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Rest Periods & Breaks: Complying with the Law

When you’re managing a fleet of HGV drivers, having a firm grip on the rules and regulations surrounding breaks and rest periods is essential. In this article we aim to help you understand the laws that exist, so that you can stay compliant and keep your drivers safe while they’re out plying their trade.

Understanding the Regulations is the First Step

The first thing you can do is to become familiar with the laws that exist in the UK and EU drivers, which includes learning the various ways rest periods are categorised. As such, there’s daily rest, weekly rest and breaks taken during the working day.

Once you have a grasp of this information, you should create driving schedules that allow drivers to take the breaks and rest periods they need to. They should be flexible enough to align with legal requirements while also being flexible enough to cater for unforseen delays and incidents.

Monitoring, Recording & Educating Drivers

An important aspect of breaks and rest periods for transport managers is the monitoring and recording of the times when drivers are working and when they’re off-duty. That’s why you need to use digital tachographs to accurately record every type of activity that occurs during a driver’s shift.

This information can then be reviewed on a regular basis – someting you should do so that you can spot any potential issues and make sure everyone is abiding by all the rules that they’re meant to.

In order to avoid transgressions, it’s important to offer regular training sessions that educate your drivers about the legal requirements as they relate to breaks and rest periods. These guidelines should be provided in a way that’s easy to understand, so that all your drivers know how to properly use the recording equipment (their tacograph).

What to Do When You Discover Non-Compliance

In the even that you find that one of your drivers hasn’t compled with rest period/break rules, you should have clear procedures in place to deal with it. Your drivers should also feel that there’s an open comunication culture in which they’re comfortable in reporting any concerns or issues relating to breaks and rests.

While this article focuses on UK laws, it’s worth keeping in mind that EU regulations that may apply when drivers are making international journeys. If you’re a manager whose fleets operate across both the UK and the EU, these laws also need to be followed.

Compliance Begins with Knowing the Laws

Following rest and break period rules is important for the sake of your company’s reputation and the safety of your drivers. Compliance begins with a full knowlege of the regulations, and the implementation of schedules that make it easy for drivers to comply.

By providing adequate education, and structure, while also making personnel aware of the importance of compliance, you can foster a culture in which the right steps are always taken.

About the author

Jonathan Gilder

Jonathan Gilder

Head of Training and Transport
Jonathan is a distinguished NRI HGV Instructor accredited by RTITB, with certifications in IOSH Managing Safely, RTITB Lift Truck Instruction, and ROSPA Assured PAT Testing. His expertise extends to EdI Level 3 NVQ Assessing, Btec Level 2 in Transportation of Goods by Road, and he is a skilled Trainer in Driver CPC and Incident Investigation from GH Safety.

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