You are currently viewing HGV Night Driving Rules | What You Need To Know

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV) driving refers to the transportation of goods exceeding 3.5 tonnes in truckload. To qualify, a specialised license is required. With the right training, anyone can become an HGV driver, and although being one can be rewarding with a lot of benefits, it can be physically and mentally draining.

In the EU, rules have been set for HGV drivers while using the roads to keep them safe, not only for other road users but also for HGV drivers themselves. In addition to safety technology, when an HGV driver works during the night, strict rules apply to limit the number of hours they’re allowed to be on the road.

These restrictions are in place for various reasons, and this article will clarify exactly why they’re there and what they are. If you have a lorry driving job and operate an HGV, know someone who does, or simply wish to gain more information on this subject, read on below for a detailed explanation.

In this article, we will cover the following:

1. Why are HGV driving rules in place?
2. What are the restrictions?
3. What is the difference between driving and working time?
4. Are there any penalties for not obeying these restrictions?


Why are HGV Driving Rules in Place?

Put simply, restrictions on driving-hours are in place for the safety of both the lorry driver and other road users. It also offers drivers protection concerning their working conditions. Like in any other job, when drivers are tired or overworked, they lose concentration. This leads to human errors and can have devastating outcomes.

Overtiredness can cause drivers to make incorrect decisions when an emergency occurs or fall asleep at the wheel. Drivers should never be over-worked or stressed. Their health and safety are a top priority, and these rules ensure it remains so.

Night-time driving rules are generally also beneficial to both the driver and the company. Roads are quieter during the night, which lessens the chances of accidents occurring. Drivers can also cover a further distance due to less traffic on the road that may keep them up. Consistent driving ensures less fuel consumption, and it can also be cheaper to pass through toll roads, which can save the company money.


HGV trucks in a row parked at the truck stop


What Are the Restrictions

General driving limits ensure that drivers only work a certain number of hours within 24 hours. They can choose to work these hours during the day – or night-time. These hours may only be extended when there is a workforce agreement or collective agreement between the employer and an independent trade union.

The night-time driving period is between midnight and 4 am, which means that working hours are limited when an HGV is on the road during these times.

The essential rules are as follow:

• No driver may drive more than 9 hours a day. Twice a week, this may be extended to 10 hours
• Working hours are limited to 15 hours a day
• The weekly driving hours are limited to 56
• The fortnightly driving hours are limited to 90

EU rules require that a tachograph is used to record all HGV driving hours. You can also find out more at the GOV website – GB domestic rules.

Besides the driving restrictions, rules are in place to ensure adequate resting periods. HGV drivers are mandated by law to take breaks of at least 45 minutes after 4.5 hours of driving. Whether they choose to take the required resting minutes at once or break it up in multiple shorter periods, they should ensure to reach 45 minutes of rest after every 4.5 hours of driving.

When splitting the allocated 45 minutes resting time, drivers should keep in mind that the first break period may not be less than 15 minutes, and the following needs to be a minimum of 30 minutes. Breaks of less than 15 minutes don’t qualify but won’t be counted as driving hours either if the second rest period is 30 minutes long.


A red HGV truck on the road


What is the Difference Between Driving and Working Time?

They might sound alike, but a lorry driving job consists of a driving element and work done connected with transport operation. Although driving time is a form of working time, the hours for working time aren’t defined the same.

Driving time regulates the driving element only while working time must make provision for tasks including, but not limited to:
• Driving
• Loading and unloading activities as well as the supervision thereof
• Daily vehicle defect check and reporting thereof
• Any administrative work or industry-specific job training
• Cleaning and vehicle maintenance
• Any waiting periods with a duration unforeseeable in advance


Are There Any Penalties for not Obeying These Restrictions?

Both companies and the lorry driver need to stick to the rules set in place for night-time driving. Since these restrictions are mandated by law, failure to follow them will lead to a fine. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will fine drivers for any breaches concerning driving hours.

Drivers can be fined up to £300 for breaking the rules around driving hours and regulations. In one sitting, drivers can be fined up to five times, which means the total fine they can face for consistently breaking the rules is £1,500.

Furthermore, the failure to install a tachograph or track driving time with one can award the company with a fine of up to £5000. If a driver fails to hand over tachograph recordings when requested by an enforcement officer, a fine of up to £5000 can be written.

To keep both HGV drivers and other road users safe, all companies and lorry drivers need to stick to the mandated restrictions. Different ways to ensure drivers’ safety are by shifting work patterns, encouraging drivers to take breaks when necessary, providing refresher training courses regularly, monitoring driver behaviour, and implementing methods to help keep drivers awake and vigilant at night. Companies need to ensure that drivers are kept up to date with regulations and feel secure enough in their job to keep to it.

We hope you enjoyed reading the post and find it helpful. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about our latest HGV jobs opportunities, please contact us on 01604 761206, our team is here to answer your enquiry.