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Reservists get exemption from EU drivers' hours rules

24 February 2009

The Department for Transport has announced that Territorial Army reservists who drive for a living can take part in weekend military training after the Government secured an important exemption from EU drivers' hours rules, Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick announced today.

The European Commission has agreed that professional drivers can take part in reservist exercises at the weekend without breaking general rules on weekly rest requirements. It means a driver who finishes his normal driving duties on a Friday can complete a 34-hour period of military training and then resume his normal driving duties again on a Monday morning - as long as new safeguards are met.

The new exemption will benefit volunteer reserve forces in the Territorial Army, Royal Navy Reservists, Royal Marine Reservists and Royal Auxiliary Air Force as well as cadet instructors.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"It is vital that men and women who want to serve their country are not prevented from doing so because they are professional drivers. That is why I am delighted the Government has been able to secure this important exemption from EU drivers' hours rules for reservists who drive for a living.

"We've incorporated safeguards to make sure drivers continue to get enough rest before getting behind the wheel so this exemption will make a real difference to reservists without compromising on safety."

The following safeguards have been incorporated into the exemption to ensure that road safety is not jeopardised:

  • The exemption will apply to 15 days' annual camp and 10 weekend training sessions per annum - a total of 35 days. Weekend training will not be allowed to take place on consecutive weeks (other than in respect of the 15-day annual camp);
  • a regular daily rest period of 11 hours must be taken between the end of weekend training and start of work for the primary employer;
  • a regular weekly rest period of 45 hours must be taken no later than at the end of the sixth day following a period of weekend training.

The Ministry of Defence will issue guidelines that outline how drivers can manage their volunteer reserve service in accordance with the exemption.

Public Enquiries are to be made using the following number: 020 7944 8300.

RoadSafe supports any measure to ensure the appropriate management of occupational road risk. Indeed, the purpose of the Driving for Better Business campaign is to raise awareness about this issue. To become involved with this campaign, visit www.drivingforbetterbusiness.com

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