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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.


Rest periods

Daily rest periods

A driver must take a daily rest period within each period of 24 hours after the end of the previous daily or weekly rest period. An 11-hour (or more) daily rest is called a regular daily rest period.

A rest is an uninterrupted period where a driver may freely dispose of his time. Time spent working in other employment or under obligation or instruction, regardless of the occupation type, cannot be counted as rest, including work where you are self-employed.

Alternatively, a driver can split a regular daily rest period into two periods. The first period must be at least 3 hours of uninterrupted rest and can be taken at any time during the day. The second must be at least 9 hours of uninterrupted rest, giving a total minimum rest of 12 hours. For example:

A driver may reduce his daily rest period to no less than 9 continuous hours, but this can be done no more than three times between any two weekly rest periods; no compensation for the reduction is required. A daily rest that is less than 11 hours but at least 9 hours long is called a reduced daily rest period.

When a daily rest is taken, this may be taken in a vehicle, as long as it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.

To summarise, a driver who begins work at 06.00 on day 1 must, by 06.00 on day 2 at the latest, have completed either:

• a regular daily rest period of at least 11 hours; or
• a split regular daily rest period of at least 12 hours; or
• if entitled, a reduced daily rest period of at least 9 hours.

Regular daily rest: A continuous period of at least 11 hours' rest.
Split daily rest period: A regular rest taken in two separate periods - the first at least 3 hours, and the second at least 9 hours.
Reduced daily rest period: A continuous rest period of at least 9 hours but less than 11 hours.


'Multi-manning' is the situation where, during each period of driving between any two consecutive daily rest periods, or between a daily rest period and a weekly rest period, there are at least two drivers in the vehicle to do the driving. For the first hour of multi-manning the presence of another driver or drivers is optional, but for the remainder of the period it is compulsory. This allows for a vehicle to depart from its operating centre and collect a second driver along the way, providing that this is done within 1 hour of the first driver starting work.

If these strict conditions cannot be complied with, then drivers sharing duties on a journey will individually be governed by single manning rules and will not be able to use the following variation to the daily rest requirement - where a vehicle is manned by two or more drivers, each driver must have a daily rest period of at least 9 consecutive hours within the 30-hour period that starts at the end of the last daily or weekly rest period.

Organising drivers' duties and incorporating this concession enables a crew's duties to be spread over 21 hours.

This is an example of how the duties of a two-man crew could be organised to take maximum advantage of multi-manning rules:

The maximum driving time for a two-man crew taking advantage of this concession is 20 hours before a daily rest is required (although only if both drivers are entitled to drive 10 hours).

Under multi-manning, the 'second' driver in a crew may not necessarily be the same driver form the duration of the first driver's shift but could in principle be any number of drivers as long as the conditions are met. Whether these second drivers could claim the multi-manning concession in these circumstances would depend on their other duties.

On a multi-manning operation the first 45 minutes of a period of availability will be considered to be a break, so long as the co-driver does no work.

Journeys involving ferry or train transport
Where a driver accompanies a vehicle that is being transported by ferry or train, the daily rest requirements are more flexible.

A regular daily rest period may be interrupted no more than twice, but the total interruption must not exceed 1 hour in total. This allows for a vehicle to be driven on to a ferry and off again at the end of the crossing. Where the rest period is interrupted in this way, the total accumulated rest period must still be 11 hours. A bunk or couchette must be available during the rest periods.

For example, a qualifying regular daily rest period could be interrupted in the following manner:

Weekly rest periods
A driver must start a weekly rest period no later than at the end of six consecutive 24-hour periods from the end of the last weekly rest period.

A regular weekly rest period is a period of at least 45 consecutive hours.

A weekly rest period is the weekly period during which drivers may freely dispose of their time. It may be either a 'regular weekly rest period' or a 'reduced weekly rest period'.

Note: An actual working week starts at the end of a weekly rest period, and finishes when another weekly rest period is commenced, which may mean that weekly rest is taken in the middle of a fixed (Monday-Sunday) week. This is perfectly acceptable - the working week is not required to be aligned with the 'fixed' week defined in the rules, provided all the relevant limits are complied with.

Alternatively, a driver can take a reduced weekly rest period of a minimum of 24 consecutive hours. If a reduction is taken, it must be compensated for by an equivalent period of rest taken in one block before the end of the third week following the week in question. The compensating rest must be attached to a period of rest of at least 9 hours - in effect either a weekly or a daily rest period.

For example, where a driver reduces a weekly rest period to 33 hours in week 1, he must compensate for this by attaching a 12-hour period of rest to another rest period of at least 9 hours before the end of week 4. This compensation cannot be taken in several smaller periods. (See example below.)

A regular weekly rest is a period of rest of at least 45 hours' duration.
A reduced weekly rest is a rest period of at least 24 but less than 45 hours' duration.

In any two consecutive 'fixed' weeks a driver must take at least:
• two regular weekly rests; or
• one regular weekly rest and one reduced weekly rest.

Note: Other weekly rests of any type may be taken in any two consecutive 'fixed weeks'in addition to this minimum requirement.

The following is an example of how a driver's duties might be organised in compliance with the rules on weekly rest, which allow two reduced weekly rest periods to be taken consecutively. This complies with the rules because at least one regular and one reduced weekly rest period have been taken in two consecutive fixed weeks.

A weekly rest period that falls in two weeks may be counted in either week but not in both. However a rest period of at least 69 hours in total may be counted as two back-to-back weekly rests (e.g. 45 hours' weekly rest followed by 24 hours) provided the driver in question does not exceed 144 hours' work either before or after the rest period in question.

Where reduced weekly rest periods are taken away from base, these may be taken in a vehicle, provided that it has suitable sleeping facilities and is stationary.

Note: Operators that utilise a cyclical shift pattern should take care that their shift patterns allow for compliance with the rolling two-weekly requirements for weekly rest and compensation.

With effect from 4 June 2010, drivers on international occasional coach journeys will be able to postpone the weekly rest period for up to 12 consecutive 24-hour periods following a previous regular weekly rest period. This applies to services which last at least 24 consecutive hours in another Member State or third country other than the one in which the service started. However, drivers who postpone their weekly rest period must either take at the end of the derogation;

• two weekly rest periods back to back, or
• one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours back to back.

It should be noted that, as always, any reduction must be compensated by an equivalent period of rest taken en bloc before the end of the third week following the end of the derogation period.

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