HGV Exemptions and Derogations

GV262 - VOSA

On 11 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 rules (Regulation (EC) 561/2006) apply to drivers of most vehicles used for the carriage of goods (including dual purpose vehicles) where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle, including any trailer or semi-trailer, exceeds 3.5 tonnes and where the vehicle is used within the UK or between the UK and other EU and EEA countries and Switzerland.

Vehicle operations that take place off the public road or vehicles that are never used to carry goods on a public road are out of scope.

For the benefit of clarification here, a driver is anyone who drives a vehicle or is carried on the vehicle in order to be available for driving.

Much of what follows in this section has been taken directly from the VOSA publication GV 262 (Rules on Drivers' Hours and Tachographs - Goods vehicles in the UK and Europe (Revised 2011)). This publication is in our view mandatory reading for any driver or manager of drivers of in-scope vehicles.

Exemptions and Derogations

The following table contains a list of vehicles that are exempt from the EU rules regardless of where the vehicle is driven within the EU, (see also Unforseen Events).
Note: In some cases it may be necessary to refer to case law for definitive interpretations.

Exemptions Notes
Vehicles not capable of exceeding 40 km/h. For example, some works vehicles fall into this category. Also includes vehicles incapable of exceeding 40 km/ph by virtue of a set speed limiter.
Vehicles owned or hired without a driver by the Armed Forces, 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, 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 that 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; and
  • 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. The important aspect of humanitarian aid is that it only applies to transport carried out on a non-commercial basis e.g. transportation of donated clothes, food, parcels etc.
Specialised vehicles used for medical purposes. Mobile chest x-ray units, for example.
Specialised breakdown vehicles operating within a 100 km radius of their base. 'Specialised breakdown vehicle' was interpreted by the European Court as a vehicle whose construction, fitments and other permanent characteristics were such that it would be used mainly for removing vehicles that had recently been involved in an accident or broken down.
Vehicles undergoing road tests for technical development, repair or maintenance purposes, and new or rebuilt vehicles which have not yet been put into service. This would not apply to vehicles normally falling in the scope of the EU rules, on journeys to test stations for the purposes of annual test.
Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes used for the non-commercial carriage of goods. Examples could include a person moving house and goods carried by a non-profit making group or registered charity.
Commercial vehicles that have a historic status according to the legislation of the Member State in which they are driven and that are used for the non-commercial carraige of goods. In the UK, a vehicle is a historic vehicle if it was manufactured more than 25 years before the occasion on which it is being driven.

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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 owned or hired without a driver by public authorities that 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 persons or for mentally or physically handicapped persons;
  • by HM Coastguard or a general or local lighthouse authority;
  • for maintaining railways by the British Railways Board, any holder of a network licence which is a company wholly owned by the Crown, Transport for London (or a wholly owned subsidiary), a Passenger Transport Executive or a local authority; or
  • by the British Waterways Board for the purpose of maintaining navigable waterways
Vehicles used or hired without a driver by agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery undertakings for carrying goods as part of their own entrepreneurial activity within a radius of 100 km from the base of the undertaking. For a vehicle used by fishery undertakings, the exemption only applies if it is being used to carry live fish or to carry a catch of fish from the place of landing to a place where it is to be processed.
Agricultural tractors and forestry tractors used for agricultural or forestry activities within a 100 km radius from the base of the undertaking that owns, hires or leases the tractor.  
Vehicles that are used to carry live animals between a farm and a market or from a market to a slaughterhouse where the distance between the farm and the market or between the market and the slaughterhouse does not exceed 50 km.  
Vehicles being used to carry animal waste or carcasses that are not intended for human consumption.  
Specially fitted mobile project vehicles, the primary purpose of which is use as an educational facility when stationary. For example play buses and mobile libraries.
Vehicles or combinations of vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes that are used:
  • by universal service providers as defined in Article 2(13) of Directive 96/67/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of community postal services and the improvement of quality service to deliver items as part of the universal service; or
  • for carrying materials, equipment or machinery for the driver's use in the course of his work.
These vehicles shall be used only within a 50 km radius of the base of the undertaking and on the condition that driving the vehicle does not constitute the drivers main activity.
The only universal service provider in the UK at the time of publication (September 2007) is the Royal Mail. Universal service provider vehicles must have a tachograph fitted.

This would apply to tradesmen such as electricians or builders carrying tools or materials for their own use.
Vehicles operated exclusively on islands whose area does not exceed 2,300 km2 and that are not linked to the rest of Great Britain by a bridge, ford or tunnel open for use by a motor vehicle.  
Vehicles used for the carriage of goods within a 50 km radius from the base of the undertaking and propelled by means of natural or liquefied gas or electricity, the maximum permissible mass of which, including the mass of a trailer or semi-trailer, does not exceed 7.5 tonnes.  
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. Includes instruction for renewal of Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
Vehicles used in connection with sewerage, flood protection, water, gas and electricity maintenance services, road maintenance or control, door-to-door household refuse collection or disposal, telegraph or telephone services, radio or television broadcasting and the detection of radio or television transmitters or receivers. There have been a number of significant court rulings from the European Court of Justice and British courts dealing with this exemption. Common themes have included a direct and close involvement in the exempt activity; the principle of a general service in the public interest; and the limited and secondary nature of the transport activity.

It is our view that vehicles used in connection with sewerage, flood protection, water, gas and electricity services must be involved in the maintenance of an existing service (rather than the construction of a new service) to claim the concession.

The types of refuse collection and disposal operations likely to be exempt are: the door-to-door collection of black bin bags, green waste, newspapers or glass from households; the collection of sofas and household appliances from households within a local area; and the clearing of a home following a bereavement, provided refuse collection and disposal is the core purpose.
Specialised vehicles transporting circus and funfair equipment.  
Vehicles used for milk collection from farms or the return to farms of milk containers or milk products intended for animal feed.  
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.

Source - VOSA (GV 262)
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In addition, the following vehicles are exempt from the EU rules in Great Britain after the European Commission granted a special authorisation:

If it is exempt from the EU rules due to the provisions listed above, then the vehicle will be in 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:

Rules applicable to HGV Operations

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 seperate page where a flow-chart will help you determine which rules apply in connection with the use of a goods vehicle.

Further Reading
For further information regarding Drivers Hours Rules, please use the links below.

GV262 EC Drivers Hours Rules For Goods Vehicles PDF logo

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