A guide to HGV driving rules and regulations

Driving a HGV takes precision and skill so it’s no surprise that in addition to a specialist driving licence, HGVs, and their drivers, are regulated by a variety of strict UK laws and legislation. These include mandatory limits on the total number of daily and weekly hours drivers can work, and drivers having to take regular breaks.

How many hours can HGV drivers work for?

Professional drivers need to stay alert and vigilant at all times in order to ensure they operate vehicles safely.  This means they are required to take a 45-minute break for every 4.5 hours they are on the road. They can also only work a total of 36 hours per week, or 90 hours in any two week rolling period.

How must vehicles be maintained?

By law, vehicles need to be safe to operate on roads so that they pose no risks to others. Drivers are required to carry out a number of comprehensive vehicle safety checks, including:

  • Ensuring the vehicle is clean
  • Ensuring a vehicle’s load is safe and secure
  • Verifying number plates are visible
  • Testing electrical connections
  • Testing the brakes are in full working order
  • Checking tyres and wheel fixings
  • Inspecting bodywork
  • Ensuring the battery is in good condition
  • Inspecting lights and indicators to ensure bulbs are working
  • Checking windscreen wipers and washers
  • Ensuring that they always have good driver visibility from the cab

Accredited schemes for HGV operators

Although not mandatory, many HGV operators are members of voluntary schemes, such as FORS, CLOCS and Logistic UK’s Van Excellence Code. These initiatives help companies ensure they are operating fleets to minimum best practice standards while enhancing overall safety. This includes fitting vehicle safety devices, such as Brigade’s cameras, sensors and warning alarms, to support drivers, eliminate blind spots and help prevent deaths and injuries caused by accidents.

Road rules and regulations for HGVs

For fleets operating in Greater London, or travelling overseas, further regulations apply. For example, London’s Direct Vision Standard, which came into force in October 2020, affects vehicles weighing more than 12 tonnes. Vehicles are issued with a star rating indicating how much a driver can see from the cab in relation to other road users. HGVs that don’t meet the minimum standards need to comply with the Safe System – a retrofit kit that includes a camera, in-cab monitor, proximity sensors, audible driver warning, and a real speech warning alarm that alerts vulnerable road users that they are in the driver’s blind spot.

Keeping our roads and workplaces safe for everyone is our top priority here at Brigade. If you need further information about how we can help, or you would like to know more about our range of safety products, please get in touch