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DfT extends derogation of drivers hours rules

By: William Hobson
08 December 2010

Rules restricting the amount driver hours and working times have been temporarily relaxed until the 11th of December in Scotland, extending an earlier relaxation introduced last week.

The Department for Transport (DfT) temporarily relaxed the EU Driver's Hours rules for many HGV driving jobs, including all haulage firms that transport oil, gas and petroleum products to domestic, agricultural and industrial premises, on Friday the third of December. This temporary relaxation expired across most of the UK yesterday but due to the "continued severe weather in Scotland", the Secretary of State for Transport has agreed to extend the relaxation for a further four days.

"I hope that this extension will assist in ensuring the delivery of vital supplies to the worst affect areas," said Philip Hammond to the BBC.

Road Transport reports that the relaxation of rules sees the nine hour daily driving limit extended to 10 hours rather than nine; daily rest requirements shortened from 11 to nine hours; a temporary removal of the weekly and fortnightly driving limits from their respective 56 and 90 hour limits; and a postponement of the weekly rest requirement of 34 hours until the 18th of December.

However, the requirement to take a 45 minute break after 4.5 consecutive hours of driving work remains.

Commenting on the original relaxation, a DfT spokeswoman said the relaxation was intended to businesses "plan for and manage the risks" of disruption due to the weather conditions. She warned that "driver safety must not be jeopardised" and that drivers were required to note the reasons for going beyond the ordinary limits in their logbooks.

Jack Semple, director of policy for the Road Haulage Association, told Road Transport that: "We very much welcome the DfT's response. It is a shift in emphasis and a welcome one."


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