Drivers' EU Hours Rules
Information for Bus
drivers on the legal hours they are allowed to work according to EU laws. Help
and information avaiblable on all legal breaks they are required to take and what
exemptions there are.
rules on drivers’ hours
The EU rules (Regulation (EC) 561/2006) apply to drivers of most passenger vehicles
constructed or permanently adapted to carry more than nine people including the
driver, used for the carriage of passengers within the UK or between the UK and
other EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. Vehicle operations that take place
off the public road or vehicles that are never used to carry passengers on a public
road are out of scope.
A driver is anyone who drives a vehicle or is carried on the vehicle in order
to be available for driving.
‘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.
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 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:
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
may also be required under the separate Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations
2005. See Annex 2 on page 43 for further details.
Daily driving limit
The maximum daily driving time is 9 hours; for example:
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
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:
Exemptions and derogations
The following table contains a list extracted from the full list of exemptions
in the EU rules and refers to those exemptions that might apply to passenger-carrying
vehicles regardless of where they are driven within the EU (see also ‘Unforeseen
events’ on page 18).
Note: In some cases, it may be necessary to refer to case law for definitive interpretations.
EU rules grant member states the power to apply derogations to further specific
categories of vehicles and drivers while on national journeys. The following derogations
have been implemented in the UK.
Note: In some cases, it may be necessary to refer to case law for definitive
addition, the following vehicles are exempt from the EU rules in GB after the
European Commission granted a special authorisation:
• any vehicle that was manufactured before 1 January 1947; and
• any vehicle that is propelled by steam.
If it is exempt from the EU rules due to the provisions listed above then
the vehicle will usually be in scope of the GB domestic rules when travelling