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Drivers' hours regulation: definition, rules and digital tachograph

How to handle it all the easy way

Webfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet Solutions

Drivers' hours regulation: definition, rules and digital tachograph

How to handle it all the easy way

Webfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet SolutionsWebfleet Solutions

If you have coaches and trucks in your fleet, you know that you need to comply with drivers’ hours rules. After all, failure to do so can see you hit with major penalties.

But the EU regulations on this topic are quite complex and it’s not always straight­forward knowing what’s the requirement in all circum­stances.

At Webfleet Solutions, we like to make things simple. So, here’s our quick guide to drivers’ hours compliance and tachograph devices – why the rules are in place, what a tachograph does, what the main rules are and how to handle compliance easily.

Guide to drivers’ hours compliance and digital tachograph devices

What’s the purpose of driver’s hours regulation?

There are two main reasons that the European Union places a limit on drivers’ hours and demands the use of tachographs to measure them.

Firstly, it ensures drivers are well rested when operating their vehicles, protecting both their own safety and that of other road users. Secondly, it promotes healthy competition, as no company can aim to get an advantage over their competitors by forcing their drivers to work excessively long schedules.

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What is a digital tachograph device?

Tachographs record the time, speed and distance of your drivers’ journeys. The device is fitted to your vehicles and automat­ically begins to monitor progress as soon it moves.

While analogue tachographs have been in use since the 1950s, all qualifying vehicles manufac­tured in the EU since 2005 have been required by law to be fitted with a digital tachograph device.

From mid-June 2019 onwards, however, the law will evolve again. Every new vehicle from that month on will have to be fitted with a smart tachograph. These devices offer enhanced security, improved efficiency, an open interface for additional services and a dedicated short-range commu­nic­ation system to simplify the inspection process.

Who gets penalised?

If it is found that a company is not complying with drivers’ hours rules, it can be fined and, in some cases, those involved can be jailed. Also, the license to operate may be revoked. Companies, fleet managers and drivers may all be held accountable when a trans­gression has been proven. The employee responsible for scheduling, in particular, could be liable when work has not been properly timetabled, while the fleet manager could be liable if appropriate training has not been given to drivers or standard working time checks were not being done.

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What are the most important rules to know?

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    On driving times

    The regulation specifies how long your drivers can stay on the road in two week, one week and one day periods.

    Time periodMaximum driving time per driver
    One day9 hours
    One week56 hours
    Two weeks90 hours
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    On weekly rests

    For every week of driving, a driver must rest a total of 45 hours minimum. This must commence at least six days since the end of the driver’s previous rest period.

    It is, however, also possible for drivers to take a reduced weekly rest period. Within six days of the end of the last weekly rest, the driver can take a reduced rest period of 24 hours minimum. This reduction must then be compensated in a single block of time before the end of the third week following the week of the initial reduction and taken alongside an additional rest period of 9 hours minimum.

    Weekly rest hours must be taken continu­ously, and the driver must not be engaged in any other profes­sional activity during this period.

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    On daily breaks and rests

    For every 4.5 hours of driving time, a driver must take a break of 45 minutes minimum. These minutes can either be taken in one single break or in two smaller breaks – one of 30 minutes, one of 15 minutes.

    Per day, each driver must have a rest period of 11 hours minimum. These hours can either be taken in one single rest period or split into two smaller periods, in which case the number of hours must total 12 – one rest of 3 hours, one of 9 hours.

    Also, a driver can reduce their rest period down to 9 hours, 3 days out of every week.

    Daily rest must be taken in total within 24 hours of the driver’s last rest period.

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    On data downloading with a digital tachograph

    Data from vehicles and driver cards must be gathered and analysed on a regular basis – at least every 28 days for each driver and at least every 90 days for each vehicle.

How can I handle drivers’ hours compliance?

Tradi­tionally, long haulage drivers have kept track of their working times manually. The results have been far from perfect. Busy drivers incorrectly filling in forms is not uncommon, causing admin­is­trative headaches for fleet managers. Also, with mountains of paperwork required to keep a record of historical tachograph data, inspections can be slow, stressful processes.

This is why more and more companies are now taking a paperless approach to tachograph compliance. And it’s why Webfleet Solutions’ developed Tachograph Manager. By remotely downloading and storing all relevant tachograph data and then displaying it on clear, user friendly reporting dashboards, it offers a complete end-to-end digital tachograph solution, making compliance simple and inspections quick.

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