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Working Time Legislation For Professional Drivers

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 19 Nov 2013 | comments*Discuss
Working Time Directive Legislation

There are limits and restrictions on the amount of hours a driver can spend behind the wheel of a van, lorry or car in the course of their employment. These limits and restrictions were introduced in order to reduce the number of accidents on the roads.

This legislation is referred to as the 'Working Time Directive' and applies to other workers, but has specific criteria for drivers who do so in the course of their job.

What is the Working Time Directive?

The Working Time Regulations 1998 were introduced to reduce the amount of hours any one individual worked. For a long time prior to that many individuals in many different jobs worked more than forty-eight hours a week and in some instances received no extra pay for doing so.

The Forty-Eight Hour Week

Rules now ensure that for the majority of workers their working week will last no more than forty-eight hours per week unless they have signed an opt out clause.

Rules for Professional Drivers

If you are a professional driver and spend most of your working week behind the wheel of a van, lorry or taxi for example then there are certain rules which apply to you and that you must adhere to during the carrying out of your job.

The rules for drivers are complex and vary depending on the type of vehicle and general length of journey you do.

As a general rule:
  • After driving for 4.5 hours a driver must take a break of at least 45 minutes
  • Shorter breaks can be made between short periods of driving
  • The maximum daily driving time is 9 hours

This a very simple view of the rules and more detailed information can be found at the Department for Transport.

The laws are in place to protect not only the individual behind the wheel but also anyone passengers and anyone else they may come into contact with on the road.

Digital Tachographed Vehicles

For any job which requires the driving of a vehicle equipped with a digital tachograph reader, the driver must be equipped with a driver's card. This smart card is inserted into the tachograph to allow it to take accurate readings of the number of miles and hours you have driven.

Drivers who do not have a driver's card can still drive the vehicle in question but the tachograph reader will record the fact it has been driven without a driver's card. This is done so that Department of Transport inspectors may carry out checks on the amount of time drivers - both full time and agency based - spend behind the wheel of a company vehicle.

It is now a criminal offence to drive beyond the legally permitted number of hours without having the correct rest and both you and your employer could be subject to heavy penalties if you are found to have flouted the rules.

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I am a company car driver. We have trackers on the cars and can initiate them between business and private mode.We received an email stating that all business drivers must now not drive for more than two hours without a break. On the spread sheet that was sent out it showed private travel as only ignition on then off and showed total ignition time as journey travel.Are companies allowed to track private mileage especially when we are paying private mileage along with company car tax for the purpose of being able to use it for our own needs?
PeteG - 19-Nov-13 @ 9:24 PM
Can you help me with the details of the amount of time someone can drive in a tour guide capacity. It is short 15 min tour that they will perform every 30 to 40 mins. from approx 9.30 till 5 with a 30 min lunch in the middle of the day. They would not be driving faster then 8 miles an hour round the facility but will have to give a talk at the same time as driving. Would this count as extra stress? The area would also get busy with padestrians at certain times of year as well, again would this count as added stress to the driver and require a secon perosn in the cab to do talk on busy days? Thank you
Tone - 6-Mar-13 @ 1:50 PM
Tudi jaz delam vec kot 10 ur na dan. Star sem 58 let in imam status starejšega delavca. Placajo mi samo 8 delovnih ur na dan. Imam povišan slatkor, holesterol.krvni tlak kronicni pankreatitis... Direktor pravi da glede na to da nisem doktor sem primeren edino za voznika. Nimam denarja za odvetnika, nudim pa lahko kompenzacijo iz naslova odškodnine ki bi jo morda dobil za par let nazaj.Mislim da bi se nabral za zadnja tri leta najmanj TISOCPETSTO ur.
jelzor - 28-Jul-12 @ 9:00 AM
The Citizens Advice Bureau and ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, offer free and impartial advice about employment issues such as this.
YourDrivingLicence - 15-Mar-11 @ 10:40 AM
I am working for a company driving a van for up to fifteen hours a day sometimes more, as there is no tachograph in the vehicle I have to cover large areas of the country which dosen't allow me to have a break . I know I'm being exploited by my employer but although I have complained they wont take any notice and know I'm afraid of losing my job. Are they breaking any laws and if so where can I get help stop this exploitation.
Anthony Gilmore - 13-Mar-11 @ 7:51 PM
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