What are the legal driving hours for lorry drivers? 

If you're considering a career as a lorry driver in the UK or you're already navigating the highways and byways in a heavy goods vehicle (HGV), it's essential to understand the legal driving hours. Staying within these limits ensures your safety and the safety of others on the road. 
 
At Tyler Training Ltd., your trusted source for large and heavy goods vehicle driver instruction and training in the West Midlands, we're here to provide you with a comprehensive guide to the legal driving hours for lorry drivers in the UK and make a comparison with the regulations in Europe. 
 
Legal Driving Hours in the UK 
 
In the United Kingdom, the legal driving hours for lorry drivers are governed by specific regulations designed to prevent driver fatigue and enhance road safety.  
 
These regulations are primarily outlined in the EU Regulation 561/2006, which the UK has historically adhered to. However, please note that the UK may have made regulatory changes post-Brexit.  
 
It's essential to stay informed about any amendments to the law. As of my knowledge cutoff date in September 2021, here are the key regulations: 
 
Daily Driving Limit: Lorry drivers in the UK are allowed to drive a maximum of 9 hours in a day. 
Daily Duty Limit: The daily duty limit, which includes driving and other work, is capped at 11 hours. This means you can work for a maximum of 11 hours in a single day. 
Breaks: You must take a break of at least 45 minutes after driving for 4.5 hours. This can be divided into two breaks, with the first being at least 15 minutes and the second at least 30 minutes. 
Weekly Driving Limit: Over a fixed week, the maximum allowable driving time is 56 hours. 
Two-Week Cycle: Within a two-week period, the maximum driving time allowed is 90 hours. 
 
Legal Hours in the UK vs. Europe 
 
The legal driving hours for lorry drivers in the UK align with European regulations. However, post-Brexit, the UK government may make changes to these rules.  
 
Here's a basic comparison: 
 
Daily Driving Limit: In the EU, the daily driving limit is also 9 hours, mirroring the UK's regulation. 
Daily Duty Limit: Both the UK and the EU stipulate an 11-hour daily duty limit. 
Breaks: The requirement for breaks after 4.5 hours of driving is consistent in both the UK and the EU. 
Weekly Driving Limit: In the EU, the weekly driving limit is set at 56 hours, matching the UK. 
Two-Week Cycle: The 90-hour limit over a two-week cycle is applicable in both the UK and the EU. 
 
It's important to note that EU regulations may vary slightly between member states, and post-Brexit changes could potentially create distinctions between the UK and the EU. 
 
We've created this handy at-a-glance reference leaflet for you to download, print and keep in your cab or at your home or office. Please remember that this information is correct at the time of writing and we urge you to check in regularly with us for any changes. 
 
Conclusion 
 
Understanding and adhering to legal driving hours is crucial for lorry drivers in the UK to ensure road safety and compliance with the law.  
These regulations are in place to prevent driver fatigue and protect drivers, passengers, and other road users. While the UK has traditionally followed European regulations, it's vital to stay informed about any post-Brexit changes and adhere to any new legislation.  
 
At Tyler Training Ltd., we keep our students up-to-date with the latest regulations and offer comprehensive training to help you become a safer and more skilled HGV driver.  
 
If you have any questions or require further guidance on this topic, don't hesitate to contact us. Safe driving! 
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