New rules to ensure that commercial drivers and crew do not work too many hours were laid before Parliament today.
The government said the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 will further improve safety on our roads and help to make the road transport industry more attractive to new recruits.
The new Regulations will come into force on 4 April 2005 and will apply to commercial drivers and crews of heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles in Great Britain.
The main provisions of the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations are:
- Weekly working time is limited to an average of 48 hours (normally calculated over a four-month reference period)
- A maximum of 60 hours work can be performed in a single week, so long as the average 48 hour limit is maintained
- Night workers are restricted to 10 hours working time in any 24-hour period,
- Requirements relating to breaks that workers must be allowed.
Transport minister David Jamieson said: "These regulations should deliver safety benefits for drivers and other road users, improve drivers' working conditions and help make the road transport sector more attractive as a career choice.
"We have worked closely with industry and unions to ensure that the new arrangements are practical, clear and equitable,” he said.
“We intend to review the new rules in the light of operational experience to make sure that this remains the case."
Employers have voiced concerns that limiting hours will leave them short-staffed and will stop drivers working overtime to supplement their incomes.