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  • HGV Driving Hours and documents needed post Brexit

    HGV driving hours and documents

    We might not be any closer to a resolution on when and how the UK will leave the EU, but as the uncertainty around Brexit endures, businesses are being urged to prepare themselves for the possibility of a no-deal departure.

    For UK citizens living and working within the EU, preparing for life post Brexit is a top priority, not least of all for industries whose operations are currently dictated by EU law and legislation.

    UK-based haulage operators are one such sector being prompted by the Government to make concessions for a no-deal scenario, so what exactly does this mean for Britain’s HGV drivers on the ground?

    To curb the confusion surrounding Britain’s upcoming EU departure, we’ve outlined the most recent advice available, to help haulage operators be ready in the event no-deal becomes a reality.

    How HGV Drivers hours will be affected after Brexit

    One of the biggest concerns among HGV drivers currently is the implication of a no-deal Brexit on driver hours. Presently, the length of time a lorry driver can consecutively travel, and the amount of mandatory breaks required, are dictated by the EU Driver’s Hours Rules.

    These regulations were put into effect EU-wide, and affect drivers, not just within the UK, but also in every EU member country. Effectively the rules impose restrictions around the number of hours a driver can be on the road in any one length of time, a mandate that was brought in to ensure drivers receive enough rest periods to prevent against exhaustion.

    At the present time HGV drivers need not worry about any change to driving hours after Brexit. As the UK also adopted these regulations as law within the UK Transport Act 1968, these rules will remain in place even if we crash out of the EU with a no-deal. However, it’s worth being aware that the UK Working Time Directive is due for review soon so, as and, when this takes place drivers may well see changes come into effect.

    Will UK driving licences still be accepted in the EU after Brexit?

    A question mark around the validity of UK driving licences in the UK post a no-deal Brexit has also been the cause of concern among road users. British residents who reside in the EU on a permanent basis have been advised to exchange their UK driving licence for a local-issue driving licence in the country where they’re permanently based. This will ensure that even after Britain leaves the EU, UK drivers living in an EU member state for periods of 12 months or more can continue to drive legally, without having to re-take a test locally.

    HGV drivers who live in the UK will still be able to use their UK-issued driving licence when making journeys within the EU with an IDP (International Driving Permit), as is the current standard practice. However, the type of IDP required in the event of a no-deal Brexit is subject to change - and in some cases already has. As of 28 March 2019, the Government published advice that some countries previously accepting UK-issued 1926 IDP and 1949 IDP have now ceased doing so. So before embarking on any haulage journeys within the EU, operators and HGV drivers should check the current IDP documentation requirements for all countries that make up the entirety of their journey. The Government offers this information regarding IDP applications.

    In addition to checking you hold the correct IDP for your destination(s) of travel, the government also advises that all vehicle registration documents be carried within the vehicle while driving in the EU, and that a GB sticker is displayed, even for vehicles’ whose number plate already features GB identification. Please note – even if Britain leaves the EU with no deal, UK HGV drivers won’t need an IDP for road travel in Ireland, as the current law states that all non-EU drivers are permitted to drive in Ireland without the need for an IDP.  

    Port & ferry disruptions – how this impacts working time regulations

    While the government is quick to assure it’s doing all it can to prevent vehicle backlogs at ferry terminals, in the event Britain leaves the EU without a deal, some delays can reasonably be expected.

    With haulage drivers’ journeys governed by strict time compliance laws, drivers will need to consider how additional wait-times may impact on their maximum weekly or fortnightly drive times.

    Presently, EU laws (which Britain is expected to remain compliant with after Brexit) dictate that haulage vehicle drivers can work no more than 56 hours in a single week, or a total of 90 hours in a fortnight. The law also imposes strict mandatory rest periods, which drivers must adhere to, including at least 11 hours rest per day and an unbroken rest period of 45 hours per week. In addition, drivers must stop for at least 45 minutes rest, every 4.5 hours and be interrupted no more than twice during a regular rest period, of which the interruption must not exceed one hour.

    These rules have been designed to allow for embarkation or disembarkation while making a ferry crossing. However, with delays anticipated at ports following Britain’s EU departure, Drivers’ Working Hours could be indirectly affected - something haulage operators will need to pay close attention to in the immediate aftermath of Brexit to avoid penalties or non-compliance.

    Access HGV drivers’ hours inforgraphic

    We’ve consolidated the rules on driver’s hours into a handy and digestible HGV Driving Hours infographic you can access here. We encourage HGV drivers to pay careful attention to the above rules and regulations, and if you have any concerns or queries prior to embarking on a long haul journey that takes you into EU member states, to raise these with your employer accordingly.

    Download our HGV Driver
    Hours and Rests Guide PDF

    A word on passports for HGV drivers

    Please note, a passport with at least six months’ validity – from your planned date of arrival - is still required if you’re planning to travel outside of the UK in the event Britain leaves the EU with no deal. This applies to travel within all Schengen areas – a full list of which is available on the UK Government website here.

    If you renewed your passport prior to its expiry date, up to nine months’ may be added to your new passport, however, additional months over 10 years may not be accepted as part of the six months’ remaining validity required to travel to EU countries.

    These new rules will apply if the UK departs Europe without an agreed deal in place and will govern passports issued by the UK, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and Gibraltar. These rules do not affect travel to Ireland. In addition, requirements for countries outside of the Schengen areas (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia) may be different to those listed above, and drivers should ensure they have the necessary entry requirements for these countries prior to travel in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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