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Research into Drivers’ Hours and Working Time

15 September 2023

The fatigue of drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) is managed, from a regulatory perspective, through a combination of legislation which includes limits on the number of hours that a driver may drive, tasks a driver may undertake other than driving, and which imposes requirements for the duration and frequency of rest breaks. In exceptional circumstances, for example where time is critical and impacts will be severe if relaxation is not permitted, a temporary relaxation of driving time limits and/or rest drivers’ hours regulations can be considered. However, to date, there has been no co-ordinated research conducted to assess the benefits and disadvantages that have resulted from these relaxation periods, or the impact they have had on driver fatigue. 


Using a combination of research activities, this project aimed to address this weakness.


The specific objectives of the research project were to understand:

• The impact that drivers’ hours regulations have on cumulative driver fatigue.

• The impact that drivers’ hours regulations have on cumulative driver fatigue during periods of regulation relaxation.

• The impact of drivers’ hours regulations on road safety, driver welfare, and attractiveness of the occupation, including during periods of regulation relaxation.

• The perceived effectiveness of the current processes for industry requests for driver relaxations, including existing guidance, and how this may be adapted for future relaxations.


The full TRL project report is now available.

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