The law has already come into effect to replace the relaxed rules that were in place a change in the law as to how long lorry drivers are allowed to work has come into effect. Those working in the road haulage sector must only drive for nine hours a day when working on the roads, increased to 10 hours per day twice a week. Under the old rules that were relaxed because of supply chain issues, drivers could increase the daily limit from nine to 10 hours a day four times a week.

Weekly rest periods have also returned to the previous levels. Drivers will have to take at least two weekly rest periods, including at least one regular weekly rest period of 45 hours in a two week period. A system where drivers could increase their fortnightly driving limit from 90 hours to 99 hours has also been scrapped, the Express reports. The relaxation of the rules came to an end on February 10. According to the DfT, the initial relaxation was put into place due to the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

This led to increased absence rates and outbreaks in specific workforces with new rules needed to tackle demand. However, the DfT has warned drivers should “not be expected to drive while tired”. They also warned employers “remain responsible” for the safety of employers and should “plan for” disruption to supply chains themselves. They said: “DfT encourages operators facing high work demands or work absences to take urgent measures to secure drivers who have limited or no current work.

“Driver safety must not be compromised.

“Drivers should not be expected to drive while tired.

“Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

“As a general rule, we expect business to plan for and manage the risks of disruption to supply chains.”

The DfT warns drivers will continue to be bound by Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005.

This legally limits the time drivers can work to 60 hours per week. They add: “If you are concerned that a driver or the vehicle operator is breaking the drivers’ hours rules, (including the terms of this temporary relaxation) or the working time regulations, this should be reported to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).”

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