How many hours am I allowed to drive my van for?

For most same day couriers within the UK the only legal restrictions on driving and working time will be the domestic drivers’ hours rules and some aspects of the Working Time Directive.

The GB Domestic Drivers’ Hours Rules apply to all drivers of goods vehicles, however small, driven in Great Britain (Northern Ireland has its own rules) in connection with a business, where EU drivers’ hours rules (tacho regulations) don’t apply.

The rules are quite straightforward. In any day (defined as 24 hours from the start of duty) you’re allowed to drive for a maximum of 10 hours. Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 4:19 pm, July 24, 2008

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DHL Driver Convicted After Train Crash

21 year old DHL van driver Graham Foster was recently convicted of endagering the safety of train passengers following a collision with a train on an unmanned level crossing.

Most newspaper reports have picked up on the driver blindly following his satnav’s instructions and ignoring warning signs but other reports make the situation clearer.

“The DHL delivery driver had started work at 7.30am that morning. It had been a long day for him and he had only made 85 drops out of 120 he had to complete by the time of the accident.

“It was a strange area to him and he was under a great deal of pressure to get the delivery out first and foremost.

“This is a 21-year-old man who was under significant pressure from his employers.

“He was panicked and fairly stressed and at the time of the accident still had 35 packages to deliver.”

The accident happened at 1735 – the driver had already been working for over 10 hours and had done 85 drops out 120 in a rural area of Northumberland that he was unfamiliar with. His satnav Read More…

Posted under Drivers' Hours, SatNav

Posted by Alec at 10:45 am, July 23, 2008

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Karoshi – Occupational Sudden Death

Karoshi is a Japanese word which is literally translated as “death from overwork”. It generally refers to sudden deaths by stroke or heart attack caused by work-related stress.

In 2006 a 45-year-old Toyota employee died, apparently from working less than 20 hours overtime per week in the run up to launching a new product.

His death has now been classed as an industrial injury, meaning that his family can claim against his employers’ insurances.

60 hours per week is classed as a short week by many in the UK same day courier industry. While HGV drivers are limited by law to 48 hours work a week and any employed workers can insist on working a maximum of 48 hours per week with 5 weeks holiday per year, many courier owner-drivers and courier company owner-managers work in excess of 70 hours per week with few if any holidays.

For the working man, doing his best to provide for his family, is it not better to have a few more years to spend with the family, rather than a few extra quid each year and an early death? Life is apparently a journey, not a destination.

(Written by me, working at 1837 on a Saturday evening)

Posted under Courier Basics, Courier Business, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 6:37 pm, July 19, 2008

The Working Time Directive and Road Transport Directive for Couriers

I won’t go into the full details of the Road Transport Directive (RTD) here since most companies affected by it are haulage companies rather than same day couriers and should have a CPC holder with knowledge of such matters. I’ll cover it in full in a future posting. Since the RTD has much stricter rules than the Working Time Directive it’s important to know whether you’re covered by it.

Does the RTD apply?

The RTD applies only to mobile workers who work in vehicles to which EU drivers’ hours rules apply – that is vehicles with a tachograph fitted. THIS WILL INCLUDE MOST DRIVERS OF TRANSIT OR SPRINTER VANS USED TO TOW TRAILERS.

‘Working in’ would include driving, shunting, navigating, training, loading etc and would include driver’s mates.

It applies to some self-employed drivers under limited circumstances but looks set to include all self-employed drivers (of vehicles with tachos) from March 2009.

Workers who only occasionally drive or work in vehicles to which EU drivers’ hours rules apply are still subject to the RTD even when not driving if they work in vehicles with tachos for 11 days or more during a reference period that is shorter than 26 weeks or 16 days or more where the reference period is 26 weeks or longer.

For example a warehouseman who takes a 7.5 tonner out to refuel it now and again would be covered by the RTD during all his working time if he drove the 7.5 on 11 separate days during the reference period, even if it was for just ten minutes each time.

A worker who is covered by the RTD because of work carried out for one employer would also be covered by the RTD if he carries out any other work for other employers – weekend work for example.

A mobile worker who isn’t covered by the RTD is still covered by the Working Time Directive (WTD)

What does the WTD mean to couriers?

The Working Time Directive does not apply Read More…

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 3:27 pm, July 19, 2008

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Driver over legal driving hours, has an accident, any liability?

Just an accident? Prosecution under Health & Safety at Work Act, prosecution for drivers hours offences, invalidated insurance, unlimited damages to any injured party.

In the case of death caused by a driver working those hours the company and its management face prosecution for Corporate Manslaughter.

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Legal Issues

Posted by Alec at 10:43 am, May 23, 2008

Driving Hours

I feel a FAQ answer coming on….
But in the meantime….

If they’re only driving vehicles that aren’t on tacho they’re covered by the Working Time Directive but not by the Road Transport Directive – so they’re allowed to opt out of the hours requirement of the WTD.

They’re also covered by the UK domestic driving rules which limits them to a maximum of 10 hours per day driving and 11 hours per day total ‘duty time’.

No written records need to be kept, but if your employee was to drive for say 11 hours a day and had an accident that killed someone (or him) you’d probably be charged with manslaughter.

Posted under Courier Basics, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 1:14 pm, April 26, 2008

Tachos & Speed Limiters for up to 3500kg

It’s bullshit. The EU directive that brought in compulsory speed limiters for 3.5-7.5t vehicles was passed in 2002 after 2 or 3 years of discussions and it still won’t be fully implemented until next January. As far as I’m aware there isn’t even a draft directive under discussion for the introduction of speed limiters for vans under 3.5t and even if there was you’d be talking at least 5 years in the future before they did anything about it.

The UK could always go it alone and pass our own legislation without an EU directive but they’d go through a full consultation process first and they haven’t even made noises about it being on the agenda.

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Vans

Posted by Alec at 8:44 pm, November 14, 2007

O Licensing for trailers

You need a tacho, but you don’t need an O-licence as long as the unladen weight of the trailer is 1020kg or less.

Posted under Drivers' Hours, Towing, Vans

Posted by Alec at 4:32 pm, June 4, 2007