The Department for Transport recently announced that the current limited drivers’ hours relaxation will be extended until at least 11:59pm on Tuesday 21 April 2020; this will apply to all road haulage operations. Why? Because logistics is a fundamental operation in the fight against Covid-19 right now.
This announcement came following the mounting pressure on transport and distribution as the Coronavirus outbreak has seen a sharp increase in demand in a number of industries. The Government has taken steps to ease the pressure on drivers and to ensure that the country is getting all of the supplies it needs right now.
Amongst the other vital key workers that are keeping the UK operating throughout this pandemic, there are numbers of delivery drivers who are also working tirelessly to keep our shops full, our pharmacies supplied and our country afloat.
Temporary Covid-19 Limited Drivers’ Hours Relaxation: What’s Been Lifted?
Before the Covid-19 epidemic, ‘HGV driver hours’ were in place, under current EU regulations (that still included those operating just in the UK), the rules were:
- 9 hours daily driving limit (which can be increased to 10 hours, twice a week).
- Maximum of 56 hours weekly driving limit.
- Maximum of 90 hours fortnightly driving limit.
- There should be a 45-minute break for every 4.5 hours of driving.
- Breaks can be split into two (e.g. 15 mins and 30 mins) so long as they are both taken every 4.5 hours.
- Drivers should take a daily rest period of 11 hours, this again can be split but both periods need to be uninterrupted, this can be reduced to 9 hours daily rest period but only 3 times per week.
However, since the Coronavirus pandemic changed life as we know it, these restrictions have been temporarily redacted to accommodate for the increased demand in transport and logistics across the board. This means that hauliers can operate outside of these rules and longer hours can be worked.
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the HRA, commented that the relaxation: “Improves resilience in a way that ensures all goods can reach the area where they are needed.”
What Do The Lifted Restrictions Mean For Hauliers?
In short, this temporary lift will mean that HGV drivers will be able to better accommodate the increase in demand for their services during this time.
It may see hauliers working longer hours, but as unseen key workers in the Covid-19 fight, their determination and willingness is what will help keep our economy ticking along in all respects.
How To Look After Your Mental Health While On The Road
There’s no doubt that these are concerning times for us all right now, whatever industry you operate in. Logistics drivers are, albeit rather unseen, instrumental key workers during this pandemic. As such, longer hours may sometimes be required, especially following the temporary pause on EU regulations.
Working under pressure and for longer in a day might bring about some strains on your mental health. Working in logistics is an opportunistic and exciting career, but as with any line of work, it has its challenges too. Here’s some of our top advice for looking after your mental health when working longer hours:
- Open a window – when driving on A-roads and along streets, opening a window and allowing yourself to absorb some vitamin D may make a difference to your wellbeing. We’re fortunate to have pleasant weather in the UK at the moment (but who knows for how long) – make the most of it.
- Play some music – clinical trials have proven that music can help boost your mood and reduce anxiety, the current climate is stressful, so allow yourself to relax a little with a playlist of your favourite songs.
- Focus on the positives – make a note, whether that be a mental note or a written one, of all the things to be positive about, it’ll help to keep you grounded when things get stressful.
- Remember you’re doing great – and finally, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re amongst Britain’s key workers, who are working tirelessly and selflessly in the face of a pandemic to keep the country running efficiently. Without HGV drivers, our shelves would be barren, our healthcare system would struggle and there’d be a plethora of other implications. When times get testing, remember why you’re working in logistics and who you’re working for.
What are your opinions on the Governments temporary relaxation of EU driving restrictions, do you welcome them or oppose them? Let us know on Twitter.
The Barnes Group is one of the UK’s leading providers of logistical support and warehousing to time critical businesses. With over 80 vehicles in our fleet, we support a nationwide client base. For more information about us and how we can support your business with logistics, in these unprecedented times and thereafter, get in touch.