The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a temporary relaxation of the rules on drivers' hours, effective from 12:01am on 12 January until 11:59pm on 10 February 2022.

This decision arose from the impact of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, due to increased absence rates and outbreaks in specific workforces, including in respect of the carriage of goods by road and the supply chains of which they are a part.

Detailed guidance on the change can be found here.

Anyone driving in Great Britain under the retained EU drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road can use this relaxation where necessary. The relaxation is not limited to specific sectors or journeys.

However, the temporary relaxation is subject to proof that:

  • there is a significant risk of a threat to human and/or animal welfare, or a failure of a particular supply chain that will have a serious impact on essential public services 
  • the risk is unlikely to be resolved without using the relaxation 
  • driver safety must not be compromised and operators and self-employed drivers have assessed the risks of using the temporary relaxation and implemented suitable control measures and/or mitigations, so that the safety of the driver, other road users and those involved in loading and unloading is not compromised
Drivers continue to be bound by the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005, however, restricting the amount of working time allowed in any given week.