Last reviewed 21 January 2021

In response to the exceptional pressures on the freight industry due to the continued consequences of the pandemic, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have announced new measures coming into force as a matter of urgency.

With details available at GOV.UK, they have introduced a temporary relaxation of the enforcement of the retained EU drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales for the general haulage of goods in Great Britain.

This will apply from 12:01am on 22 January 2021 to 23:59pm on 31 March 2021, subject to review.

The above link also gives access to a Notification form to the Department for Transport to inform it that relaxations will be used together with a Follow-up form to be sent to the Department no later than one week after the end of the relaxations.

This relaxation does not apply to drivers in scope of the GB drivers’ hours rules and so not subject to tachograph controls.

Details of the relaxation

The EU drivers’ hours rules can be temporarily relaxed as follows:

  • increasing the fortnightly driving limit from 90 hours to 96 hours;

  • replacement of the requirement to take a full weekly rest period of 45 hours in a two-week period, with an alternative pattern of weekly rest periods specified below – this enables two consecutive reduced weekly rest periods to be taken:

    • that in a four-week period, a driver can take two consecutive reduced weekly-rest periods of at least 24 hours (allowing them to work two six-day weeks)

    • however, any reduction in weekly rest shall be compensated for in the normal way by an equivalent period of rest taken before the end of the third week following the week in question

    • in addition, any rest taken as compensation for a reduced weekly rest period shall be attached to a regular weekly rest period of at least 45 hours (which can be split over two regular weekly rest periods).

The relaxations are not limited to specific sectors or journeys. However, drivers engaged in international road transport or transport between Great Britain and Northern Ireland should not use this relaxation.

A separate notice of relaxation is available to these drivers. Covering the same period, it can be found at GOV.UK.