Do You Know Your Driving Hours Regulations?

Are you up to date on the latest driving hours rules and regulations?

While the UK transport industry goes through its typical post-Christmas lull, many agency drivers find that they have more time on their hands than usual.

Although we work very hard at Silver Arrow to try and keep our drivers as busy as possible during these quieter periods this is often a great opportunity for you to brush up on professional training, such as CPC (we have been running CPC training for drivers regularly throughout January in conjunction with our sister company, Brit European), or simply re-acquaint yourself with the latest legislation that is so important to operate compliantly.

One area of legislation that is essential knowledge to a good agency driver is the EU driving hours and EU working time directive, and as is often the case with legislation – it’s not as simple as we would all like!

Here is our attempt at a clear and simple guide to the regulations, we hope you find it useful.

EU Driver’s Hours

Driving Hours

There is a daily 9 hour limit on driving that you can increase to 10 hours, but only twice per week. The maximum hours you can drive in a week is 56 and the maximum number of hours you can drive in a fortnight is 90.


You must take a 45-minute break after 4.5 hours of driving, but your breaks can be split into 2 periods, where the first break must be at least 15 mins, and the second break at least 30 mins (Yorkie bar anyone?)

Also good for female HGV drivers!
Despite the packaging, it turns out these are also popular amongst female HGV drivers!


As a driver, you must have 11 hours daily rest which can be reduced to 9 hours, but this can be done no more than 3 times per week.  You must also take 45 hours rest each week, although this can be reduced to 24 hours every other week.

Got all that?

Great, so let’s now look at the other important legislation, the EU working time directive

EU Working Time Directive

Working time (including driving time)

There is a maximum working time of 60 hours per week, and in addition, you must not exceed a 48-hour working average over a reference period which is defined by the client and can be either 17 or 26 weeks. Please note that periods of availability (or POA) does NOT count towards working time.

There is also a maximum of 10 hours night work in a 24 hour period unless you have opted out. We provide the ability for you to do this during our registration process.


You cannot work for more than 6 hours without a break (…..and by then you’ll surely be gasping for a brew anyway!). The break should be a minimum of 15 minutes long, and if you are working between 6 and 9 hours then a 30-minute break is required (time for a sarnie as well). If you are working over 9 hours a 45-minute break is required.


This is the same as the requirements on the EU drivers’ hour’s rules, so you must have 11 hours daily rest which can be reduced to 9 hours, but this can be done no more than 3 times per week. You must also take 45 hours rest each week, although this can be reduced to 24 hours every other week.

Simple eh?

Thankfully in this era of smartphones, Apple watches and all things hi-tech, you have the Digital Tacho card to help you.

Digital Tachograph Cards

Sample Digital Tachograph Card
A Sample Digital Tachograph Card

All commercial vehicles first registered on or after 1 May 2006 must be fitted with digital tachographs. In all other cases, you can use an analogue tachograph.

It is a legal requirement for a digital tachograph-equipped vehicle that you must use a driver card. You must never use anyone else’s card or allow another driver to use your card.  Once you are issued with a Digital Tachograph Driver card, you must keep it with you whenever you are at work, even if you are using a commercial vehicle without a digital tachograph.

In the event of loss, theft or damage of you digital tachograph card, you must tell the DVLA immediately.  You must apply for a replacement card within 7 days.

You can then drive without the lost, stolen or damaged card for a maximum of 15 calendar days. Our advice is to keep it safe in your wallet next to your blockbuster video card and pictures of your kids/spouse/dog/goldfish.

Downloading Digital Tachograph Driver Cards and Vehicles

The information on your digital tachograph driver card must be downloaded at least every 28 days and this is a legal requirement.  Vehicle information must be downloaded no later than every 90 days.  However, some companies may impose earlier download deadlines.

Analogue Tachographs

You must be able to produce for inspection, charts for the 28 previous calendar days driving (International Rules). You must also return completed charts to your employer no later than 42 days after they are used.  Before starting to work with a vehicle you must enter on the chart –

  • Surname and Christian names – NO ABBREVIATIONS
  • Date, place and time where use of chart begins
  • Vehicle Registration number
  • The start distance recording reading

And at the end of the working day:

  • The place, time and date where the chart was completed
  • The finish distance recorder reading

One chart should be used for each twenty-four hour period of each day.  Charts should not be changed part of the way through the twenty-four-hour cycle without good reason.

And there you go!

Congratulations on taking your driver hours regulations seriously, and even greater congratulations for making it to the end of this article unscathed!

If you haven’t had enough yet, you can find more information on the websites below

If you are already a Silver Arrow HGV driver and you have any questions about the content of this article, please contact your driving consultant for more information, or call us on 0370 787 0484.

If you are not currently a Silver Arrow HGV driver and would like to find out more about us, or register to be part of the team, you can register your interest and one of our local driving consultants will get in contact with you to discuss the work we have available for you right now in your area.

Driver Registration

About Silver Arrow

Silver Arrow is a specialist recruitment agency that focuses on the recruitment and placement of temporary and permanent drivers of all classes.

We offer temporary, temporary to permanent or permanent assignments, with a focus on compliance and quality, 24/7 customer service, and a simple streamlined administration and timesheet approval process for our customers.

Silver Arrow Specialist Recruitment Agency
Silver Arrow – The Smart Choice For Agency Drivers

We specialize in placing our drivers into a range of sectors including general haulage – articulated (LGV CE) and rigid (LGV C) transport, fuel and chemical distribution (Pet. Reg. and ADR), automotive distribution (car and low loader), self-unload (HIAB and truck mounted forklift), and IPAF.

As a group, we are proud to be ISO 9001 accredited and recent winners of the Motor Transport and the Automotive Supply Chain Global awards. By being built on a strong foundation we are able to deliver a professional, compliant, and cost-effective service to our clients.