Temporary relaxing of drivers' hours rules extended
Published: 27 Apr 2020

The Department for Transport has announced an extension of the temporary relaxation of the drivers' hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales until 31 May 2020.

A review into the relaxation of these rules was undertaken on 21 April, and a decision was made to extend them. The temporary relaxation will be subject to further review, extended or ended earlier, depending on the circumstances. 

The relaxation on drivers' hours rules were brought in on 23 March to help deliver vital goods to the stores across the UK, while understanding that driver welfare must not be compromised during the COVID-19 outbreak. It sought to help with the unprecedented demand for food, personal care, cleaning products and pharmaceuticals brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone driving under the EU drivers’ hours rules, set out in Regulation (EC) 561/2006 on the harmonisation of certain social legislation relating to road transport, or the GB drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road can use the relevant relaxations where necessary.

These temporary relaxations should only be used where absolutely necessary, otherwise normal drivers’ hours rules should apply. Operators should, wherever possible, attempt to recruit additional drivers from other sectors who are out of work or facing being furloughed.

The EU drivers' hours rules are temporarily relaxed as follows:

  • replacement of the EU daily driving limit of nine hours with one of 11 hours;
  • reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 hours to 9 hours;
  • lifting weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limits (90 hours) to 60 and 96 hours respectively;
  • postponement of the requirement to start weekly rest period after six-24 hours periods, for after seven 24 hour periods; although two regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight.

The GB drivers' hours rules are temporarily relaxed as follows:

  • replacement of the GB duty time limit of 11 hours with 12 hours;
  • replacement of the GB daily driving time limit of 10 hours with one of 11 hours.

Drivers can only take advantage of this temporary relaxation for five days in any seven day period, and must take a rest period of 24 hours within the same seven day period when taking advantage of this relaxation.

For more information on this subject, see: