Working hours rules for HGV drivers to be relaxed to ease the UK lorry driver shortage.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a ‘temporary extension’ of safety limits applied to the hours that HGV drivers are currently able to work, as a temporary fix for a severe shortage of drivers.

The extension will come into force on Monday 12th July allowing drivers and operators to make slightly longer journeys, with many industry professionals calling for the army to step in and help make deliveries.

HGV drivers however, vehemently oppose this relaxation of rules due to concerns over tiredness and increased risk of accidents on the road.

Under current rules, drivers can clock up a maximum of four nine-hour driving periods per week with a 45-minute break after each 4.5 hours spent driving. This can be extended twice a week to 10 hours behind the wheel, provided drivers take two 45-minute breaks but must not exceed 90 hours of driving over a two-week period.

The pandemic alongside Brexit has significantly impacted the HGV industry as many EU nationals have been forced to return to their native countries causing staff shortages in logistics and other sectors such as construction and hospitality.