PSV Exemptions and Derogations

On 11th April 2007, the Regulations governing drivers hours changed, and Council Regulation (EC) No 3820/85 was replaced by Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. The EU regulations not only place responsibility on vehicle operators but equally upon others in the passenger transport industry such as tour organisers, contractors, sub-contractors and driver agencies.

Rules on Drivers Hours & Tachographs

Those who are involved in international operations are advised to check whether the other country or countries in which they operate produce equivalent guidance. We recommend that you contact the relevant embassy.

As with any legislation, previous and future court judgments may assist interpretation on a particular point. Where significant court judgments on interpretation are relevant, these have been incorporated in the text. Some important judgments are available - many in shortened form - in legal reference books held by larger reference libraries. If you are in doubt as to how these rules apply to you, seek your own legal advice.

Much of what follows in this section has been taken directly from the VOSA publication PSV 375 (Rules on Drivers' Hours and Tachographs passenger-carrying vehicles in the UK and Europe) (Revised 2011). This publication is in our view mandatory reading for any driver or manager of drivers of passenger carrying vehicles.

Exemptions and Derogations

The following table contains a list extracted from the full list of exemptions in the EU rules and refers to those exemptions that might apply to passenger-carrying vehicles regardless of where they are driven within the EU (see also Unforeseen Events).

Note: In some cases, it may be necessary to refer to case law for definitive interpretations.

Exemptions Notes
Vehicles used for the carriage of passengers on regular services with a route that does not exceed 50 km. This is the length of the route along which the vehicle travels, it does not include backtracking along the same route, or distance spent going to and from the depot from the start or end of the route.
The vehicle's not capable of exceeding 40 km/h. Includes vehicles incapable of exceeding 40 km/h by virtue of a set speed limiter.
Vehicles owned or hired without a driver by the Armed Services, civil defence services, fire services and forces responsible for maintaining public order when the carriage is undertaken as a consequence of the tasks assigned to these services and is under their control.  
Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, and new or rebuilt vehicles that have not yet been put into service. This would not apply to vehicles normally falling in the scope of EU rules, on journeys to testing stations for the purposes of an annual test.
Vehicles, including vehicles used in the non-commercial transport of humanitarian aid, used in emergencies or rescue operations. The EU rules do not define an 'emergency' but we consider this would certainly include any of the situations that would be considered an emergency for the purposes of the UK domestic drivers' hours legislation, namely:
  • danger to the life or health of people or animals;
  • serious interruption of essential public services (gas, water, electricity or drainage), of telecommunication and postal services, or in the use of roads, railways, ports or airports; or
  • 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.
Specialised vehicles used for medical purposes.  
Commercial vehicles have a historic status according to the legislation of the member state in which they are driven and are used for the non-commercial carriage of passengers or goods. In the UK, a vehicle is considered to be historic if it was manufactured more than 25 years before the occasion on which it is being driven.

The EU rules grant member states the power to apply derogations to further specific categories of vehicles and drivers while on national journeys. The following derogations have been implemented in the UK.

Note: In some cases, it may be necessary to refer to case law for definitive interpretations.

Derogations Notes
Vehicles with between 10 and 17 seats used exclusively for the non-commercial carriage of passengers. This would apply to minibuses used by the voluntary and community sector (i.e. under section 19 and 22 permits) provided the operation as a whole is carried out without a view to profit, nor incidentally to an activity which is itself carried out with a view to profit.
Vehicles owned or hired without a driver by public authorities do not compete with private transport undertakings. The derogation only applies to vehicles being used:
  • for the provision of ambulance services by or at the request of an NHS body;
  • for the transport of organs, blood, equipment, medical supplies or personnel by or at the request of an NHS body;
  • by a local authority to provide services for old people or for mentally or physically handicapped people; or
  • by HM Coastguard or a general or local lighthouse authority.
Vehicles operated exclusively on islands whose area does not exceed 2,300 km2 and that are not linked to the rest of the national territory by a bridge, ford or tunnel open for use by a motor vehicle.  
Vehicles used for driving instruction and examination with a view to obtaining a driving licence or a certificate of professional competence provided that they are not being used for the commercial carriage of goods or passengers. Including instruction in connection with Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) renewal.
Vehicles used exclusively on roads inside hub facilities such as ports, airports, interports and railway terminals. This applies only to those vehicles being used within the perimeter of these areas (rather than those driving to or through the areas), although we accept that these vehicles may occasionally leave the site for vehicle maintenance purposes.
Specially fitted mobile project vehicles, the primary purpose of which is used as an educational facility when stationary. For example, play buses and mobile libraries and classrooms.

Source - VOSA (PSV 375)

In addition, the following vehicles are exempt from the EU rules in Great Britain after the European Commission granted a special authorisation:

  • any vehicle that was manufactured before 1 January 1947; and
  • any vehicle which is propelled by steam.

If it is exempt from the EU rules due to the provisions listed above, then the vehicle will be in the scope of the GB Domestic Rules when travelling in Great Britain.

Penalties for Falsification
Legislation in essence is a set of rules/regulations designed to provide a level playing field; break any of those rules and expect to be penalised for your trouble. As far as the rules relating to EC/AETR Rules and/or Tachograph use in general, the penalty for any infringement (blatant or otherwise) are:

Penalties for infringements of the drivers' hours rules in Great Britain, with maximum fines as contained within Part VI of the Transport Act 1968 (as amended), are as follows:

  • failure to observe driving time, break or rest period rules: fine of up to £2,500 (Level 4);
  • failure to make or keep records under the GB domestic rules: fine of up to £2,500 (Level 4);
  • failure to install a tachograph: fine of up to £5,000 (Level 5);
  • failure to use a tachograph: fine of up to £5,000 (Level 5);
  • failure to hand over records relating to recording equipment as requested by an enforcement officer: fine of up to £5,000;
  • false entry or alteration of a record with the intent to deceive: on summary conviction fine of £5,000 on indictment two years imprisonment;
  • altering or forging the seal on a tachograph with the intent to deceive: on summary conviction fine of £5,000, on indictment two years imprisonment; and
  • failure to take all reasonable steps to ensure contractually agreed transport time schedules respect the EU rules: fine of up to £2,500 (Level 4).

These are the maximum fines/punishment that can be imposed by a court of law.

To avoid making mistakes, clicking on the image, will take you to a separate page where a table will help you determine which rules apply in connection with the use of a passenger-carrying vehicle.

Guide Drivers Hours Rules,