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New EU drivers’ hours and tachograph rules are being introduced on 20 August, including a requirement for drivers to ‘return home’ every four weeks, writes Chris Tindall.

The Department for Transport said there will also be a ban on taking regular weekly rest periods in the driver’s vehicle and more flexibility on the scheduling of rest periods for some drivers undertaking international carriage of goods.

There will also be new provisions for rests and breaks for drivers when journeys involve transport by ferry or by rail and a new requirement to keep a full record of all other work.

The new regulations stated: ‘Drivers engaged in long-distance international transport of goods spend long periods away from their homes. The current requirements on the regular weekly rest may prolong those periods unnecessarily.

‘It is thus desirable to adapt the provisions on the regular weekly rest periods in such a way that it is easier for drivers to carry out international transport operations in compliance with the rules and to reach their home for their regular weekly rest period, and be fully compensated for all reduced weekly rest periods.’

An amendment to Article 8 of the existing rules stated: ‘In any two consecutive weeks a driver shall take at least: (a) two regular weekly rest periods; (b) one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours.

‘A weekly rest period shall start no later than at the end of six 24-hour periods from the end of the previous weekly rest period.’

The amended regulations added: ‘While regular weekly rest periods and longer rest periods cannot be taken in the vehicle or in a parking area, but only in suitable accommodation, which may be adjacent to a parking area, it is of utmost importance to enable drivers to locate safe and secure parking areas that provide appropriate levels of security and appropriate facilities.

‘The Commission has already studied how to encourage the development of high-quality parking areas, including the necessary minimum requirements.

‘The Commission should therefore develop standards for safe and secure parking areas.’

  • More information on the new rules can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/drivers-hours/eu-rules
 

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