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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.



'Driving time' is the duration of driving activity recorded either by the recording equipment or manually when the recording equipment is broken.

Even a short period of driving under EU rules during any day by a driver will mean that he is in scope of the EU rules for the whole of that day and must comply with the daily driving, break and rest requirements; he will also have to comply with the weekly rest requirement and driving limit.

Breaks and driving limits

After a driving period of no more than 4.5 hours, a driver must immediately take a break of at least 45 minutes unless he takes a rest period. A break taken in this way must not be interrupted. For example:

A break is any period during which a driver may not carry out any driving or any other work and which is used exclusively for recuperation. A break may be taken in a moving vehicle, provided no other work is undertaken.

Alternatively, a full 45-minute break can be replaced by one break of at least 15 minutes followed by another break of at least 30 minutes. These breaks must be distributed over the 4.5-hour period. Breaks of less than 15 minutes will not contribute towards a qualifying break, but neither will they be counted as duty or driving time. The EU rules will only allow a split-break pattern that shows the second period of break being at least 30 minutes, such as in the following examples:

The following split-break pattern is illegal because the second break is less than 30 minutes.

A driver 'wipes the slate clean' if he takes a 45-minute break (or qualifying breaks totalling 45 minutes before or at the end of a 4.5-hour driving period. This means that the next 4.5-hour driving period begins with the completion of that qualifying break, and in assessing break requirements for the new 4.5-hour period, no reference is to be made to driving time accumulated before this point. For example:

Breaks may also be required under the separate Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005. See Annex 2 on page 44 for further details.

Daily driving limit

The maximum daily driving time is 9 hours; for example:

The maximum daily driving time can be increased to 10 hours twice a week; for example:

Daily driving time is:

• the total accumulated driving time between the end of one daily rest period and the beginning of the following daily rest period; or
•the total accumulated driving time between a daily rest period and a weekly rest period.

Note: Driving time includes any off-road parts of a journey where the rest of that journey is made on the public highway. Journeys taking place entirely off road would be considered as 'other work'.

So, for example, any time spent driving off road between a parking/rest area and a passenger-loading area prior to travelling out onto a public road would constitute driving time. But it would be regarded as other work where all the passengers were picked up and dropped off on the same off-road site.

Weekly driving limit

The maximum weekly driving limit is 56 hours, which applies to a fixed week

A fixed week starts at 00.00 on Monday and ends at 24.00 on the following Sunday.

The following diagram shows an example of how this might be achieved:

Total weekly hours = (4 x 9) + (2 x 10) = 56.

Two-weekly driving limit

The maximum driving time over any two-weekly period is 90 hours; for example:

The following is an example of how a driver's duties might be organised in compliance with the rules on weekly and two-weekly driving limits:

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