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New EU regulations on drivers' hours

EU drivers’ hours: 56 hour weekly driving time

EU rules governing driver hours only apply to most heavy commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes. They cover journeys within the UK and the EU.

The rules also cover light commercial vehicles with towing trailers. If the maximum gross weights of towing vehicle and trailer exceed 3.5 tonnes, then the rules apply.

The new rules came into force on 11 April 2007.

It is an offence for small business transport owners to contravene these rules. The penalty is a fine up to £2500 per offence.

So what do the rules say?

  • The total daily driving time between rest periods must not exceed nine hours (exception of 10 hours twice a week)
  • Weekly driving time not to exceed 56 hours
  • Accumulated driving time during successive weeks not to exceed 90 hours
  • After a driving period of 4.5 hours there must be a break (lasting at least 45 mins); or
  • A 30 min break and a 15 min break over the 4.5 hours
  • After the 45 min break period the driver can then drive for a further 4.5 hours
  • A driver must take 11 hours