Keeping you up to speed
Three sets of rules could apply to you as a van driver: EU rules, AETR rules and GB Domestic rules. However, for most British van drivers, the only rules that usually apply are the GB Domestic driving rules.
You will fall under the GB Domestic Driving rules if you drive a van under 3.5 tonnes and your journey is exclusively in the UK (GB rules also apply if your vehicle is exempt from EU rules, such as agricultural vehicles, breakdown vehicles, non-commercial minibuses and circus vehicles).
The GB Domestic driving rules don’t apply if you drive less than 4 hours per day or if your driving is not on roads.
The GB Domestic Driving rules limit the number of hours you can drive and the length of time you can be on duty in total.
These driving limits include:
The van driving rules also state that if you drive more than 4 hours per day or go beyond 50km of your base, you must keep a written record of your driving hours. This does not mean you need a tachograph in your van, but you must keep a formal record for two years.
In addition to the driving rules, the EU working time regulations may also apply, limiting you to 48 hours per week and giving you the right to adequate rest periods and paid holidays. These rules do not apply if you are self-employed, but should be used as a sensible guide anyway (see below).
Aside from complying with the regulations, it makes sense to watch your driving hours in order to keep yourself safe on the road. Whether you are employed as a driver, getting mandatory paid breaks, or self-employed, you should look after yourself behind the wheel. Tiredness can kill, so if you feel yourself becoming tired, take a break from your driving. Leave your van, have something to eat and perhaps close your eyes for a short nap until you feel refreshed.
It is always tempting to squeeze the maximum out of your day, especially if it is your own business, but if you injure yourself, or write off your van, by driving when you are too tired, you will end up getting far less done in the long run. Your van insurance may replace your van, but it probably won’t replace the lost income while you recover.
You can find out more about driving rules for van drivers by downloading the following pdfs: