrently.

Keep in mind that the daily driving time refers to the total amount of time that passed between the rest period in one day to the daily rest period the next day. It can also refer to the time that passes between a daily rest period and the next weekly rest period.

Driving Limits for Each Week

In a “fixed” week, each driver should be on the road for 56 hours. A “fixed” week typically starts on Monday midnight and goes on for one exact whole week. 56 hours each week essentially means being on the road for 4 days each week for a maximum of 9 hours each day or being on the road for 2 days for a maximum of 10 hours each day.

Stipulated Rest Period

Within 24 hours, a driver must take a rest period. This rest period must go on uninterrupted. Any time spent working on other ventures does not count as rest time.

Ideally a driver should take a minimum of 11 hours for rest. This is known as a ‘regular’ daily rest time.

A driver can however split this ‘regular’ daily rest period time into two periods. Should one decide to do this, the first rest period should take at least 3 hours of uninterrupted rest which can happen at any time of the day. The second period should be at least 9 hours of rest without any interruptions. This adds up to 12 hours of rest.

More information is available from Easy As HGV.