Compliance and record-keeping

Commercial Motor
December 21, 2006

What’s it all about?

Truck operators are legally required to comply with drivers’ hours rules and the working time rules incorporated in the UK in The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2003 and The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005.

Firms are also legally required to keep certain records to prove that compliance. The requirements for compliance and record keeping vary between UK domestic drivers’ hours rules, EU drivers hours rules and the two applicable sets of working time rules.

In the case of EU drivers’ hours, compliance is currently further complicated by the fact that the rules changed on 11th April 2007 when the Regulation (EC) No 561/2006 took effect.

What records are required for UK domestic drivers’ hours rules?

Under the Drivers’ Hours (Keeping of Records) Regulations 1987, not all operators are required to hold written records but where they are, drivers must use written log books or tachograph records to demonstrate compliance with the domestic hours rules.

Log books should include the employer’s name and operating licence details, some instructions on the use of the book itself, the driver’s details, the date the book was first used, the date the book was last used and should also contain weekly sheets and duplicates showing each day’s driving activities.

Drivers must complete weekly sheets and employers must sign each completed sheet, detach the duplicate and then return the book to the driver. Completed books must be kept by the driver for 14 days after the employer has signed the last sheet, then returned to the employer who must keep them for a further period of 12 months.

When do written records NOT need to be kept under domestic drivers’ hours rules?

Written records do not need to be kept to prove compliance with domestic drivers’ hours rules if:

  • The vehicle being driven on a particular day is not in scope of operator licensing.
  • The vehicle being driven is in scope of operator licensing but the driver doesn’t drive for more than four hours on the day in question and also does not drive outside a 100km radius of the vehicle’s operating centre on the day.
  • Full tachograph records are kept in accordance with all legal tachograph requirements instead.

What records are required for EU drivers’ hours rules?

Under EU hours rules most large goods vehicles must be fitted with an approved tachograph and drivers must use that tachograph to record their daily driving activities.

When using an analogue tachograph, drivers must enter all their details on the chart including:

  • Name
  • Vehicle registration
  • Date and place where the driving record begins and ends
  • Time of any change of vehicle
  • Relevant odometer readings

Drivers must keep the current week’s tachograph charts and those for the previous 28 calender days but should return charts to their employer within 42 days of completion. Employers should keep all charts for at least a year after their use.

More guidance on drivers’ hours rules and tachograph usage.

More information about digital tachographs.

What records are required to prove working time compliance?

In terms of compliance with the main working time rules as required by the Horizontal Amending Directive (see The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2003), employers must keep records to show that:

  • weekly working time and night work limits have been complied with
  • regular health assessments have been offered to night workers

You also need to keep an up-to-date record of workers who have ‘opted out’ of the 48-hour average weekly limit. However you do NOT need to record how many hours such workers actually work.

More information about general working time records.

In terms of the requirements of the Road Transport Directive as implemented in The Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005, working time records must be kept by the employer for two years after the period in question.

The regulations do not specify exactly what records should be kept, but the records kept will need to demonstrate that weekly working time and night work limits have been observed.

Employers must also keep a record of any relevant agreement they may have with employees about night work limits.

Points to Ponder

Employers must organise drivers’ work in such a way that they are in compliance with the EU drivers’ hours rules and must issue drivers with sufficient tachograph charts and/or digital tachograph printer rolls to record their activities properly.

They must also be able to show proper procedures for monitoring drivers’ tachograph records and taking action if the rules are broken. Note that failing to check drivers’ tachograph records may be regarded as ‘permitting’ hours offences and that causing or permitting breaches of the drivers’ hours rules is, in itself, an offence.

Drivers’ hours rules only require tachograph records to be kept for a year, while working time rules require records to be kept for two years. Thus, firms who choose to use tachographs as a contributory source of data for working time compliance must remember to keep their tachograph records for a period of two years after the working period in question.

Updated by Lucy Wood & Anton Balkitis
Freephone: 0800 046 3066

About the Author


Commercial Motor is the online presence for Commercial Motor magazine, the world’s oldest magazine dedicated to the commercial vehicle industry.

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