It’s a critical component of your job as an HGV driver; to know and understand the legislation around the number of hours you can work when in control of a heavy goods vehicle. Whether starting out on a new career in the world of the HGV or an experienced driver, it’s always handy to remind yourself of the rules as they apply to your job. Obviously, for an in depth look at the legislation you can head over to the Driver’s Hours section at the UK Government website. But, as an overview, here’s a guide to the key elements.
Daily Driving Hours
HGV drivers can drive for up to 9 hours in one given day. This, however, can be increased to 10 hours on 2 occasions during a fixed working week.
Weekly Driving Hours
HGV drivers are allowed to drive up to 56 hours in any one given fixed week. These hours can be made up over the course of NO MORE THAN 6 consecutive driving shifts within that fixed week.
Over the course of TWO consecutive weeks you may NOT drive more than 90 hours. This applies to any two week period on a rolling basis. In other words, you do not start a new 2 week cycle every fortnight, rather you always count the hours accumulated the previous week in your calculations for the forthcoming week.
Only Drive up to 4.5
HGV drivers are not permitted to drive more than 4 and a half hours in any one stretch. You MUST take a break of at least forty-five minutes before you are then allowed to return to the wheel, whereupon a new 4 and a half hour period will begin.
Take A Break – It’s the LAW
You must take your mandatory breaks during your working day, in compliance with the 4 and a half hour driving periods mentioned above. However, you CAN split these breaks into two if necessary with the first break being no less than fifteen minutes with the second being thirty minutes. You can’t take your breaks the other way around!
Also, and it sort of goes without saying, that you have to have started your driving shift before any break time can be counted and no break shorter than fifteen minutes is counted as a break.
Standard resting time for an HGV driver is 11 hours over a 24 hour period. Essentially this means that your next rest period should begin no more than 13 hours after the start of your current shift. This standard resting time, however, can be reduced to 9 hours on up to 3 occasions in a fixed week as long as you are still compliant with your weekly and fortnightly driving allowances.
Your rest allowance can be split by taking a long break – not less than 3 hours. This would count as part of your daily rest within the 24 hour period. However, if you do this, you must still factor in a total of 9 hours (or 11 if you have already used your 9 hour allowance that week) rest during that 24 hour period.
Understanding the amount of hours you can drive during the course of your working day, week or fortnight is vital for the compliance and health and safety requirements of all HGV drivers operating in the UK. If you’re unsure about any of the guidelines then look online at the Government site or speak with your employers.