Last reviewed 12 January 2022

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Department for Transport (DfT) have announced a new temporary relaxations of the rules on drivers' hours take effect from 12:01am on 12 January until 11:59pm on 10 February 2022, subject to review.

Detailed guidance on the change, together with an initial notification of relaxation form, can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/temporary-relaxation-of-the-enforcement-of-the-retained-eu-drivers-hours-rules-all-road-haulage-sectors-within-great-britain/temporary-relaxation-of-the-enforcement-of-the-retained-eu-drivers-hours-rules-all-road-haulage-sectors-in-great-britain-until-10-february-2022.

The temporary relaxation of the rules reflects the situation arising from the impacts of Covid-19, including the recent highly infectious Omicron variant.

This is, the DfT has noted, resulting in increased absence rates and outbreaks in specific workforces including in respect of the carriage of goods by road and the supply chains of which they are a part.

Anyone driving in Great Britain under the retained EU drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road can use this relaxation where necessary. The relaxation is not limited to specific sectors or journeys.

However, the temporary relaxation can only be used if proof can be provided that:

  • there is a significant risk of a threat to human and/or animal welfare or a failure of a particular supply chain that will have a serious impact on essential public services;

  • the risk is unlikely to be resolved without using the relaxation; and

  • operators and self-employed drivers have assessed the risks of using the temporary relaxation and implemented suitable control measures and/or mitigations, so that the safety of the driver, other road users and those involved in loading and unloading is not compromised.

Drivers continue to be bound by the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005.

This legally limits the amount of working time (including driving) a driver can do in any given week to a maximum of 60 hours, with an average of 48 hours a week calculated over a rolling 17- to 26-week period.