Drivers’ hours and tachograph rules: goods vehicles (GV262)

Introduction

Overview of which drivers' hours and tachograph rules for goods vehicles apply in different situations.

About this guidance

This guide provides advice to drivers and operators of goods vehicles, whether used privately or commercially. It explains the rules for drivers’ hours and the keeping of records, and updates previous guidance from 2011. The EU regulations also place a responsibility on others in the supply chain such as consignors, freight forwarders, contractors, sub-contractors and driver agencies. People working in these sectors of the road haulage industry may benefit from an understanding of the guidance offered here.

Those who are involved in international operations are advised to check whether the other country or countries in which they operate produce equivalent guidance. We recommend that you contact the relevant embassy.

As with any legislation, previous and future court judgments may assist interpretation on a particular point. Where significant court judgments on interpretation are relevant, these have been incorporated in the text. Some important judgments are available – many in shortened form – in legal reference books held by larger reference libraries. If you are in doubt as to how these rules apply to you, seek your own legal advice.

Which rules apply

Within Great Britain (GB), either GB domestic or EU rules may apply. For international journeys, either the EU rules or the European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) may apply. Which set of rules applies depends on the type of driving and the type of vehicle being used, and, in the case of international journeys, the countries to be visited.

Most vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and with a maximum permissible weight (including any trailer or semi-trailer) of over 3.5 tonnes are in scope of the EU rules. ‘Carriage by road’ is defined as any journey entirely or in part made on roads open to the public of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods. ‘Off-road’ driving is in scope where it forms part of a journey that also takes place on public roads. Journeys made that are entirely ‘off-road’ are out of scope of the EU rules.

International journeys to or through countries that are outside the EU but are signatories to the AETR are subject to AETR rules.

International journey An international journey means a journey to or from another EU member state, including the part of the journey within the UK.

For journeys that are partly in the EU and partly in countries that are neither in the EU nor signatories to AETR, EU rules will apply to that portion of the journey that is in the EU. Countries outside the EU and AETR are likely to have their own regulations governing drivers’ hours, which should be adhered to while you are driving in that country.

Vehicles that are exempted from the EU rules come under GB domestic rules on drivers’ hours while engaged in domestic journeys.

This flowchart will help you determine which rules apply in connection with the use of a goods vehicle.

EU, AETR and EEA countries

EU countries

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Reminder: Switzerland is not a member of the European Union but follows EU rules.

AETR countries

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kazakhstan
  • Leichtenstein
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

EEA countries

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom