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Coronavirus: Relaxation of drivers’ hours rules ending

THGV driver, truck driver.

The Government has confirmed that the temporary relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules, introduced at the start of the coronavirus crisis, will end after Sunday (June 14).

The Department for Transport (DfT) introduced the temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of both the EU and GB drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales, on March 23

It was subsequently extended and widened to include all drivers on May 31 and has been kept under constant review to ensure driver welfare and road safety were not adversely affected and to ensure the relaxations were still justified given the current evidence.

The DfT says that a decision has now been made, based on the current evidence, that this will not be extended further.

The relaxation of the GB rules will end at 11.59pm on June 14. The relaxation of the EU drivers’ hours rules ended on May 31.

The change in drivers’ hours rules comes as the Freight Transport Association (FTA) calls for extended delivery times to be maintained as non-essential retail outlets open from Monday (June 15) and the Government’s active travel plans are implemented by councils. 

The trade body argues that continued flexibility in delivery times will be essential to meet soaring demand for products while respecting social distancing rules.

Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at FTA, explained: “FTA campaigned successfully for delivery hours to be extended to strengthen the resilience of the supply chain during the pandemic; now, we are urging government to continue the relaxation as the nation emerges from lockdown to support economic and societal recovery from COVID-19.

“With ‘non-essential retail’ units permitted to open next week, we expect to see demand for products increase significantly; continued flexible delivery hours will allow logistics businesses to stock shops safely and efficiently while keeping up with demand. And, with Government plans to reallocate road space to cyclist and walkers, extended delivery hours will be needed due to restricted access.”

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