Driver Rest & Break Periods (Daily & Weekly)
Daily Rest Periods
A driver must take a daily rest period within each period of 24 hours after the end of the previous daily or weekly rest period. An 11 hour (or more) daily rest is called a regular daily rest period.
Rest is an uninterrupted period where a driver may freely dispose of his/her time.
Time spent working in other employment or under obligation or instruction, regardless of the occupation type, cannot be counted as rest. This includes work where you are self-employed, work related to community service, non-emergency retained firefighting, or training related to obtaining/retaining a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) where the training is at the request or instigation of an employer. Driver CPC training can only be undertaken during rest periods where the driver is attending voluntarily and not at the request of the employer.
The EU rules do not define an ‘emergency’ but DVSA consider this would certainly include any of the situations that would be considered an emergency for the purposes of the GB domestic drivers’ hours’ legislation, namely:
- Danger to the life or health of people or animals
- Serious interruption of essential public services such a;s gas, water, electricity or drainage, telecommunication and postal services, or in the use of roads, railways, ports or airports
- Serious damage to property
Vehicles used in connection with emergency or rescue operations would be exempt from the EU rules for the duration of the emergency. However, drivers who have interrupted a rest period to attend an emergency would be required to commence/complete a qualifying rest period before recommencing work.
Alternatively, a driver can split a regular daily rest period into two periods. The first period must be at least 3 hours of uninterrupted rest and can be taken at any time during the day. The second must be at least 9 hours of uninterrupted rest, giving a total minimum rest of 12 hours. For example:
A driver may reduce their daily rest period to no less than 9 continuous hours, but this can be done no more than three times between any two weekly rest periods; no compensation for the reduction is required. A daily rest that is less than 11 hours but at least 9 hours long is called a reduced daily rest period.
When a daily rest is taken, this may be taken in a vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.
Suitable Sleeping Facilities
DVSA consider suitable sleeping facilities to be bunk or another type of bed that is primarily designed for sleeping on. Sleeping on or across seats does not meet the requirement of suitable facilities. If a vehicle has no suitable sleeping facilities then other arrangements, for example, a guest house or hotel accommodation should be used.
To summarise, a driver who begins work at 06.00 on day 1 must, by 06.00 on day 2 at the latest, have completed either:
- A regular daily rest period of at least 11 hours or
- A split regular daily rest period of at least 12 hours or
- If entitled a reduced daily rest period of at least 9 hours
Regular Daily Rest
A continuous period of at least 11 hours rest.
A Split Daily Rest Period
Regular rest is taken in two separate periods – the first at least 3 hours, and the second at least 9 hours.
The Reduced Daily Rest Period
A continuous rest period of at least 9 hours but less than 11 hours.
‘Multi-manning’ is the situation where, during each period of driving between any two consecutive daily rest periods, or between a daily rest period and a weekly rest period, there are at least two drivers in the vehicle to do the driving. For the first hour of multi-manning, the presence of another driver or drivers is optional, but for the remainder of the period, it is compulsory. This allows for a vehicle to depart from its operating centre and collect a second driver along the way, providing that this is done within 1 hour of the first driver starting work.
Where the above conditions are complied with then the multi-manning concession may be used i.e. each driver must have a daily rest period of at least 9 consecutive hours but they may do so within the 30-hour period that starts at the end of the last daily or weekly rest period, rather than the normal 24 hour period.
If however the conditions cannot be complied with, then drivers sharing duties on a journey will individually be governed by single manning rules and will not be able to use the concession which allows daily rest to be taken in a 30 hour period.
Organising drivers’ duties in such a fashion enable a crew’s duties to be spread over 21 hours. However, where a driver utilises the multi-manning daily rest concession (9 hours rest in a 30 hour period) that rest period cannot be counted as a regular daily rest as it is of less than 11 hours duration. These rest periods, therefore, count towards the limit of 3 reduced rest periods between any 2 consecutive weekly rest periods.
Drivers engaged in multi-manning can however if they choose, take either:
- A split daily rest within the 30 hour period so long as it is taken as the first period being at least 3 hours and the second period being at least 9 hours
- A rest period of at least 11 hours in the 30 hour period
Both of these options are regular daily rest periods and so would not count towards the limit of three reduced daily rest periods between weekly rest periods.
This is an example of how the duties of a two-man crew could be organised to take maximum advantage of multi-manning daily rest concession:
The maximum driving time for a two-man crew taking advantage of this concession is 20 hours before a daily rest is required (although only if both drivers are entitled to drive 10 hours).
Under multi-manning, the ‘second’ driver in a crew may not necessarily be the same driver for the duration of the first driver’s shift but could in principle be any number of drivers as long as the conditions are met. Whether these second drivers could claim the multi-manning concession in these circumstances would depend on their other duties.
On a multi-manning operation, 45 minutes of a period of availability will be considered to be a break, so long as the co-driver does no work.
Other than the daily rest concession detailed above drivers engaged in multi-manning are governed by the same rules that apply to single-manned vehicles.
Journeys involving ferry or train transport
Where a driver accompanies a vehicle that is being transported by ferry or train, the daily rest requirements are more flexible.
A regular daily rest period, which is one of 11 hours duration or 12 hours if split, may be interrupted no more than twice, but the total interruption must not exceed 1 hour in total. This allows for a vehicle to be driven on to a ferry and off again at the end of the crossing. Where the rest period is interrupted in this way, the total accumulated rest period must still be at least 11 hours or 12 hours if split. A bunk or couchette must be available during the rest period.
Drivers who are engaged in multi-manning can also interrupt a rest period however they may only do so where the rest period in the 30-hour spread over is a regular daily rest of at least 11 hours or 12 hours if it is a split daily rest.
Any rest that is interrupted must be completed within the 24 hour period (if single manned) or within the 30 hours period (if multi-manned). The 24 or 30 hour period commences at the point of starting duty following the end of a daily or weekly rest period.
For example, a qualifying regular daily rest period could be interrupted in the following manner:
For example, a split daily rest could be interrupted in the following manner:
It is also permitted to have one of the interruption periods falling in the 3 hour part of the split rest period and one interruption period falling in the 9 hour part of the split rest period or for both parts of the interruption period to fall within the 3 hour part of the split daily rest.
Being on call during a daily rest period
Drivers who are on call during any period of legally required rest must at all times be able to dispose of the rest time as they choose. This means that an employer cannot impose any limitations on drivers during such periods, for example requiring them to remain in or close to home or at another location. Drivers must be able to dispose of their free time as they choose but this does not include undertaking any work where they are under the control of or are fulfilling an obligation to an employer. Being on call may only extend as far as a driver agreeing to answer a call during a rest period but only if the driver so chooses. On receiving a call to return to work drivers may only do so if they have completed the legally required amount of rest or if the work is deemed to be an emergency See Emergencies above on page 1?
Weekly Rest Periods
A driver must start a weekly rest period no later than at the end of six consecutive 24-hour periods from the end of the last weekly rest period.
A regular weekly rest period is a period of at least 45 consecutive hours.
A Weekly Rest Period
A weekly rest period is a weekly period during which drivers may freely dispose of their time. It may be either a ‘regular weekly rest period’ or a ‘reduced weekly rest period’.
Time spent working in other employment or under obligation or instruction, regardless of the occupation type, cannot be counted as rest. This includes work where you are self-employed, work related to community service, non-emergency* retained firefighting, or training related to obtaining/retaining Driver CPC where the training is at the request or instigation of an employer. Driver CPC training can only be undertaken during rest periods where the driver is attending voluntarily.
An actual working week starts at the end of a weekly rest period and finishes when another weekly rest period is commenced, which may mean that weekly rest is taken in the middle of a fixed (Monday–Sunday) week. This is perfectly acceptable – the working week is not required to be aligned with the ‘fixed’ week defined in the rules, provided all the relevant limits are complied with.
Alternatively, a driver can take a reduced weekly rest period of a minimum of 24 consecutive hours. If a reduction is taken, it must be compensated for by an equivalent period of rest taken in one block before the end of the third week following the week in question. The compensating rest must be attached to a period of rest of at least 9 hours so in effect either a weekly or a daily rest period.
For example, where a driver reduces a weekly rest period to 33 hours in week 1, they must compensate for this by attaching a 12-hour period of rest to another rest period of at least 9 hours before the end of week 4. This compensation cannot be taken in several smaller periods, see the example below.
A Regular Weekly Rest Period
Regular weekly rest is a period of rest of at least 45 hours’ duration.
A Reduced Weekly Rest Period
A reduced weekly rest is a rest period of at least 24 but less than 45 hours duration.
In any two consecutive ‘fixed’ weeks a driver must take at least:
- 2 regular weekly rests or
- One regular weekly rest and one reduced weekly rest
Other weekly rests of any type may be taken in any 2 consecutive ‘fixed weeks’ in addition to this minimum requirement.
The following tables are examples of how a driver’s duties might be organised in compliance with the rules on weekly rest, which allow two reduced weekly rest periods to be taken consecutively. This complies with the rules because at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest period have been taken in two consecutive ‘fixed’ weeks.
The following table is an example of how the driver’s duties might be organised in compliance with the rules on weekly rest, whereby one reduced weekly rest period may be taken in any period of two consecutive weeks under ‘normal’ circumstances.
A weekly rest period that falls in 2 weeks may be counted in either week but not in both. However, where such a rest period is of at least 69 hours in total and starts in one fixed week and ends in the next fixed week, it may be counted as 2 back-to-back weekly rests (eg a 45-hour weekly rest followed by 24 hours), provided that no more than 144 hours (6 x 24 hours) has elapsed since the end of the previous weekly rest period and the start of the following weekly rest period.
Where reduced weekly rest periods are taken away from the base, these may be taken in a vehicle, provided that it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.
Suitable sleeping facilities are considered to be bunk or another type of bed that is primarily designed for sleeping on. Sleeping on or across seats does not meet the requirement of suitable facilities. If a vehicle has no suitable sleeping facilities then other arrangements, for example, a guest house or hotel accommodation should be used.
Operators who utilise a cyclical shift pattern should take care that their shift patterns allow for compliance with the rolling two-weekly requirements for weekly rest and compensation.
Being On Call during a Weekly Rest Period
Drivers who are on call during any period of legally required rest must at all times be able to dispose of the rest time as they choose. This means that an employer cannot impose any limitations on drivers during such periods, for example requiring them to remain in or close to home or at another location. Drivers must be able to dispose of their free time as they choose but this does not include undertaking any work where they are under the control of or are fulfilling an obligation to an employer. Being on call may only extend as far as a driver agreeing to answer a call during a rest period but only if the driver so chooses. On receiving a call to return to work drivers may only do so if they have completed the legally required amount of rest or if the work is deemed to be an emergency? See Emergencies above.