Driving time limits for truck drivers extended due to Covid staff shortages

Temporary derogation from driving and resting time rules due to driver shortage caused by the COVID-19 Omicron variant
Driving time limits for truck drivers extended due to Covid staff shortages

A temporary change to the EU driving and resting time rules has been agreed by the Department of Transport and Road Safety Authority due to driver shortages caused by Covid-19.

The changes will apply to all operators and drivers subject to the EU driver’s hours and tachograph rules engaged in the carriage of goods.

According to the RSA, the move is being made because of the impact the Covid-19 Omicron variant is having on HGV operations, the importance of ensuring continuity of supply chains, the importance of the road haulage sector to the national economy and in response to requests from the haulage industry.

Minister of State for Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, said: “We have granted a temporary relaxation of the EU driving time and resting time rules due to the impact the COVID-19 Omicron variant is having on HGV operations. Crucially, these relaxation measures maintain a balance between driver welfare, operator flexibility, road safety and minimising disruption to supply chains."

The changes mean the fortnightly driving limit has been raised from 90 hours to 112 hours. Because of this approach, drivers will be entitled to drive a maximum 56 hours in each consecutive week until the derogation expires. There is no change to the rules relating to working time.

Another change has been made to the maximum of three reduced daily rest periods between any two weekly rest periods, which is also being increased from three to five to provide drivers with some extra flexibility should they encounter delays on their journeys.

The changes will apply retrospectively from January 9th up to January 30th, 2022 and the department said they will be reviewed every week.

 

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