Managing weekly driver rest requirements should be best practice for operators

Managing weekly rest for your driver’s hours should be a standard regular task for operators, depending on type of work, shift patterns and the experience of drivers – compliance management software firm Aquarius has urged.

However, as is often the case with legislation-based documentation, there can be some unusual interpretations of the drivers hours, Aquarius co-founder Guy Reynolds told CM. In this case, he said, a question has arisen specifically around fixed two-week rest window.

“A recent suggestion has emerged whereby if a driver ensures that they take a weekly rest before six days (in line with the requirement for 45hrs and 24hrs, plus compensation) then two consecutive weeks rest can be ignored” he said.

“It would be unusual for a driver that is working Monday to Friday shift pattern to come across this problem. However, if a driver’s pattern of work means that weekly rest is continuously taken on different days of the week, then eventually there will be a problem. On those occasions that a weekly rest crosses two weeks (Sunday to Monday), it is important to understand that the weekly rest can only belong to one week not both.”

Reynolds said that the confusion seemed to be around the definition of a ‘week’, with some inferences that a ‘week’ may be defined as a working week or alternatively the time between two weekly rest periods. This is not the case, he said, pointing to EC. 561/2006 - which defines a week as the period of time between 00.00 on Monday and 24.00 on Sunday.

“Any conscientious operator should have access to the appropriate resources for Drivers Hours knowledge so that hopefully, with careful monitoring this kind of situation can be easily managed causing no infringements for the driver,” he said. 

Article 8 of (EC) 561/2006 states:

  • In any two consecutive weeks a driver shall take at least:two regular weekly rest periods, or
  • one regular weekly rest period and one reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours.

A weekly rest period shall start no later than at the end of six 24-hour periods from the end of the previous weekly rest period.

It also states that:

  • A weekly rest period that falls in two weeks may be counted in either week, but not in both.

Reynolds said that it is not enough to simply comply with no more than six day (144hrs) between weekly rest periods, and that the driver must also pay attention to the requirement to take two 45hrs rests (or at least one 45hrs and one 24hrs rest, with compensation, in any two fixed weeks).

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