Drivers of heavy vehicles must take necessary breaks and not drive for too long. This is regulated by compulsory daily and weekly rest periods.

The regulations in brief

The regulations apply in the EEA and Switzerland. If you are driving into, from, in or between countries outside the EEA, the AETR agreement (European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport) applies. The rules are largely identical to the rules that apply in the EU/ EEA.

The rules apply to drivers of lorries and buses.

Daily driving period

  • After a maximum of 4.5 hours of driving, you must take a break for at least 45 minutes.
  • Breaks must be spent on rest and not used for other work.

Daily rest period

  • The daily rest period must be at least 11 consecutive hours, or at least three plus nine hours of rest.
  • The daily rest period may be reduced to nine hours a maximum of three times between two weekly rest periods.

Weekly driving period

  • The maximum total weekly driving time is 56 hours (provided that an agreement has been entered into in accordance with the rules on working hours  for drivers).
  • If you drive for two weeks in a row, the maximum total weekly driving time is 90 hours (provided that an agreement has been entered into in accordance with the rules on working hours for drivers).

Weekly rest period

  • A weekly rest period of at least 45 hours must be taken after no more than six days of working.
  • The weekly rest period can be reduced to 24 hours every second week (a corresponding rest period must be taken to compensate for the reduction).

Tachographs provide correct records of the hours driven

If you are covered by the drivers’ hours regulations, a tachograph must be fitted in your vehicle. The tachograph keeps track of the driving time and tells you when to take a break. If the vehicle is equipped with a digital tachograph, you need a driver card. Such cards, known as DIFAS cards (DIFAS is the name of the NPRA’s electronic driver card register), must be ordered from a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office. If the vehicle is equipped with an analogue tachograph, you need diagram charts that must be replaced at the end of the daily driving period.

The purpose of the regulations is to ensure road safety, fair competition on equal terms and good working conditions for the driver.

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