EC Drivers' Hours Rules - EC561/06
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.
These rules also apply to drivers and operators of passenger vehicles and also place a responsibility on others in the passenger transport industry such as tour organisers, contractors, sub-contractors and driver agencies.
By definition, 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 GV262 (Rules on Drivers' Hours and Tachographs - Goods vehicles in the UK and Europe (Revised 2007)) and PCV375 (Rules on Drivers' Hours and Tachographs - Passenger-carrying vehicles in the UK and Europe (Revised 2007)). These publications are in our view mandatory reading for all drivers of all in-scope vehicles and all managers of drivers of in-scope vehicles. The revised versions (2007) are a credit to VOSA as they have written the document in such a way that it not only explains definitively what the requirements are, but is laid out well and cannot fail to be understood by all.
Much of what you read within this section (and the section on tachographs) comes from GV 262 and PSV 375. As we've already stated, these two publications should be considered the driver/operators bibles, and as such the content of these sections of the TF website should mirror them.
What Rules Apply
Within Great Britain (GB), either GB domestic or European Union (EU) rules may apply. For international journeys, either the EU rules or the European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) may apply. Which set of rules applies depends on the type of driving and the type of vehicle being used and, in the case of international journeys, the countries to be visited.
An international journey means a journey to or from another state, including the part of the journey within the UK.
Vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and with a maximum permissible weight (including any trailer or semi-trailer) of over 3.5 tonnes are in scope of the EU rules. 'Carriage by road' is defined as any journey entirely or in part made on roads open to the public of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods. 'Off-road' driving is in scope where it forms part of a journey that also takes place on public roads. Journeys made that are entirely 'Off-road' are out of scope of the EU rules.
By clicking on the image, you'll be taken to a seperate page where a flow-chart will help you determine which rules apply in connection with the use of a goods vehicle.
The carriage by road of passengers, by vehicles that are constructed or permanently adapted for carrying more than nine people including the driver, and that are intended for that purpose, falls within the scope of the EU rules. 'Carriage by road' is defined as any journey, made entirely or in part on roads open to the public, of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods. 'Off-road' driving is in scope of the rules, where it forms part of a journey that also takes place on public roads. Journeys that are made entirely off road are out of scope of the EU rules.
By clicking on the image, you'll be taken to a seperate page where a table will help you determine which rules apply in connection with the use of a passenger carrying vehicle.
HGV and PSV
International journeys to or through countries that are outside the EU but that are signatories to the AETR are subject to AETR rules, which currently mirror the old EU drivers' hours Regulation (EEC) 3820/85.
For journeys that are partly in the EU and partly in countries that are neither in the EU nor signatories to AETR, EU rules will apply
to that portion of the journey that is in the EU. Countries outside the EU and AETR are likely to have their own regulations governing
drivers' hours, which should be adhered to while you are driving in that country.
Vehicles that are exempted from the EU rules come under GB domestic rules on drivers' hours while engaged in domestic journeys.
Remember, that operators have a resonsibility in the form of a transport undertaking. For further information regarding this, please visit the Operator Responsibilities page.
NB: The following should be taken into consideration at all times as both items have a significant bearing upon the Rules within this section.
Where a vehicle coming within the scope of the EU rules is neither at the driver's home nor at the employer's operational centre where the driver is normally based but is at a separate location, time spent travelling to or from that location to take charge of the vehicle may not be counted as a rest or break, unless the driver is in a ferry or train and has access to a bunk or couchette.
Provided that road safety is not jeopardised, and to enable a driver to reach a suitable stopping place, a departure from the EU rules may be permitted to the extent necessary to ensure the safety of persons, the vehicle or its load. Drivers must note all the reasons for doing so on the back of their tachograph record sheets (if using an analogue tachograph) or on a printout or temporary sheet (if using a digital tachograph) at the latest on reaching the suitable stopping place (see relevant sections covering manual entries). Repeated and regular occurrences, however, might indicate to enforcement officers that employers were not in fact scheduling work to enable compliance with the applicable rules.
A judgment by the European Court of Justice dated 9 November 1995 provides a useful guide to how this provision should be interpreted. It can apply only in cases where it unexpectedly becomes impossible to comply with the rules on drivers' hours during the course of a journey. In other words, planned breaches of the rules are not allowed. This means that when an unforeseen event occurs, it would be for the driver to decide whether it was necessary to depart from the rules. In doing so, a driver would have to take into account the need to ensure road safety in the process (e.g. when driving a vehicle carrying an abnormal load under the Special Types regulations) and any instruction that may be given by an enforcement officer (e.g. when under police escort).
Some examples of such events are delays caused by severe weather, road traffic accidents, mechanical breakdowns, interruptions of ferry services and any event that causes or is likely to cause danger to the life or health of people or animals. Note that this concession only allows for drivers to reach a suitable stopping place, not necessarily to complete their planned journey. Drivers and operators would be expected to reschedule any disrupted work to remain in compliance with the EU rules.
For further information regarding Drivers Hours Rules, please use the links below.
PSV 375 Drivers Hours & Tachograph Rules for Road Passenger Vehicles