Drivers Hours Regulation

Lorry drivers hours regulations are governed by law in the UK and drivers who are found to have exceeded them can be prosecuted. Horseboxes (horse lorries) are covered by this law, so read on for some details of what you should know.

On 11 April 2007, the Regulations governing drivers’ hours changed, and Council Regulation (EC) No 3820/85 was replaced by Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. Although some of the rules are the same, or broadly similar, some changes have been implemented. This is a brief summary of the new rules.

Drivers’ Hours Regulations from 11 Apr 2007

Daily driving

9 hours. Can be extended to 10 hours twice a week.

Weekly driving

A weekly driving time limit of 56 hours is specified in the new rules.

Fortnightly driving

Maximum 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks.

Breaks from driving

After four and a half hours driving, a driver must take a break of at least 45 minutes. The break is a period during which the driver may not perform other work and is exclusively used for recuperation. This break may be split into smaller periods and distributed throughout the four and a half hours. In this case, the first period must be at least 15 minutes, and the second period must be at least 30 minutes.

Daily rest

11 hours in the 24 hour period commencing at the end of the last daily or weekly rest period. This may be reduced to 9 hours no more than three times between any two weekly rest periods. There is no compensation required.

Where a driver chooses to take daily rest periods away from base, they may be taken in a vehicle, provided that there are suitable sleeping facilities for each driver and the vehicle is stationary.

Split daily rest

The 12 hour rest period can be taken in two periods. The first period must be at least 3 hours, and the second at least 9 hours.

Weekly rest

Within six 24 hour periods from the end of the last weekly rest period, a driver will extend a daily rest period into either; a regular weekly rest period of at least 45 hours, or a reduced weekly rest period of less than 45 hours but at least 24 hours.

In any two consecutive weeks, a driver shall take at least two regular weekly rest periods, or one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours. However, the reduction shall be compensated by an equivalent period of rest taken en bloc before the end of the third week following the week in question.


Within 30 hours of the end of a daily or weekly rest period, a driver engaged in multi-manning must have taken a new daily rest period of at least 9 hours.

For the first hour of multi-manning the presence of another driver or drivers is optional, but for the remainder of the period it is compulsory.

Ferry crossings

Where a driver accompanies a vehicle which is transported by ferry or train, and takes a regular (not less than 11 hour) daily rest period, that period may be interrupted not more than twice by other activities not exceeding one hour in total.

During that regular daily rest period the driver shall have access to a bunk or couchette.


Vehicles which were not required to have tachographs fitted before 11 Apr 2007, but which ARE now required to have tachographs fitted, had until 31 Dec 2007 to comply.

A vehicle first registered before 1 May 2006 may be fitted with either an analogue or a digital tachograph. A vehicle first registered on or after 1 May 2006 must only be fitted with a digital tachograph. In the meantime, between 11 April 2007 and the date a tachograph is fitted, drivers must, in the case of passenger vehicles, keep an extract of the duty roster and service timetable, whereas the drivers of goods vehicles will need to keep manual records.