Changes to EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules

EU rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs have changed, with the new guidelines that came into force on 20th August 2020. The Department for Transport (DfT) announced the changes earlier this month. The rules now include:

A requirement for drivers to ‘return home’ every four weeks

Drivers must return to either their employer’s operational centre or to their own home, for at least one of their regular weekly rest periods within each consecutive four-week period. Operators must also “document how it fulfils that obligation, and keep the documentation at its premises in order to present it at the request of control authorities”.

A ban on taking regular weekly rest periods in the driver’s vehicle

Drivers’ regular weekly rest periods  – or any weekly rest period of more than 45 hours – shouldn’t be taken in the vehicle, but instead in “suitable gender-friendly accommodation with adequate sleeping and sanitary facilities”, with any accommodation costs to be covered by the employer.

A new definition of ‘non-commercial carriage’

A non-commercial carriage is now defined as “any carriage by road, other than carriage for hire or reward or on own account, for which no direct or indirect remuneration is received and which does not directly or indirectly generate any income for the driver of the vehicle or for others, and which is not linked to professional or commercial activity”.

More flexibility on the scheduling of the rest periods for some drivers on international carriage of goods

Within every fortnight (two consecutive weeks), drivers must take either two regular weekly rest periods, or one regular weekly rest period AND one ‘reduced’ (a minimum of 24 hours) weekly rest period. Those rest periods must be at least six days apart.

When drivers are outside of their home country, they may take two consecutive reduced breaks, as long as they take at least four weekly breaks within any consecutive four-week period, with at least two of those being regular weekly rest periods.

Additionally, reduced weekly rest periods must be compensated for within three weeks, by adding an equivalent amount of rest immediately before the next regular rest period.

New provisions for rests and breaks for drivers when journeys involve transport by ferry or by rail

Sometimes drivers’ weekly rest periods are taken when their vehicle is being transported by ferry or train. In those cases, there should be no more than two brief interruptions to the rest period (not exceeding an hour total). In these cases, the driver must also have access to a sleeper cabin, bunk or couchette.

Regular weekly rest periods can only apply to ferry or train journeys over eight hours total, and where the driver has access to a sleeper cabin.

A new requirement to keep a full record of all other work

Drivers must now keep a record of ‘other’ work completed, besides regular driving: “This record shall be entered either manually on a record sheet or printout or by use of manual input facilities on recording equipment”.

Stream Check helps you to maintain compliance with drivers’ hours rules by making it easy to keep secure, cloud-based records.

Stream also integrates with Teletrac Navman for tachograph and driver tracking.