Drivers' Hours' Rules

Drivers of larger vehicles (lorries, buses, coaches etc.) are affected by the EU rules on drivers' hours summarized in the Regulation (EC) n° 561/2006.

These rules apply to all journeys within the Union.

The rules regulate the number of hours a driver can drive a day, a week and a fortnight as well as the duration of breaks, daily and weekly rest periods. These rules seek to ensure that drivers all across the Union operate safely to prevent accidents caused by drivers’ fatigue.

The rules apply to all journeys made, in whole or in part, on roads open to the public, by the following vehicles:

  • goods carrying vehicles, where the maximum permitted weight (including any trailer or semi-trailer) exceeds 3.5 tonnes
  • passenger-carrying vehicles which are constructed or permanently adapted to carry nine or more passengers including the driver

The rules specify, inter alia, that drivers should not drive for more than 4.5 hours without a break of at least 45 minutes. During a break drivers are prohibited from doing any other work and should only rest. 

The daily driving limit is 9 hours. The maximum weekly driving limit is 56 hours, and the maximum driving time during two weeks is 90 hours. Employers non compliant with these rules are to be held responsible and may face penalties. The monitoring is carried out via checking tachograph records at the road side and at the premises.