Driving Limits & Breaks from Driving
Firstly, remember that unlike the previous Regulations, if your journey is partly off road eg, driving in a
quarry, then this time will be counted as well as your on road driving.
Under these Regulations you can drive for a maximum of 41/2 hours, and then you must take a break of
not less than 45 minutes, unless you begin a rest period. During the break you must not drive or do any
other work. After the break you can continue driving.
You can split the break and distribute it throughout the driving period. If you do this, the first portion of the
break must be at least 15 minutes and the second at least 30 minutes. The breaks must be taken so that
you never exceed the 41/2 hour driving limit. The illustration shows how this may be done;
During the 'daily driving period,' you can normally drive for 9 hours. Twice in the fixed week (00:00
Monday to 24:00 Sunday) the daily driving period may be extended to a maximum of 10 hours;
NEW REQUIREMENT: In a fixed week the total driving may not exceed 56 hours;
During any two consecutive weeks the driving limit is 90 hours;
Within 24 hours of ending a daily or weekly rest period, a driver must have taken a new daily rest period.
At first reading this sounds complicated, but consider the example below, where a driver ends their
weekly rest period at 06:00am on Monday morning. To comply with the regulation, the driver must have
taken a new daily rest period by 06:00 am Tuesday;
There is no requirement to take 'compensated rest' under these regulations for reduced daily rest
periods. Between any two weekly rest periods a driver may have, at most, 3 reduced daily rest periods.
Daily rest may be split into two parts and distributed throughout the working day; the first period must be
at least 3 hours and the second at least 9 hours;
Journeys involving two or more drivers
When a vehicle has two or more drivers, they must each obey the limits regarding continuous driving, breaks
and total daily driving.
Their daily rest requirements are different from a vehicle with a single driver. In the 30 hour period
starting with the end of the last daily (or weekly rest) they will have a new rest period of at least 9 hours;
During the first hour of a double manned journey, it is not necessary for both drivers to be on the vehicle.
However, both drivers must be present for the remainder of the journey. This would allow a vehicle to depart
from the operating centre and collect the second driver on route, provided this was accomplished within one
hour of the first driver starting work.
Journeys involving vehicle transport by ferry or train
Where the vehicle is transported by ferry or train, the rest requirements can be varied;
• A regular daily rest period may be interrupted no more than twice; this would allow a vehicle to drive
onto a ferry and off at the end of the sea crossing (depending upon the length of the crossing).
• The total interruption of the rest period must be no more than 1 hour.
• A bunk or couchette must be available during the rest period;
Either a regular or a reduced daily rest period may be extended to become a weekly rest period.
Weekly rest periods must begin no later than the end of the sixth 24 hour period from the end of the
previous weekly rest. Again this sentence looks complicated, in reality, the application is straightforward;
in the example below, the weekly rest period ends at 08:00am Monday morning, therefore the next weekly
rest period must begin no later than 08:00am Sunday.
Weekly rest periods are either;
Weekly rest can begin in one week and end in the next and can be attached to either week;
In any two weeks a driver must take either;
• Two regular weekly rest periods, or
• One regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest
If a reduced weekly rest period is taken, an equivalent amount of rest to the reduction must be 'paid back.'
This compensated rest must be taken en bloc, attached to a rest period of at least 9 hours and must be
completed before the end of the third week following the week the reduction occurred in;
Daily rest periods and reduced weekly rest periods may be taken in a vehicle away from base, if the driver
chooses. The vehicle must be fitted with suitable sleeping facilities for each driver and must be stationary.
Regulation 561/2006 comes into force on 11 April 2007 and applies to all journeys made in whole or in
part on roads open to the Public, by the following vehicles;
• goods carrying vehicles where the maximum permitted mass (including any trailer or semi-trailer
drawn) exceeds 3.5 tonnes.
• passenger carrying vehicles which are constructed or permanently adapted to carry more than
nine persons, including the driver.
The rules apply equally whether the vehicle is laden or not. Drivers of these classes of vehicle are
subject to these rules whilst on journeys within the European Community or between Member States and
Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Drivers on journeys between signatories of the AETR agreement will continue to follow the rules in that
agreement. It is envisaged that the AETR and 'new' EC rules will be aligned in the future.
Drivers of vehicles the subject of a national derogation should
Exemption and National Derogations
Many of the exemptions from these Regulations are broadly similar to those in the previous legislation.
However, there are some important changes, we have listed them here;
• PSV drivers on non regular National and International carriage of passengers (tours) used to be
able to delay their weekly rest until 12 daily driving periods had been completed, or at the end of
the 12th day. This is no longer the case. Both PSV and HGV drivers must start their weekly rest
period no later than the end of the sixth 24 hour period from when their previous weekly rest
• The drivers of specialised breakdown vehicles were previously exempt from EC drivers hours
rules. From 11 April 2007, the exemption will only apply when they remain within a radius of
100km of the vehicles' usual base.
• Presently vehicles used for the carriage of passengers on regular services, where the route was
over 50km in length, did not have to have a tachograph fitted if; the driver carried a copy of the
service timetable and an extract from the duty roster covering the current, previous and following
weeks. This exemption has been revoked, vehicles used in this operation are required to be fitted
• Minibuses with between 10 and 17 passenger seats are presently exempt EC drivers hours when
on UK journeys. After 11 April 2007, these vehicles will only be exempt if they are used
exclusively for the non commercial transport of passengers.
• The private use of vehicles is presently exempt from EC drivers hours rules. On 11 April 2007,
this exemption will only apply when the permitted mass of the vehicle (and any trailer drawn) does
not exceed 7500kg.
• At present drivers of PSV's engaged on regular services to designated locations, for example;
London Victoria Coach Station, Leicester St Margaret's, and Nottingham Broadmarsh may take a
break of 30 minutes after four hour driving. This derogation will be removed after 11 April 2007.
The drivers of these services will have to follow the break rules described opposite.
To check if the intended use of your vehicle is exempt from EC drivers hours please contact the Enquiry
Unit, or check the website.
This poster has been designed to give an overview of the regulations coming into force on 11 April 2007.
It is not to be taken as a definitive statement of the law or as legal advice. If you have specific enquiries
regarding the legislation and its application you should consult an appropriately qualified legal advisor.