EU Drivers’ Hours

On 11th April 2007, the EU Drivers’ Hours Regulation – EC561/2006 – came into effect, replacing the Regulation EC3820/85

This brief summary covers the key points of the legislation. For more detailed information, including information on precisely who is affected, please contact your local office.

Driving Time

Under the Regulation, driving time must not exceed an accumulated amount of:

  • 9 hours per day – this can be extended to 10 hours twice a week
  • 56 hours in any one week
  • 90 hours in any two consecutive week

Your total working time, (driving time combined with all “other work”) is governed by RT(WT)R and must not exceed 60 hours in any one week or average over 48 hours in a “reference period” of between 17-26 weeks.


Driving Breaks

After no more than 4 hours 30 minutes of continuous driving, a break or breaks totalling 45 minutes must be taken.
If you take a break at any point during the 4 hours 30 minutes of driving, the first period must be at least 15 minutes in duration and the second period must be at least 30 minutes.
You cannot split the 45 minutes into three 15-minute breaks.


Daily Rest

During any 24-hour period a daily rest period must be taken:

  • Minimum duration is 11 hours.
  • This can be reduced to 9 hours on no more than three occasions between two weekly rest periods (no compensation required).
  • Daily rest can be split into two periods. In this case, the first must be at least 3 hours and the second at least 9 hours, so that the total daily rest period, if split, becomes 12 hours.

Weekly Rest

After six 24-hour periods since your last weekly rest period a new one must begin. This weekly rest period:

  • Must be a minimum of unbroken 45 hours.
  • A reduction from 45 hours to a minimum of 24 hours can be applied once in any two consecutive weeks.
  • Any reduction must be compensated for in full, in a single block, by the end of the third week in question.
  • The compensation must be attached to a rest period of no less than 9 hours in duration.
  • A rest period that begins in one week and falls into another week can be attached to either week.

Daily and Weekly periods of rest must be “uninterrupted”. This means you must be able to freely dispose of your own time. If the period is “interrupted” then it may have to be repeated. An exception may apply to rest taken during ferry crossings, and to emergency situations – please ask your employer or refer directly to the Regulation for full details.

In a multi-manning situation, drivers must take a daily rest break of at least 9 hours, within 30 hours of the end of a daily or weekly rest period (during this period the vehicle must be stationary).


Drivers’ Obligations

  • You must comply with the rest and break requirements.
  • You are required to record as “other work” all activities defined as such under the RT(WT)R.
  • You must use the “cross hammers” mode to record other work and the “packing case” to record availability.
  • You must keep records of all driving periods for the current day and any generated by you in the previous 28 calendar days to produce in the event of a roadside check.
  • If your digital driver card becomes lost, stolen, or damaged you must comply with the manual entry requirements. See Tachograph resource for further information.

DVSA in Great Britain & the DVTA in Northern Ireland are responsible for enforcing the Regulation.