We reported recently on plans for a temporary relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules for a 30 day period (see Drivers and the coronavirus).
The Department for Transport (DfT) and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have now given more details, stressing that the change applies in England, Scotland and Wales to drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning) and over the counter pharmaceuticals.
To qualify, they must be involved in the following journeys:
From distribution centre to stores (or fulfilment centre);
From manufacturer or supplier to distribution centre (including backhaul collections);
From manufacturer or supplier to store (or fulfilment centre);
Between distribution centres and transport hub trunking; and
From transport hubs to stores.
Changes to the rules
Replacement of the EU daily driving limit of nine hours with one of 11 hours;
Reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to nine hours;
Lifting the weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limits (90 hours) to 60 and 96 hours respectively;
Postponement of the requirement to start a weekly rest period after six-24 hours periods, to after seven 24 hours period; although two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight; and
The requirements for daily breaks of 45 minutes after 4.5 hours driving replaced with replaced with a break of 45 minutes after 5.5 hours of driving.
It is important to note that, to get adequate rest, drivers must not use the first and fourth of the above relaxations at the same time.
As is the usual practice in emergencies, the drivers in question must note on the back of their tachograph charts or printouts the reasons why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits.
All enquiries regarding interpretation of these temporary arrangements should, in the first instance, be made to the DfT’s Freight Operator Licensing & Roadworthiness Division via the switchboard on 0300 330 3000 (during office hours) or to the DfT Duty Office on 0207 944 5999 (out of office hours).
Last reviewed 19 March 2020