HGV driving hours: Driving limits, breaks and rest periods explained

HGV driving hours: Driving limits, breaks and rest periods explained

Despite the widespread use of software packages in place of traditional tachographs, 46.3% of all HGV offences that lead to prosecution are down to drivers’ hours.

Although traffic problems and transport managers may be part of the blame in some of these prosecutions – it is up to you as the driver to stick to your HGV driving hours under the rules set out by the government.


Day 319 - West Midlands Police - CMPG Heavy Goods Vehicle

Here’s a reminder of the rules on driving limits, breaks and rest periods…

Driving limits

Driving time is classed as the duration of driving activity recorded by the equipment in-cab, or manually in the event the equipment is broken. Driving time includes off-road journeys where there is use of a public highway at any point.

  • The daily driving limit is 9 hours (10 hours twice a week)
  • You must not drive for more than 4.5 hours at any one time
  • The weekly driving limit is 56 hours
  • A fixed week starts at 00:00 Monday and ends at 24:00 on the Sunday
  • The two-weekly driving limit is 90 hours
  • You must take daily and weekly rests as part of this limit


A break is defined as a period during which you may not carry out any driving or any other work and which is used solely for recuperation. This break can be undertaken in a moving vehicle, providing you do no other work.

  • After 4.5 hours of driving, you must take a 45 minute break
  • Two breaks lasting 15 minutes and 30 minutes is acceptable

For more information on breaks, read the Government’s document on Rules and Drivers’ Hours by clicking here.

Rest periods

HGV drivers must take a daily rest within each 24 hour period. An 11 hour (or more) daily rest is called a ‘regular daily rest period’. This must be uninterrupted and not include any additional work from your employer or your own business, as an example.

  • You can reduce your daily rest period to 9 hours
  • This can only be done no more than 3 times between any two-weekly periods
  • Split daily rest periods can also be taken through a 24 hour period
  • 1st rest should be at least 3 hours, and the 2nd rest at least 9 hours

Are you with the right agency?

Whether it’s bad planning or a lack of interest in your welfare, HGV driver agencies should be there to protect you and help you stick to the driver hours’ regulations.


Call us now on 01335 346800