Category: Travel

HGV Driving Hours – How to Stay Legal?

If you are a goods vehicle driver within the UK then you will already be familiar with the enforced rest hours and driving hour limits, especially considering the HGV course price you pay for training. However, if you are not aware of them then it is important that you learn about them right away since going over the limit can get you into serious trouble. The limits are for your safety as well as other road users safety. Driving an HGV when you are tired can turn the vehicle into a very dangerous weapon and all accidents can potentially have fatal consequences. It is critical that you take these rules seriously.

We are offering the following information based on our own interpretation of Department of Transport rules. It is critical that you read these rules yourself and fully understand them. There are three different sets of rules that might apply; GB domestic rules, AETR rules or EU rules. Each of these sets of rules is different and it will depend on what and where you are driving to determine which set of rules applies to your situation.

For international trips, either the AETR or EU rules will apply.

Whether you are driving a goods vehicle for commercial purposes or private purposes, the rules still apply. The following are the key elements of the EU driving hours rules:

Limits on daily driving – According to the EU regulations for driving hours:

  • You are not allowed to drive over 9 hours in one day and may be increased to 10 hours two times per week.
  • 56 hours a week
  • 90 hours over two consecutive weeks

A Tachograph must be used to record all of this information and then you must submit it to your employer.

The following covers the EU rules on rest and breaks you are required to take:

  • You are required to rest for 11 hours every day at least; it may be reduced to only 9 hours of rest per day three times within a two week rest period.
  • You are required to have a 45-hour unbroken rest period. Every other week it may be reduced down to 24 hours.
  • You are required to take breaks of 45 minutes at least in total after driving for no more than 4 1/2 hours.

Weekly rest after working 6 consecutive 24 hour time periods beginning from the end of the last weekly rest period that was taken.

Employers Rules

Employers are required to monitoring the working time of their drivers and ensure they do not exceed the limits. Employers are also required to record working time. The records must be kept for 2 years at least.

The regulations are enforced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). If you break any of these rules you could receive:

  • An improvement notice – which sets out the changes that you must make by a specific date
  • A prohibition notice – requires you to either start to comply with the regulations or stop

HGV Safety Control Features

A simple Google news search on ‘HGV’ prompts dozens of stories on HGV Accidents and other risky things about heavy goods vehicles on the results pages. Although HGV accidents aren’t as frequent as the media tries to put it, the dramatic nature of how they happen is what gives them such attention. Heavy goods vehicles are among the safest vehicles on the road, thanks to the rigorous HGV training and numerous safety controls and checks put in place to make them safe. This article outlines some of the main safety features in HGVs that contribute to keeping everyone on the road safe and to prevent accidents.

Speed Limiters

Speed governors are very common in HGVs today. These gadgets work diligently to prevent the driver cruising at speeds that would be dangerous to both the truck and other road users. Most HGV manufacturers have the speed limiters inside the engine as a way to ensure the truck’s speed is monitored and capped at set speeds always. Most HGVs have their top speeds set at 70 MPH. The set speed allows the driver to have total control of the truck, keep a safe braking distance, etc. In addition to this, the set speed limit is indicated on the back of the truck to help let other drivers know what speeds the truck could be doing.

Enforced Driving Time Limits

Tiredness from driving for extended periods of time is one of the leading causes of road accidents today. Statistics show that fatigue kills more drivers per year than drugs, alcohol and bad weather combined. Interestingly enough, most of these victims are highly experienced, professional drivers. Regulations have, therefore, been set detailing how long a driver is allowed to sit at the wheel. These regulations come in single day shifts extending up to 2 weeks. HGV drivers must not drive for more than:

  • 10 hours twice a week, or 9 hours a day
  • 56 hours within a span of 7 days
  • 90 hours within 14 days

HGVs have a tracking feature, the tachograph that records the drivers’ driving time as well as time their breaks. The recorded data is stored whereby the employer can track and monitor the drivers’ performances. Thanks to this feature, most HGV drivers remain fit to drive and are always alert on the road.

Safety Technologies

HGVs are also fitted with extra safety features and technologies meant to keep drivers safe. Some of the standard security safety features and technologies installed in most HGVs include:

  1. Reversing cameras
  2. Rear view cameras
  3. Vehicle radars
  4. Digital video recorders (DVRs)
  5. GPS tracking
  6. Auto braking systems
  7. RFID technology
  8. Mirror monitors
  9. Air bags
  10. General vehicle safety equipment

All these gadgets assist HGV drivers to drive safely, particularly when driving in the right lane, cyclist collisions, reversing accidents, sideswipes on motorways, as well reduce cases of stolen goods from the cabin.

Training

In addition to the standard driving courses, HGV drivers receive enhanced driving techniques to enable them to handle such heavy trucks, expertly. In addition to …