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HGV driving hours: the explanation

Feb 18, 2020 2:20:02 PM

Driving hoursTo protect drivers, and the public from truck drivers that might be driving too long, the HGV driving hours' legislation was brought into place. This process of monitoring driving hours started with paper disks and evolved to the current downloadable digital tachographs and driving cards. Not only has the technology evolved but also the regulations have become even more strict over the past few years.


The regulations of HGV driving hours 

The EU regulation 561/2006 states that driving times and rest periods shall apply to drivers of vehicles with a gross commercial vehicle weight more than 3,5 tonnes. Accordingly, these vehicles must be equipped with a control device which records all relevant parameters such as driving and resting times, speed or technical data and do this without gaps in the data.

Driving times:

Driving time regulations are in place to prevent not endanger people joining the public traffic, while truck drivers from driving whilst tired. Also, these regulations will protect drivers from working excessive hours. 

  • Daily hours: 
    • General rule: maximum of 9 hours driving in 24 hours 
    • Exception: twice a week you are allowed to drive 10 hours
    • Note: telematics systems can show the back-office how long the driver has driven and his or her available time - not only for the law but also for the back-office to be able to divide orders between the drivers. This enables them to optimise the efficiency of their planning. 
  • Weekly hours: 
    • General rule: maximum of 56 hours driving each week 
    • Exception: in two weeks you can not drive more than 90 hours

Rest periods:

  • During the day: 
    • General rule: after 4.5 hours of driving the driver needs to rest for 45 minutes
    • Exception: this can be split into 15 minutes of resting during the 4.5 hours of driving and 30 minutes of resting afterwards  
  • During the night:
    • General rule: 11 hours of rest
    • Exception: can be shortened to 9 hours three times each week if the driver has had a 3-hour break during the day
  • During the weekend: 
    • General rule: 45 hours rest each weekend
    • Exception: can be shortened to 24 hours in the second week after regular 45 hours weekend rest BUT the remaining 21 hours need to be compensated in the third week

What happens if you do not comply with the legislation? 

You are now aware of the driving hours regulations, but what happens if you do not comply with them? We will use Germany as an example:

  • Fines drivers: starts with €30 if they have been driving too long or did not rest enough. This can go up to €500 when they rest in their truck or a similar location. They are obliged to rest at a place outside their work environment. 
  • Fines companies: €90 for each hour the driver did not rest - this means that it would cost €270 for a 3-hour rest violation. This can go up to €1500 if they do not comply with the weekend rest regulations. 

Driving hours are not the only regulations you need to take into account, there are also general rules for the daily duty of drivers. They mention the maximum driving, working and availability hours for a specific time period.

How can a fleet management system help you to be compliant? 

As mentioned before, a fleet management system allows your back-office to check if drivers are compliant with the driver hours legislation. This is only one of the many features that advanced fleet management systems have. Are you curious about all the other features that would make your life easier? Download our fleet management checklist and see which functions a modern fleet management system should have. Download it hereFleet Management Checklist

Ulrich Prüfer
Written by Ulrich Prüfer

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