Driving and rest times – Simply explained!

    If you are caught failing to comply with the driving and rest periods, you and your employer will be hit with some severe fines. Statutory break times are there to minimise the risk of accidents, which are particularly serious when a truck is involved. If you stick to them, you reduce the likelihood of being tired and inattentive at the wheel.

    What does the regulation concerning driving personnel say?

    The regulation concerning driving personnel is the law which prescribes the driving times and the break times for truckers. It limits the daily driving time to nine hours and stipulates that the driver must take a break of at least 45 minutes after four and a half hours on the road. The daily rest period is eleven hours, the maximum driving time per week 56 hours. In two consecutive weeks, you may only spend a total of 90 hours on the road. The weekly rest period is 45 hours.

    There are exceptions for driving and break times regulated by law

    The above-mentioned rules apply in principle. However, as a truck driver you are allowed to increase your daily driving time from nine hours to ten hours twice a week. Neither do you have to take the 45-minute break after four and a half hours in one go. You can also divide it up and take one 15 minute and one 30 minute break. You can also reduce the weekly rest period once to 24 hours by taking a full 45 hour break the week before and the week after.

    Exceptions are also permitted for daily rest periods: You don’t have to take an eleven-hour break in one go if you get bored with it. Instead, you can split the rest period into three hours and nine hours. Three times between two weekly rest periods, you may also reduce the daily rest periods to 9 hours, as long as this occurs once within a full 24 hours. You do not need to compensate for this.

    Traffic jams count as driving time

    It doesn’t seem fair, but if you’re stuck in a traffic jam, waiting at a level crossing, or slowly crawling to a traffic light, the driving time carries on running. Although you do not move or hardly move, that does not stop the driving time from ticking. After all, you have to spend all your time at the wheel and stay awake and alert.

    Here is an overview of the driving and rest times: 

    Daily driving time Weekly driving time Longest driving time for 2 weeks Break times Daily rest periods Weekly rest periods
    Duration 9h 56h 90h 45 Min.
    after 4,5h
    11h 45h
    Possible exceptions 10h
    twice a week
    Can be split in
    15 and 30 Min.
    Can be reduced to 9h three times a week Between two weeks with full breaks reduction to 24 h possible

    Summary: Truck driving times are not complicated, but sensible

    Some truck drivers complain about the additional burden imposed on them by driving times and rest periods. It is often difficult to reach your destination within the estimated time. However, this law does not exist for nothing. It is intended to protect you and others from what can happen if you get tired and have an accident. Fatigue is not easy to assess – you may still feel alert, but on the motorway even a brief moment of inattention can be fatal. Accordingly, it is best for you and all other road users if you comply with the statutory driving and rest periods – not only because of the fine if you are caught.

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