Drivers and the Working Time Directive

The Working Time Regulations govern the maximum working week that you can ask your workers to do, however there are also additional rules that drivers must follow.

Working Time Regulations dictate a maximum working week of 48 hours averaged over a 17 week reference period.  It has always been the case however, that workers can “opt out” of this part of the Directive in order to allow them to work more than 48 hours.  This is the only part of the Working Time Directive that workers can opt out of, all other rules must be adhered to such as break times and holiday entitlement.

For drivers however, although they can “opt out”, there is still a maximum of 60 hours per week that can be worked.  This is clearly to ensure the safety of the drivers, other road users and the general public.

With it recently being reported that one in six road traffic accidents are caused by the driver falling asleep at the wheel, it is imperative that these maximum hours are observed. However, fatigue can also be more of a problem at certain times of day and when nearing the end of a long journey. With the increased likelihood of falling asleep in the afternoon and in the early hours of the morning, employers should ensure their employees take regular breaks.

All of these issues should be included in the driving at work policy issued to all employees who drive whilst at work. If you would like assistance with developing a driving at work policy, please contact your consultant.