Our website uses cookies to give you a better browsing experience, and by using our site you accept our cookies policy


The Importance of Understanding PCV Driver Hours Regulations

The reason why driver hours regulations play such a central role in PCV training is that it’s something of a non-negotiable after qualification. As such, they must be adhered to, and failure to do so can result in some pretty hefty penalties for both the driver in question and the transport company that employs them.

Designed to combat accidents caused by driver fatigue, driver hours rules ensure that sufficient rest is taken between shifts and that no one is behind the wheel longer than they should be. As such, they exist not just for bureaucratic reasons but to safeguard UK roads. In this article, we look at what drivers and transport managers need to know on the subject.

What You Need to Know About PCV Driver Rules

As covered in bus training, coach training, and minibus PCV training, drivers of passenger vehicles must stay within specific limits and record all activity on their onboard tachograph. Here’s a breakdown of the critical points.

  • There’s a daily driving limit of 9 hours each day. However, extending it to 10 hours per day, twice a week is possible.
  • There’s also a weekly driving limit of 56 hours, in addition to a limit of 90 hours being driven over two consecutive weeks.
  • When it comes to breaks from behind the wheel, a PCV driver must take an uninterrupted break of at least 45 minutes after 4½ of driving. However, this break can be broken down into two periods, with the first being a minimum of 15 minutes and the second being at least 30 minutes – so long as they’re completed within the 4½ hours.
  • A minimum period of 11 consecutive hours must be taken in relation to daily rests, which can be reduced to 9 hours, at most three times, between weekly rests.
  • Lastly, a minimum of 45 hours is required with weekly rests, which can be reduced to 24 hours, subject to compensation.

As you can see, there is a little give in how and why driving hours can be extended and breaks reduced, but the overarching guidelines should never be broken. 

The Importance of Sticking to Driver Hours Regulations

PCV driver hours regulations exist to protect lives, as they significantly lower the risk of fatigue-related road traffic accidents. As described above, the rules ensure that drivers are well-rested and much less likely to fall asleep at the wheel.

There is also the paradigm of compliance, as fines can be accompanied by legal action and operating licences being taken away. This affects profitability and your ability to earn a living.

Health & Reputation Also Need to Be Considered

Another important factor that necessitates PCV driver hours rules is the implications of inadequate rest on the driver’s health when combined with extended hours. Stress, heart disease and back problems can all be mitigated by following the rules.

An operator’s reputation can also take a hit with customers when fines and penalties are imposed, which is reason enough to adhere to them. Not to mention, of course, that well-rested drivers tend to be more efficient in driving.

Regulation Compliance Matters For a Whole Host of Reasons

If you’re a PCV operator or front-line driver, following driver hours regulations is a no-brainer. They matter greatly, not just because of passenger safety and that of other road users, but also because of vehicle efficiency, company reputation and the need to avoid fines and penalties.

Whichever way you look at it, adhering to driver hours rules is imperative, and everything must be done company-wide to ensure that everyone toes the line. The impact of failing to do so is just too heavy not to encourage compliance in every staff member.

If you’d also like to know more about other matters relating to PCV driving, such as safety equipment and the importance of scheduling, please look at our articles on the subject.

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.

Want to find out more?

Click “Get in touch” or give us a call on 0330 818 8888
and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions.