The temporary relaxation of EU drivers’ hours rules started from midnight on 10 December and will run until 11.59pm on 30 December 2020. The Department for Transport (DfT) said it reserves the right to withdraw the relaxation earlier, or extend the temporary rules if circumstances change. The new rules have been introduced due to urgent “exceptional issues related to certain road transport operations, including in the context of port congestion, unusual demand patterns and the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19)-related restrictions on supply chains and demand on them.” Who will be affected? Anyone driving within Great Britain under the EU drivers’ hours rules involved in the transport of:
Food and other essential goods from ports within Great Britain. This includes driving of mixed loads with a significant content of such goods. Essential goods include category 1 goods. Where transports of other goods are required to enable category 1 goods to be moved out of ports, the relaxation is also applicable.
Food and other essential goods for retail, including mixed loads with a significant content of such goods. This category includes the following journeys:
distribution centre to stores (or fulfilment centre)
from manufacturer or supplier to distribution centre (including backhaul collections)
from manufacturer or supplier to store (or fulfilment centre)
between distribution centres and transport hub trunking
transport hub deliveries to stores
Driver safety must not be compromised
Employers are still responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users. Drivers shouldn’t be expected to drive if they’re tired.
The guidance states that the temporary relaxation rules should be agreed between employers and employees and driver representatives.