Working Time Directive

On 4th April 2005, the Road Transport Directive (2002/15/EC), a subsection of the Working Time Directive, came into force. It affects drivers and crew of vehicles subjected to EU Drivers' Hours Regulations, not currently those subjected to Domestic Drivers' Hours Regulations.

Major Elements of the Road Transport Directive

Weekly Work

Over an average of 17 or 26 weeks (26 weeks can only be enforced through a collective workforce agreement), a HGV driver must not exceed 48 hours of work on average.

In any week, a HGV driver can work up to 60 hours providing that the 48 hour average working week is obeyed.

These work limits apply to all work (not just driving time) and cover all work carried out as part of a HGV driver's role (e.g. loading, unloading, cleaning, driving, etc.).

Night Work

If a HGV driver works between 0000hrs and 0600hrs, he or she is termed a night driver. A night driver can only work for 10 hours, not the maximum permitted under HGV Drivers Hours Regulations.

Periods of Availability

A period of availability is a period of time a HGV driver is available for work but is not working. Whereas before it would have been recorded as a break, a period of availability is recorded separately. For example, if a HGV driver is waiting in a queue and has been told it is an hour before he or she will be tipped, that then is period of availability providing he or she is able to return to work.

The HGV driver must know in advance of the length of the delay to qualify as period of availability.


An employer must keep a record for 2 years though most keep 3 years as standard for legal reasons.

Self-Employed Drivers

Self employed HGV owner drivers are exempt until March 2009.

More Help on the Road Transport Directive and Working Time Directive

The Department for Transport have produced a comprehensive document detailing the Road Transport Directive and this is available at GOV.UK.

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