Temporary derogation from driving and resting time rules due to driver shortage caused by the COVID-19 Omicron variant

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Department of Transport have agreed to allow a temporary and urgent derogation in respect of certain provisions of the EU driving and resting time rules. The proposed derogation will apply to all operators and drivers subject to the EU driver’s hours and tachograph rules engaged in the carriage of goods.

The move is being made because of the impact the COVID-19 Omicron variant is having on HGV operations, the importance of ensuring continuity of supply chains, the importance of the road haulage sector to the national economy and in response to requests from the haulage industry.

Coming into effect: The derogation will apply retrospectively from 9th January 2022 up to 30th January 2022 and will be reviewed every week as regards application and scope.

Summary of measures being introduced:

  • The driving time rules are being relaxed by lifting the fortnightly driving limit from ninety (90) hours to one hundred and twelve (112) hours.
  • The maximum of three (3) reduced daily rest periods between any two (2) weekly rest periods is also being increased from three (3) to five (5) to provide drivers with some extra flexibility should they encounter delays on their journeys.
  • The rules relating to weekly rest are also being relaxed by allowing drivers to take a reduced weekly rest of at least twenty-four (24) hours in each consecutive week during the relaxation period.

While the current situation may impact on driving time, driver safety or other road user’s safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not deviate from the rules if it jeopardises road safety nor should they be expected to drive whilst tired. Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users.

Full details on the RSA Website