Driving hours rules relaxed for Operation Stack

EU drivers hours rules have been temporarily relaxed for journeys affected by Operation Stack in Kent. DfT has agreed to a temporary and limited, exceptional relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules for the drivers whose journeys are affected by the disruption and for drivers of commercial vehicles operated by local operators based in Kent. It sees the replacement of the EU daily driving limit of nine hours with one of 11 hours. It also includes the reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to nine hours. However, drivers will still need to take a 45 minute break after four and a half hours driving.

The exemption applies to drivers whose journeys are delayed due to the industrial action or disruption at Calais and who:
• have used a cross channel ferry or Eurotunnel to reach or leave Kent; or
• are waiting within Kent for departure to mainland Europe; or
• are driving a commercial vehicle operated from an operating centre in Kent and whose journey has been disrupted.

The disruption to cross-Channel commercial vehicle traffic through the Tunnel and to some ferry routes to and from Kent is being caused by industrial action at the Port of Calais and incidents at the Euro Tunnel terminal and Channel Tunnel. This has resulted in Operation Stack being invoked on the M20.

This temporary relaxation is now in place and will run for a period of 30 days at the times when Operation Stack is active. Up to date information on the status of Operation Stack is available from Kent Police and Highways England. The enforcement of working time rules have not been relaxed for this period. The drivers in question must note on the back of their tachograph charts or printouts the reasons why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits. DfT is keeping the relaxation in constant review and may withdraw or suspend it with less than 24 hours’ notice.

The official announcement of these relaxations can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/449728/port-of-calais-industrial-action-notification-of-temporary-relaxation-of-the-enforcement-of-drivers_-hours-rules.pdf

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