The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that there will be a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales. The drivers’ hours and working time rules are in place to protect road safety and the working conditions of drivers and to reduce the risk of drivers being involved in fatigue-related accidents.
The temporary relaxation of these rules reflects the exceptional circumstances arising from the COVID-19 outbreak and will apply to drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of the following:
- Non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning)
- Over the counter pharmaceuticals
The temporary relaxation will apply from Wednesday, 18 March 2020 until Thursday, 16 April 2020 and will apply only to the drivers undertaking the following journeys:
- Distribution centre to stores
- 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
- Transport hub deliveries to stores
This exemption does not apply to drivers undertaking deliveries directly to consumers.
The following drivers’ hours rules have been temporarily relaxed as follows:
- EU daily driving limit from 9 hours to 11 hours
- Daily rest requirements reduced from 11 to 9 hours
- Weekly (56 hours) lifted to 60 hours
- Fortnightly driving limits (90 hours) lifted to 96 hours
- Daily breaks of 45 minutes after 4.5 hours driving replaced with a break of 45 minutes after 5.5 hours of driving
- Postponement of the requirement to start a weekly rest period after six 24-hour periods to seven 24 hour periods (although 2 regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight)
The implementation of this temporary relaxation is to be made in agreement between employers and employees and / or driver representatives. Drivers must record on their tachograph charts / printouts any reasons why they have exceeded the normal permitted limits.
These temporary changes have been introduced as an exceptional contingency measure in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and must only be used where necessary, otherwise, normal drivers’ hours should be followed.