Drivers’ hours and tachographs: buses and coaches

2. Great Britain domestic rules

How the drivers' hours Great Britain domestic rules work for passenger carrying vehicles.


The GB domestic rules, as contained in the Transport Act 1968, apply to most vehicles that are exempt from the EU rules. Separate rules apply to Northern Ireland.

2.1 Domestic rules exemptions

Private driving is not subject to GB domestic drivers’ hours rules. Private driving doesn’t include:

  • driving which is in the course of a drivers’ hours employment
  • driving by a person who drives for the purposes of their own trade or business

The following exemptions apply to drivers who would otherwise be subject to the GB domestic rules:

  • if they do not drive for more than 4 hours a day in any week, drivers are exempt from any GB domestic rules for that week
  • if they drive for more than 4 hours for up to two days in any week, they are still exempt from the rules, but on these two days:
    • all working duties must start and finish within a 24-hour period
    • a 10-hour period of rest must be taken immediately before the first duty and immediately after the last duty
    • rules on driving times and length of working day must be obeyed.
  • if any working day overlaps into a week in which drivers are not exempt from the rules, then on that day the limits on driving time and length of working day must be obeyed
  • an exemption from the rules on driving time and rest applies during any time spent dealing with an emergency


Week is the period from 0000 hrs on a Monday to 2400 hrs the following Sunday.

2.2 Domestic driving limits

Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether it is moving or stationary with the engine running, even for a short period of time.

Breaks and continuous driving

After 5.5 hours of driving a break of at least 30 minutes must be taken in which the driver is able to obtain rest and refreshment.

Alternatively, within any period of 8.5 hours in the working day, total breaks amounting to at least 45 minutes are taken so that the driver does not drive for more than 7 hours and 45 minutes. The driver must in addition have a break of at least 30 minutes to obtain rest or refreshment at the end of this period, unless it is the end of the working day

These breaks do not have to be taken as a whole period of 30 or 45 minutes so long as the total amount of time taken adds up to the required amount at or before the end of the period of driving time. It is important however that drivers are able to use that time exclusively for recuperation and consequently no work of any type can be undertaken during breaks.

Daily driving

In any working day, the maximum amount of driving is 10 hours. The daily driving limit applies to time spent at the wheel, actually driving, and includes any driving done under EU or AETR rules.


Day is the period between two daily rest periods, or a daily rest period and a weekly rest period.

Length of working day (‘spreadover’)

A driver should work no more than 16 hours between the times of starting and finishing work (including work other than driving and off-duty periods during the working day).

Daily rest periods

A continuous rest of 10 hours must be taken between two consecutive working days. This can be reduced to 8.5 hours up to three times a week.

Fortnightly rest periods

In any two consecutive weeks (Monday to Sunday) there must be at least one period of 24 hours off duty.

2.4 Emergencies

The GB domestic rules are relaxed in cases where immediate action is needed to avoid:

  • danger to the life or health of people
  • serious interruption of essential public services (gas, water, electricity or drainage), of telecommunication or postal services, or in the use of roads
  • serious interruption in private or public transport (not including trade disputes) involving carriage of passengers for hire or reward
  • serious damage to property

In these cases the time spent dealing with the emergency does not count towards driving or duty time and during the emergency the driver is exempt from the requirement to take breaks or daily rest periods. The fortnightly rest period may be reduced by the amount of time spent on an emergency situation. A situation ceases to be an emergency once it no longer poses any of the above risks.

2.5 Record keeping

There are no record keeping requirements under GB domestic rules for passenger carrying vehicles however drivers should note that on any day when driving is undertaken that is subject to EU or AETR rules, they are required to produce on request tachograph records (including manual records) for any driving which was in scope of EU/ AETR rules for the current day and the previous 28 calendar days.

2.6 Travelling abroad

The GB domestic rules apply only in GB. However, you must observe the national rules of the countries in which you travel. The embassies of these countries will be able to assist you in establishing the rules that might apply.

2.7 Mixed vehicle types

If it occurs that a driver divides their time driving goods vehicles and passenger vehicles under GB domestic rules, then in any working day or week, if they spend most of their time driving passenger vehicles, then the appropriate GB rules for passenger vehicles apply for that day or week.

2.8 Working Time Regulations

Drivers who are subject to the GB domestic rules on drivers’ hours are affected by four provisions under GB Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended). See Annex 2 for more details.