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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.


Drivers Hours for Passenger vehicles in EU

This guide provides advice to drivers and operators of passenger vehicles, whether used privately or commercially. It explains the rules for drivers' hours and the keeping of records, and updates previous guidance from 2009. The EU regulations also place a responsibility on others in the passenger transport industry such as tour organisers, contractors, sub-contractors and driver agencies. People working in these sectors of the passenger transport industry may benefit from an understanding of the guidance offered here.

Those who are involved in international operations are advised to check whether the other country or countries in which they operate produce equivalent guidance. We recommend that you contact the relevant embassy.

As with any legislation, previous and future court judgments may assist interpretation on a particular point. Where significant court judgments on interpretation are relevant, these have been incorporated in the text. Some important judgments are available - many in shortened form - in legal reference books held by larger reference libraries. If you are in doubt as to how these rules apply to you, seek your own legal advice.

Which rules apply?

Within Great Britain (GB), either GB domestic or European Union (EU) rules may apply. For international journeys, either the EU rules or the European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) may apply. Which set of rules applies depends on the type of driving and the type of vehicle being used and, in the case of international journeys, the countries to be visited.

The carriage by road of passengers, by most vehicles that are constructed or permanently adapted for carrying more than nine people including the driver, and that are intended for that purpose, falls within the scope of the EU rules.

'Carriage by road' is defined as any journey, made entirely or in part on roads open to the public, of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods. 'Off-road' driving is in scope of the rules, where it forms part of a journey that also takes place on public roads. Journeys that are made entirely off road are out of scope of the EU rules.

International journeys to or through countries that are outside the EU but that are signatories to the AETR are subject to AETR rules.

For journeys that are partly in the EU and partly in countries that are neither in the EU nor signatories to AETR, EU rules will apply to that portion of the journey that is in the EU. Countries outside the EU and AETR are likely to have their own regulations governing drivers' hours, which should be adhered to while you are driving in that country.

Most vehicles that are exempted from the EU rules come under GB domestic rules on drivers' hours while engaged in domestic journeys.

The following table will help you determine which rules apply.

A public service vehicle (PSV) is a motor vehicle that is adapted to carry more than eight passengers and is used to carry passengers for hire or reward or, if adapted to carry eight or fewer passengers is used to carry passengers, for hire or reward at separate fares.

A regular service (which includes special regular services) is a service that provides for the carriage of passengers at specified intervals along a specified route, passengers being picked up and set down at predetermined stopping points. It does not have to be a service for the general public. It may be a service provided exclusively for a particular category of passenger (e.g. it may take children to and from school or workers to and from work). A service may be varied according to the needs of those concerned and still remain a regular service.

If a journey is taken to an EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland then the EU rules apply to the whole journey. If a journey is taken to or through an AETR country then AETR rules will apply to the whole journey.

See the list overleaf to help identify which rules apply to which country. Vehicles with fewer than eight passenger seats travelling through other countries must obey the relevant domestic rules.

EU, AETR and EEA countries

For the purposes of the table above, please use the following lists of countries.

Reminder: Switzerland is not a member of the European Union

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