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Drivers’ hours and tachographs The   rules   on   EU   drivers’   hours   and   tachographs   exist   to   govern   the   driving   hours   and   rest   periods   of   drivers who drive commercial goods vehicles, which can include some horseboxes You   do   not   have   to   conform   to   these   rules   if   you   drive   a   horsebox   up   to   7.5   tonnes   gross   vehicle   weight   for personal use Like   operator   licensing,   EU   drivers’   hours   and   tachographs   are   not   intended   to   cover   most   people   whose equestrian activities are no more than leisure pursuits Horsebox drivers who are governed by the rules must be able to ensure minimum weekly rest periods are taken. Vehicles   with   a   gross   vehicle   weight   exceeding   3.5   tonnes,   or   vehicle   and   trailer   combinations   with   a   gross   train weight   of   more   than   3.5   tonnes   when   used   in   connection   with   the   carriage   of   goods   or   burden,   are   required   to   have tachographs   fitted,   and   the   drivers   are   required   to   adhere   to   the   EU   Drivers’   Hours   Rules.   However,   there   are several exemptions which apply to specific types of operation. Prior to the new drivers’ hours legislation coming into force in April 2007, the old legislation exempted all horseboxes over   3.5   tonnes   gross   vehicle   weight,   whilst   being   used   for   personal   use,   from   the   requirement   to   use   tachographs and   adhere   to   EU   drivers’   hours   rules. This   meant   that   drivers   of   all   non-commercial   horseboxes   could   work   Monday to Friday and transport their horses at the weekends without regard to weekly rest periods. In   April   2007,   the   European   Union   introduced   a   new   piece   of   legislation   on   drivers’   hours   which   also   included   the exemption   for   personal   use,   but   made   it   more   restrictive   in   that   the   non-commercial   element   of   that   provision   only now   extends   to   vehicles   up   to   7.5   tonnes   gross   vehicle   weight.   Consequently,   all   drivers   of   horseboxes   exceeding 7.5 tonnes need to adhere to the rules on drivers’ hours and tachographs. For   vehicles   or   vehicle   and   trailer   combinations   with   a   gross   or   train   weight   of   more   than   3.5   tonnes   and   up   to   7.5 tonnes,   tachographs   are   not   required   to   be   fitted   and   the   EU   Drivers’   Hours   rules   don’t   apply   when   that   vehicle   or vehicle   combination   is   used   on   a   non-commercial   basis.   When   deciding   whether   or   not   a   vehicle   is   legitimately   used non-commercially,   we   must   apply   the   same   criteria   as   we   do   for   the   application   of   goods   vehicle   operator   licensing   is the vehicle used for hire or reward or in connection with a trade or business? Where   a   person   drives   a   vehicle   which   is   in   scope   of   the   EU   drivers’   hours   rules,   not   only   do   the   rules   apply   for   the whole   of   that   day,   they   must   also   abide   by   the   rules   on   weekly   rest   for   that   week   –   this   has   always   been   the   case. From   a   very   basic   perspective,   the   EU   rules   require   a   driver   to   take   a   weekly   rest   period   of   at   least   45   hours   –   that is   an   uninterrupted   period   which   is   legally   referred   to   as   a   “regular   weekly   rest   period”.   There   are   however,   various other rules which mean that a weekly rest period needn’t always be at least 45 hours, and these are explained later. So,   for   anyone   who   works   full-time   during   the   week   and   drives   a   horsebox   which   is   in   scope   of   the   drivers’   hours rules   at   the   weekend,   the   hours   they   spend   driving   that   vehicle   at   the   weekend   may   be   restricted.   If   that   person started   work   at   09:00   on   a   Monday   morning   for   example,   they   would   need   to   have   completed   any   in-scope   driving by 12:00 on the previous Saturday in order to fit in the required 45-hour rest period. However,   that   same   person   can   legally   take   a   reduced   weekly   rest   period   of   at   least   24   hours   once   every   other week   on   condition   that   the   reduction   is   paid   back   within   three   weeks. That   being   the   case,   it   would   be   acceptable   for a   full   time   worker   to   use   a   horsebox   up   until   09:00   on   the   Sunday   prior   to   starting   work   on   the   Monday.   It’s   important to    realise    that    reductions    can’t    be    taken    in    any    two    consecutive    weeks,    and    that    any    reduction    must    be compensated by an equivalent period taken all at once before the end of the third week following the reduction. For   example,   where   a   driver   reduces   a   weekly   rest   period   to   33   hours   in   week   1,   he   must   compensate   for   this   by attaching   a   12-hour   period   of   rest   to   another   rest   period   of   at   least   9   hours   before   the   end   of   week   4.   This compensation cannot be taken in several smaller periods. Weekly driving limit The   maximum   weekly   driving   limit   is   56   hours,   which   applies   to   a   fixed   week.   A   fixed   week   starts   at   00.00   on Monday and ends at 24.00 on the following Sunday. The rules on weekly rest are summarised as follows; A   driver   must   start   a   weekly   rest   period   no   later   than   at   the   end   of   six   consecutive   24-hour   periods   from   the end of the last weekly rest period. In   any   two   consecutive   ‘fixed’   weeks   a   driver   must   take   at   least   two   regular   weekly   rest   periods,   or   one regular and one reduced rest period. A regular weekly rest period is a period of at least 45 consecutive hours. A reduced weekly rest period is a period of at least 24 consecutive hours, but less than 45 hours. If   a   reduced   rest   is   taken,   the   reduction   must   be   compensated   by   an   equivalent   period   taken   in   one   block before the end of the third week following the week in question. A fixed week is the period 00:00 hours on Monday until 24:00 hours on Sunday. The   working   week   is   not   required   to   be   aligned   with   the   fixed   week   –   midweek   weekly   rest   periods   are perfectly acceptable. A weekly rest period which falls over two fixed weeks may be counted in either but not both. By   way   of   an   example,   if   a   horsebox   in   excess   of   7.5   tonnes   gross   vehicle   weight   is   driven   on   a   Saturday   following a   week   working   in   an   office,   then   that   driver   must   ensure   that   a   weekly   rest   is   taken   in   line   with   the   EU   rules   before the   end   of   the   week.   Although   the   rules   on   weekly   rest   say   that   45   continuous   hours   must   be   taken,   this   can   be reduced   lawfully   to   24   hours   under   many   circumstances   which   affect   occasional   drivers,   thus   permitting   the   above example.   What   wouldn’t   be   possible   is   the   same   person   driving   a   horsebox   on   a   Sunday,   as   there   would   be insufficient time remaining to take even a reduced weekly rest period of at least 24 hours.