If you drive a goods vehicle or a passenger-carrying vehicle you must follow the rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks that you need to take.

There are 3 sets of rules that could apply to your journey:

The rules that apply depend on:

  • the type of vehicle you’re driving
  • which country you’re driving in

If you drive under the EU or GB domestic drivers’ hours rules, you also need to follow the working time rules.

If you’re an employer of drivers or mobile workers there are more rules you must follow.

There are different drivers’ hours rules in Northern Ireland.

If you do not follow the rules

If you break the drivers’ hours rules, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can give you:

  • a verbal warning, for minor offences made by accident or because of inexperience
  • an offence rectification notice, for offences which are not a risk to road safety - you’ll have 21 days to fix the issue
  • a prohibition notice, for serious or dangerous offences - you must stop a dangerous activity or start following the regulations
  • a fine or points on your licence (a ‘fixed penalty’) – the amount depends on how serious the offence is

You can be prosecuted for very serious or multiple offences.

DVSA can give you further penalties (such as an improvement or prohibition notice) if you also break the working time rules.

You can ask for an emergency exemption from the rules. Read the guidance on emergency exemption and temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours and working time rules.

Drivers’ hours checklists

You can also print out the ‘Staying legal’ checklists, which cover the basic rules: