If any of your employees make a work-related journey during working hours, there are various driving for work laws that apply in the UK. Your organisation’s driving for work policy should set out how you, as the employer, ensure that these responsibilities are met, as well as your expectations for drivers.

What are the rules for driving for work in the UK?

There are legal regulations and rules for employees driving company vehicles, as well as those using private vehicles to make a work-related journey. As an
employer, it is paramount that you have checks, processes and policies in place to make sure that you fulfil your legal responsibilities and your duty of care towards your employees.

In the event of an incident, you could be asked to prove that your organisation took all the steps that were reasonably practicable to adhere to driving for work laws UK and to protect your employees and other road users. That’s why carrying out driving for work risk assessments and having a driving for work policy in place are so important.

For goods vehicles, the set of rules that apply depends on the vehicle weight and use.

The GB domestic rules for van drivers apply if you drive a van or other commercial vehicle which has a maximum gross weight of 3.5 tonnes, or the vehicle is being used for trade or business purposes. The GB drivers’ hours rules apply to journeys made in Great Britain – Northern Ireland has a different set of domestic rules.

For any employee driving a goods vehicle, there are rules that need to be followed regarding duty time, drivers’ hours and daily limits. Employees must not drive for more than 10 hours a day, and must not be on duty more than 11 hours in a working day when driving. Here, on duty refers to any work relating to the vehicle – not just driving. So, if your driver is loading a van or cleaning their vehicle, this counts as duty time. Driving hours should be recorded, either on a weekly record sheet or on a tachograph.

There are some exemptions to the duty limit for certain professions or emergencies. As an employer, there are certain additional regulations that you must follow. Legally, you need to:

 Keep records of drivers’ hours for a minimum of one year, and be able to show these to enforcement officers
 Ensure that all drivers are adequately trained and understand the rules
 Schedule your driver’s time to ensure they are able to follow the rules
 Check and monitor drivers’ hours records, data and working time

You are not permitted to pay drivers based on speed of delivery, journey distance or the amount of goods carried by them. This is because it may encourage them to act outside of the rules.

Anyone who drives under the GB rules will also be subject to the Working Time Regulations 1998. These rules set limits on the 48-hour working week, as well as entitlements to annual leave and sufficient rest.

What are the new driver rules in the UK 2023?

Road safety laws and driver rules in the UK are regularly reviewed and updated in order to better protect road users. These changes will affect your organisation’s drivers, so it’s important that you keep up to date.

In 2023, a new 20 mph speed limit came into force on around 35% of roads in Wales. This was done based on a public health study which estimated that this change would reduce the likelihood of collisions and save lives. These 20mph zones are also used currently in some areas of London, and the Scottish Government has committed to reducing the speed limit in appropriate areas to 20 mph by the end of 2025.

As an employer, it’s important that your drivers are aware of these changes if they will affect their journey. In London, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expanded again in 2023. Any vehicle which does not meet the emission standards will face charges when driving through the zone. If one of your drivers has to change their route to avoid this, make sure that their schedule is adjusted accordingly to avoid unnecessary time pressure.

How many hours can a van driver work in UK?

The GB drivers’ hours rules apply to van drivers. As an employer, you must ensure that your employees do not exceed the legal driving hours for van drivers UK. There are plenty of helpful resources available for anyone who manages van drivers, including this Van Driver Toolkit.

The GB domestic rules on van driving hours set out a maximum of 10 hours of driving in a 24-hour period for anyone driving a commercial vehicle with a maximum permitted weight of under 3.5 tonnes. There is also a duty limit – this means that drivers can only be on duty for a maximum of 11 hours a day, and includes tasks like loading up the van before setting off.

This Van Driver Toolbox Talk on drivers’ hours explains what your responsibilities as an employer are regarding van drivers’ hours limits, and how you can make sure you’re fulfilling them.

What is the company driving policy in the UK?

HSE driving at work laws set out a series of laws and regulations for employers that manage anyone who drives for work. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of their employees and those who may be affected by their work. For employers who manage drivers, this means being able to demonstrate that you have the necessary policies and protections in place to fulfil your duty of care to your drivers and other road users.

Your driving for work policy is how you demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to minimising road risk. A robust driving for work policy example will cover the journey, the driver and the vehicle. It should detail expectations, rules, and responsibilities for both the employer and the employee, as well as the
consequences of non-compliance.

It’s really important to have a driving at work policy in place. Employers who manage and mitigate road risk in their organisation can be confident that they are legally compliant, more efficient, and better environments to work in. Road safety isn’t just a transport issue – it’s a health and safety issue with serious consequences for those who fail to manage the risk. And not just in the legal sense – we all want drivers to return home safe and well to their families at the end of the day, so having a comprehensive driving for work policy in place is a great way of proving your commitment to your employees’ health and safety.

If your organisation doesn’t have a driving for work policy, or you’re not sure if it’s up to date, the Driving for Better Business programme offer a free online Driving for Work Policy Builder which gives you access to a policy template to ensure you meet legal and compliance standards.

What are the rules for van drivers in the UK?

If you manage employees who drive a van for work, you need to make sure you fulfil your legal obligations. There are more than 4 million vans registered in the UK, and too many people are unaware of the legislation governing van drivers and van operations.

By making sure your drivers and vehicles adhere to the rules and regulations, you can:

 Reduce costs for your organisation
 Improve conditions for your drivers
 Ensure your vehicles are safe and legal
 Promote better health, safety and wellbeing for your drivers

Roadside stops for vans are increasing – and the average fine per offence is around £972. This makes non-compliance a costly problem for your organisation, so your organisation should take proactive steps to make sure your vans and drivers adhere to the standards.

The DVSA has set out regulations for van drivers. These cover who can drive a van, speed limits, weight limits, loading rules, drivers’ hours, and maintenance.

You must fulfil your responsibilities as an employer who manages drivers, and ensure that your drivers are adequately prepared and trained with regards to these regulations and wider road safety laws. Many drivers are unaware that vans have lower speed limits than cars. On a dual carriageway, a van’s speed must not exceed 60 mph, and on a single carriageway it must not exceed 50 mph. Failure to adhere to these speed limits can result in large fines and penalty points for speeding for your drivers, so make sure that your van drivers are well-informed of the different speed limits.

Vans also have a maximum weight once loaded. That weight limit doesn’t just refer to the load – it includes the van itself, the driver and any passengers, fuel, and the load. Any cargo must also be secured properly and safely – this is extremely important to avoid cargo entering the cab, or obstructing other road users in the event of an incident. The DVSA issues 2000 prohibitions a year for insecure loads, and it’s considered a priority road offence because it’s so dangerous.

You, as the employer, have a responsibility to make sure that your drivers understand why they need to secure loads, and how to do it safely. Ultimately, the driver is responsible for checking the load security, so even if someone else has loaded the van, they must check and approve it.

As mentioned earlier, your organisation has responsibilities regarding drivers’ working hours – these should not exceed 10 hours in a day. In the event of an incident involving an employee who was driving for work, your company could be liable, and you will be expected to prove you have taken steps to manage van driver risk.

What are the HGV laws in the UK?

One of the fundamental ways that fleet managers can keep their employees who drive HGVs safe is by managing driver hours. Tiredness and stress lead to driver distraction and poor decision-making. When an HGV is involved, this can lead to a serious, even fatal, incident. Driver fatigue needs to be taken seriously by drivers and fleet managers – it’s involved in 20% of all collisions.

In the UK, the EU rules still apply for HGVs. The standard daily driving limit for HGVs is 9 hours, and this can be increased to 10 hours on two occasions in a fixed week. Making sure your drivers have time for breaks is also vital. In fact, the regulations state that an HGV driver must have a break of at least 45 minutes every 4.5 hours of continuous driving. There is a weekly driving limit of 56 hours, and within each 24- hour period, your drivers must have at least 11 continuous hours of rest. The impact of an HGV can be catastrophic when involved in an incident – you must ensure your HGV drivers’ schedules are well-planned with sufficient rest periods to avoid driver fatigue and reduce road risk.

What is the 6-hour rule on a tachograph?

The Working Time Directive (WTD) states that HGV drivers may work for a maximum of 6 hours before taking a break of at least 15 minutes. Working time includes driving time as well as time spent loading, checking or cleaning the vehicle. This break can be taken before or at the 6-hour mark, but a driver cannot continue driving after 6 continuous hours of driving without taking their break. If working for between 6 to 9 hours, then this break needs to be a minimum of 30 minutes in total before the driver’s shift ends. Similarly, if working over 9 hours, this increases to 45 minutes. This can be taken all at once or broken down into 15-minute breaks, but any period of less than 15 minutes won’t qualify as a break.

What is an example of a company driving policy?

A company driving for work policy should lay out how an organisation is meeting its obligations as detailed by UK driving for work laws. It should cover the vehicle, the journey and the driver, as well as expectations and responsibilities for both the employer and the employee. It’s a great way to ensure, and prove, that your organisation has policies and procedures in place to minimise risk as required by law.

Whether you need to create a driving at work policy from scratch, or already have a policy but want to check if it’s up to date and compliant, the Driving for Better Business Driving for Work Policy Builder offers a free, ready-made template. It covers all the relevant sections and can be tailored to your organisation, so you can have peace of mind that you have demonstrated your commitment to managing road risk in your organisation.