Many changes have been implemented as part of the response to the Coronavirus pandemic across the UK. One of these is relaxing the rules which typically apply to driving hours for those for whom driving is their occupation.
The relaxations have been announced due to levels of demand and pressure on local and national supply chains. And are in place to ‘support the transport of vital goods, including the supply chains related to medicines, health, fuel, food and other necessities’.
How have driver hours been relaxed during the Coronavirus outbreak?
Typically, drivers for journeys within Great Britain will follow either the GB or EU rules when it comes to driving hours. As part of the response to the Coronavirus there has been a temporary relaxation in the enforcement of the EU and GB drivers’ hours rules when it comes to the carriage of goods by road.
For exact details on the relaxations to driver hour rules then do refer to the gov.uk website for full details. Information changes on a regular basis so this is where you will find the most up to date detail.
Relaxations of rules are around areas including:
- Extension of the daily driving limit
- Relaxation of the daily rest requirements
Government advice does make clear that making use of these relaxations must only be done in situations where it is considered absolutely necessary and where no other changes can be made to alleviate the issue.
If making use of the relaxation, drivers are required to note this in their Tachograph along with the reason why they are not adhering to the usual rules.
How long are changes to driver hours likely to last?
The temporary relaxation of the driving hours rules came into force at 00:01 on 23rd March 2020. According to the gov.uk website, the relaxations are currently due to end at 23:59 on Sunday 31st May 2020.
Of course, with an ever-evolving situation such as the Coronavirus, things do change. So, for the most up to date information on Coronavirus driving hours do visit the gov.uk website.
How can fleet managers protect their workforce?
The government website states that strict rules relating to driving hours are in place to protect driver working conditions, as well as road safety and minimising the likelihood of fatigue related accidents.
This continues to apply during the Coronavirus outbreak and driver safety should remain of paramount importance to employers. And the Department for Transport make clear that whilst these relaxations have been made, employers ‘remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.
Fleet managers therefore need to take a proactive approach to Coronavirus driving hours in a bid to protect their workforce.
- Advice from the Department for Transport states that employers should only relax driving hour rules when considered absolutely necessary and when other interventions into supply chain management cannot alleviate issues
- If you do need to make use of the driver relaxations during the Coronavirus situation then you must keep driver health and safety and welfare front of mind. Fatigue will be a key area to consider
- Normal driving hour rules should be adhered to where possible.
- If you do implement the relaxation to the rules, then this should be in agreement between employers, employees/drivers’ representatives
- Refer to the HSE website for guidance around health and safety and driver welfare
At Anthony Jones, our staff are still working, adhering to government guidelines. We are here to help and support you during this challenging time. If you have any questions about your insurance or risk management at this time, then do get in touch with us.