Telematics Guides | HGV driving hours

HGV Driving Hours in Ireland: Rules and Regulations

The regulations around driving hours for HGV drivers are quite complex and can get easily confusing. But it’s important to understand and follow them to the letter. For your own benefit and for the safety of others.

In this guide, we put together all the information you need to know about HGV driving hours and breaks.

HGV driving within permitted driver hours

HGV driving hours and breaks explained

European regulations, which apply to the Republic of Ireland as well, came out in 2017 and are to be followed within the member states of the European Union and in Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

The HGV driving hours set out by these regulations apply to all journeys on public roads by:

  • Vehicles carrying goods, where the permissible mass of the vehicles, trailer or semi-trailer included exceeds 3.5 tonnes.
  • Vehicles carrying more than nine passengers, driver included.

Driving hours for HGV drivers in the Republic of Ireland

The main HGV driving rules you need to remember when it comes to how many hours you can drive are:

  • There’s a limit of nine hours of driving per day. This can be extended to 10 hours driving for two days a week maximum.
  • You cannot drive more than 4.5 hours in one go without taking a break.
  • You can drive a maximum of 56 hours per week.
  • There’s a driving limit of 90 hours for any two consecutive weeks.

If you start your work journey at a depot and it takes you one hour to get there from home, don’t worry. The time you spend commuting from home to your worksite is not included in these hours.

Driver breaks

You need to understand breaks are compulsory even if you don’t feel tired. And they’re necessary for your drivers’ health and safety.
It’s mandatory to take a minimum of 45-minute break after 4.5 hours of driving. You can either:

  • Take an uninterrupted break of 45 minutes.
  • Take an initial 15-minute break, then another 30-minute break.

If you do split breaks, remember you need to complete the total of 45 minutes of break after 4.5 hours driving.

Sounds complicated? Let’s take some examples:

  1. If you drive for 4.5 hours continuously, you must take a break. If your break is 45 minutes, then you can continue driving for another 4.5 hours and that’s your day.
  2. Let’s say you drive for one hour, then take a 45-minute break. You then drive for another 4.5 hours after which you take another 45-minute break. That leaves you with 3.5 hours if driving before ending your driving day.
  3. As mentioned above, you can extend your HGV driving hours to 10 hours a day twice a week. So, you drive 4.5 hours, take a 45-minute break, then drive another 4.5 hours. That leaves you with one more hour of driving after the mandatory 45-minute break.

Let’s talk rest periods

Drivers must rest for 11 hours every day. The regulated rest period can be reduced to nine hours, but you can do this three times a week only.
If you prefer doing split periods of rest for the regulated mandatory rest time, you can split your rest in two periods. You can take at least three hours of uninterrupted rest, followed by at least nine hours of uninterrupted rest. And yes, the numbers add up – if you take this option, the total daily rest time is 12 hours.

How about weekly rest time? HGV driving laws specify a rest period of at least 45 hours in a week. This can be reduced to minimum 24 hours, but the reduced weekly rest must be compensated.

It works like this:

  • Week 1: You rested for a reduced time of 35 hours.
  • Week 2: You took the whole 45 hours to rest.
  • Week 3: Again, you rested for 45 hours.
  • Week 4: You need to rest for 45 hours + 10 hours to compensate for the first week.

iCompario tip:

Make sure your drivers don’t try to cheat the system. With a telematics system installed on your HGVs you can easily check your drivers’ driving hours and breaks. Plus, that’s not the only benefit of telematics. You can take control of your fleet, reduce costs and save time.

HGV driving hours in Great Britain

HGV driving on Great Britain's roads observing driving hours rules

Do your HGVs drive in Great Britain more than often? Then, you should know it has slightly different rules than Ireland when it comes to driving hours for HGV drivers.

They’re called the GB domestic regulations and this is what you should keep in mind:

  • You can drive for a maximum of 10 hours per working day.
  • You cannot drive for longer than 90 hours in total over a period of two weeks.
  • You cannot be on duty for more than 11 hours a day.
  • You must take a minimum 30-minute break if you’ve been driving for 5 hours and a half.
  • A total break of 45 minutes is mandatory within any period of 8 hours and a half of driving. Plus, you must take a 30-minute break at the end of said period, unless it’s the end of your working day.
  • You must rest for 10 hours between two working days. This time can be reduced to 8.5 hours but only for 3 times a week.
  • You must rest for 24 hours every fortnight.

Northern Ireland domestic rules regarding HGV driving hours

Northern Ireland also has its own slightly different rules when it comes to HGV driving hours. These rules are a mix between the GB domestic ones and the EU rules, which the Republic of Ireland follows.

Basically, this is what you should keep in mind:

  • You’re allowed to drive for maximum 10 hours in any working day.
  • You can continuously drive for 5 hours before you must take a 30-minute break.
  • You cannot be on duty for more than 14 hours in any working day.
  • In any period of 24 hours you must take 10 consecutive hours rest.

HGV driving hours and tachographs

All your HGV driving hours must be recorded on tachographs and record sheets. There are a few things you need to remember about using record sheets and tachographs.

Record sheets must include:

  • Your full name.
  • The date and place where the sheet was started and ended.
  • The registration number of the vehicle.
  • The odometer reading both at the start of the first journey and at the end of the last journey.

As for tachographs, the things you must be able to provide depend on whether you’re using an analogue or a digital tachograph.

If you’re using an analogue tachograph, this is what you should be able to provide:

  • The record sheets for the current day and for the previous 28 calendar days.
  • Your digital tachograph card if you have one.
  • Manual records and printouts for the current day or for the previous 28 calendar days if any were made.

For digital tachographs, this is what you should be able to provide:

  • Your digital tachograph driver card.
  • Manual records and printouts for the current day or for the previous 28 calendar days if any were made.
  • If you drove any vehicle fitted with an analogue tachograph within the last 28 calendar days, make sure you can provide record sheets for that vehicle.

Ensure your drivers abide by the HGV driving hours

Driving for work is a high-risk job. The HGV driving rules and regulations are in place for the drivers’ own safety and that of the public.

Employers are under the legal obligation to make sure these rules are followed and their drivers don’t put anyone at risk.

Tracking drivers’ activity isn’t an easy task, especially when you manage a large fleet of HGVs. But technology has advanced and you can now rely on adequate fleet management solutions.

A good fleet telematics solution can include dash cams designed for HGVs. You can watch footage instantly and remotely. You can monitor your drivers for any sign of fatigue.

Besides, the tachograph data feature will allow you to monitor closely and easier that your drivers follow the HGV driving hours and regulations.

There are many essential telematics features that will enable you to work smarter and save time and money.

How to choose the right telematics system?

There are many solutions on the market and they all promise nice benefits. So, how do you choose the right one for your business? Your best bet is to compare to market. Don’t waste time and efforts researching only to get more confused.

Click on the button below and we’ll handle the market comparison for you. It will only cost you 30 seconds to give us a few details about your business. We’ll get back to you with the best telematics systems that suit your business.

Read more about telematics on iCompario

3 important requirements when choosing a Telematics system

3 important requirements when choosing a Telematics system

5 Minute Fleet Telematics Guide

5 Minute Fleet Telematics Guide

Best GPS Tracking for Company Vehicles

Best GPS Tracking for Company Vehicles

Company Vehicle Tracking and the Law in Ireland

Company Vehicle Tracking and the Law in Ireland