The Regulations apply to commercial drivers and crews of Heavy Goods Vehicles and Public Service Vehicles in Great Britain. They implement the European Road Transport Directive (RTD) on the regulation of the working time of those performing mobile road transport activities.
The RTD offers extra protection to all mobile workers covered by the EU drivers’ hours rules. The main provisions of the Regulations are:
- weekly working time is limited to an average of 48 hours;
- up to 60 hours’ work can be performed in a single week, provided the average working time does not exceed the 48-hour limit over each 4-month period;
- night workers are restricted to 10 hours’ working time in any 24-hour period;
- workers cannot work more than 6 consecutive hours without taking a break; and
- employers will need to keep time records for 2 years.
If a collective or workforce agreement is in place, the 4-month reference period for calculating the average 48-hour week may be extended from 4 to 6 months and the amount of night work can exceed 10 hours, although the 60-hour weekly limit will still apply and drivers will still have to respect the EU drivers’ hours rules.
The regulations also introduced a new method of calculating average working time.
The definition of what is and what is not working time is different from the existing Working Time Regulations. Breaks during a shift do not count as working time.
Night time is the period between midnight and 4 a.m. for drivers and other mobile workers on goods vehicles and 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. for those on passenger services. Employers and workers cannot choose a different period.
There is no opting out of the average 48-hour weekly limit as is currently the case with other working time legislation.
Self-employed drivers will be subject to the RTD from March 2009.