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A Complete Guide to Drivers’ Hours Legislation

9 May 2023

Scheduling, tachographs, and when to take rest days and regular breaks are things that commercial drivers have to think about every day. But there is a lot of confusion regarding the most recent, up-to-date legislation regarding Drivers’ Hours. That’s understandable considering the recent changes in penalties, not to mention the extra considerations for drivers completing trips in the EU.

With all this to keep up with, it’s no wonder that Drivers’ Hours and Tachograph Rules continues to be our most popular Driver CPC training module!

Below, we list all of the current UK and EU rules concerning drivers’ hours and rest requirements.

UK Drivers’ Hours Requirements

Hours of Driving

  • The daily driving limit is 9 hours per day, which can be increased to 10 hours twice in any week.
  • The weekly driving limit is 56 hours and 90 hours in any two weeks.

Drivers must record all the driving they do (along with other work) on a tachograph.


  • Weekly rest — 45 hours can be reduced to 24 hours whether at the base or away from the base, compensation is required if this reduction is applied. Drivers are not allowed to take their rest periods in their cabs.
  • Daily rest — 11 hours can be reduced 3 times per week to a minimum of 9 hours. Compensation is not required.
  • Daily rest can be split into two periods, a first-period minimum of 3 hours and a second-period minimum of 9 hours (i.e. the minimum total period is 12 hours).


  • A 45-minute break after a maximum of 4.5 hours driving may be replaced by two breaks — a minimum 15-minute break followed by a minimum 30-minute break.

Fines for Drivers who don’t take adequate rest breaks

Lorry, bus and coach drivers who break the rules will be fined for every breach in the previous 28 days.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can fine drivers up to £300 if they are caught breaking the rules. They can also be prosecuted or have their vehicle immobilised.

In a single roadside check, DVSA traffic examiners can issue fines for up to 5 drivers’ hours offences. It means you could be fined up to £1,500 if you’ve consistently broken the rules.

As well as these recent offences the DVSA can also started to issue fines to those drivers who don’t take adequate rest breaks. All lorry, bus and coach drivers must take a 45-hour rest break every 2 weeks. These fines have been in place since 01st November 2017 and can be as much as £300 if they spend their full weekly rest break in their vehicle unless they are parked at a formal rest area such as a truck stop.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) driving while tired may be responsible for

  • 1 in 5 of all accidents which occur
  • up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes

Extra Requirements for Driving in the EU

Drivers in the UK still need to adhere to EU Driver’s Hours Requirements, even though the UK has left the EU, unless the vehicle you are driving falls under the exemptions to EU driver’s hours regulations. However, most of the driver’s hours regulations are still the same across the UK and the EU.

There are a few differences and extra rules that you need to follow if you are planning to drive from or through an EU country.

  • If you’re driving goods vehicles on a trip abroad, you can take two consecutive weekly rest periods that are less than 45 hours – as long as these are taken outside your home country.
  • If your trip lasts up to four weeks, you must take your full 45-hour rest for the other two weeks, and return home every 4 weeks you spend working abroad.

When driving in the EU, you must also keep a full record of all other work that you undertake which does not adhere to the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulations – in other countries for example.

Looking for more guidance on drivers’ hours? Our Driver CPC module on Drivers’ Hours and Road Transport might be the perfect knowledge booster that you need.

According to our Driver Risk Management Director, John Keelan-Edwards, “Our most popular course without question is Drivers Hours & Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations. We hope that delegates leave with updated knowledge and a better understanding of the rules and regulations, and they go on to be safer drivers as a result.”

If you are interested in our Drivers’ Hours course or any of the other modules offered by Driver Hire Training, call our team today on 0808 178 9977, or contact us for more information.