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Do You Know the Drivers’ Hours Rules for Your Van Drivers?

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Van Drivers Must Follow HGV  Drivers’ Hours Rules  to Avoid a Possible £300 Fine   

Many van drivers do not realise that they are subject to the same working hours and rest periods as HGV drivers.   Exceeding the UK daily driving hours limit could result in a £300 fine.

Failing to take breaks and exceeding the limits can increase driver fatigue and increase the chances of a driver being involved in a road traffic accident. A tired driver’s slower reactions are similar to the impairment that can be caused by drink or drug driving.


This is just one of the topics we cover in our seven-hour classroom based Professional Van Driver Course.  One of our progressive local authority Transport Managers asked us to develop this course. He felt that while drivers of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes were getting 35 hours of CPC training, his van drivers who are also professional drivers, were largely being ignored and were just as important to the council’s desire to maintain a safe and efficient fleet.   The drivers have appreciated the recognition from the council particularly as the content is totally relevant to their job.


The Professional Van Driver 7 Hour Course also includes.  

Driver Fitness & Health

Vehicle Checks

Safe Loading

Use of Trailers

Defensive Driving Techniques

This is a seven-hour course with group sizes of up to 12 drivers for just £400 plus VAT.   If you would like more information about this or any of our other courses, please call us now on 01384 442233 or complete the enquiry form.

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EU Rules

Apply if the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle or combination is greater than 3.5 tonnes unless covered by a specific EU-wide exemption or a national derogation.


GB Domestic Rules

Apply when the vehicle is under 3.5 tonnes or if it is exempt from EU Rules.

On our courses we always advise van operators and individual drivers to keep a logbook of their time spent driving and working so that they can monitor their qualifying hours.


EU Rules on van driving hours

These apply to vehicles and vehicle combinations that exceed 3.5 tonnes maximum. Therefore, these rules will only apply to van drivers towing trailers.

  • 9 hours of daily driving – or the driving time between rest periods (of which there should be two), no more than 9 hours. However, this maybe extended to 10 hours twice a week, without the needing to compensate for the extra time.
  • 56 hours maximum of weekly driving – a week being the fixed period between 00:00 Monday to 24:00 the following Sunday.
  • 90 hours of fortnightly driving – or any rolling two-week period, starting at midnight Sunday/Monday.
  • A 45-minute break after every 4.5 hours of driving – this break must be taken after continuous or accumulated driving unless you start another daily or weekly rest. You don’t just have to take the 45-minute rest in one go, instead you can take the break in two periods, the first being at least 15 minutes long and the second 30 minutes.
  • 11 hours minimum daily rest – must be taken every 24 hours at the end of the last daily or weekly rest period. Can be reduced by two hours to nine hours, but this can only be done three times between weekly rests.
  • 45 hours minimum weekly rest – must be taken before the end of six 24-hour periods, which starts at the end of the last weekly rest. Like the minimum daily rest, it can be reduced, but this time up to 21 hours – to 24 hours. These reductions must compensated for by an equivalent period of rest taken in be in one bloc by the end of the third week following the week in question. The compensation must be added to a period of rest of at least 9 hours. Finally, over any rolling two-week period, you must take at least two-weekly rests or one regular weekly rest and one reduced weekly rest that must total at least 45 hours long.


Unforeseen events

Provided that road safety is not jeopardised, and to enable a driver to reach a suitable stopping place, departure from the rules is permitted to ensure the safety of persons, the vehicle or its load.


The Domestic Rules on van driving hours  

The Domestic Rules state that you can spend 11 hours of the day working, but no more than 10 of those can be driving.

Drivers are limited to

  • 10 hours of daily driving – this limit applies from the moment you start driving, includes time off-road and time behind the wheel with the engine running and controlling the vehicle. This could be when the vehicle is stationary, as well as moving.
  • 11 hours of daily duty – this is basically the period of 24 hours from the beginning of your shift. Drivers are excluded from the daily duty limit on any working day if they don’t drive.


Breaks and rest periods.

No rules given but drivers must have adequate breaks and rest. DVSA have stated that EU rules will apply.



There must be some exceptions to these rules I hear you ask, and you’d be right.

If you drive a vehicle to which these rules apply but spend just four hours at the most behind the wheel per week, then you’re not subject to the ‘daily duty’ limit on any day of the week.

But if you exceed more than four hours in one day, the limit is applied to the whole week.

The following professions only have to observe the 10-hour daily driving rule:

Doctor, dentist, nurse, midwife, vet, work in any inspection service, cleaner, work in maintenance, work in repair, work in installation or fitting, commercial travellers, work for the AA or RAC, work in cinema or radio broadcasting, have to drive off-road for agricultural, forestry, quarrying or civil engineering purposes.

The Domestic Rules do not apply to drivers in the armed forces, police and the fire services, drivers who stay off of public roads and any private driving that is not for employment.

These limits can also be exceeded when immediate action is needed to deal with life-or-death emergencies, serious interruptions to public services such as water and gas, serious interruptions to the use of roads, railways, seaports and more. Finally, events that are likely to do serious damage to property.


Further details can be found here.


To see our complete range of Advanced and Defensive Driving Courses and

our Driver CPC  Courses  visit our website  or call us now on 01384 442233