The DfT has published guidance on special dispensation for HGV drivers to exceed drivers’ hours to find a safe stopping point in the event of extreme weather.
In a statement on its website, it said: “During special circumstances, such as extreme weather events, normal drivers’ hours limits can be exceeded in order for drivers to reach a safe stopping place necessary for public safety (including the safety of the driver, other road users, the load or and the vehicle).”
For example, if a commercial vehicle driver gets stuck on a closed road, or experiences a serious delay due to bad weather, they are allowed to continue travelling to a safe parking zone even if this exceeds their normal drivers’ hours.
However, during severe weather, drivers are advised to only travel if absolutely essential and to follow all official road and weather warnings.
DfT added that the decision to travel is at the discretion of the driver. However, they must also ensure that road safety is not compromised when finding a safe and secure stopping place.
In addition, emergency exemptions are available for certain operations, when deviation from the normal rules is needed to avoid:
- danger to life or health of people or animals
- serious interruption to the maintenance of public services (e.g. water, gas, electricity, drainage) or in the use of roads
- serious interruption in private or public transport
- serious damage to property
Full details of how the exemptions work and apply to your operation can be found in guidance on DfT's website.
If you have any uncertainty or queries about the use of the emergencies or rescue operations exemption, contact DfT's Freight Operator Licensing and Roadworthiness Division on 020 7944 2123. Out of hours: 020 7944 5999.