What are the working time regulations for HGV drivers?

Truck Working time regulations

The working time regulations for HGV drivers in the United Kingdom are set by the European Union. Understanding them is essential for any HGV driver, because they are legally binding for all fleets and sole operators.

We’ll attempt to simplify the regulations below.

Driving hours

  • There’s a 9-hour daily driving limit for HGV drivers.
  • There’s a 56-hour maximum weekly driving limit for HGV drivers
  • There’s a 90-hour fortnightly driving limit for HGV drivers

Driving breaks

  • Drivers must take a 45-minute break every 4.5 hours on the road
  • This is a minimum requirement
  • The break can be split not two period to suit the driver and job

Driver resting periods

  • Drivers must take 11 hours of daily four days a week
  • Drivers can take a reduced 9 hours of rest the remaining three days
  • Drivers must average 45-hours of weekly rest

Working time hours (including driving)

  • Working time cannot exceed 48-hours in one week for an HGV driver
  • There’s a maximum working time of 10-hours if driving at night

Working time breaks

  • Drivers cannot work for more than 6 hours without a break
  • Each break must be at least 15-minutes long
  • A 30-minute break is acceptable if working between 6 and 9 hours
  • A 45-minute break is acceptable if working for more than 9 hours

The basic takeaway from this is the total number of hours you clock up on the road cannot exceed 56 hours within a fixed week. Most drivers average 48 hours a week. You must also take regular breaks, preferably every few hours.

If you are a foreign driver visiting from another country, these rules apply to you too. Being a foreign driver is not a reasonable excuse for ignoring the rules.

As you can see, these regulations are designed to ensure HGV drivers do not become overtired on the road. This is important because tiredness kills. They are relevant to drivers of vehicles with a trailer in excess of 3.5-tonnes (3,500kg). This means anything towing a braked trailer in excess of 3.5-tonnes must comply with these regulations by law. There’s no get out from this, except under exemption.

If you are unsure about any aspect of working time regulations for HGV drivers, we recommend you refer to the official publication. This contains everything you need with simplified guidance about EU drivers’ hours rules and sector specific working time rules.