COVID-19: Relax! (the rules)
We are living in unprecedented times, navigating uncharted waters and doing our best to do what’s best. The last time the world saw something on the scale of COVID-19 (coronavirus) was from 1918-1920 when “Spanish Flu” wiped out more people than the World War that had immediately preceded it.
In 1918, however, there weren’t so many rules and regulations that governed our general way of life. It was only 15 years prior in 1903, for example, that the concept of a licence to drive motor vehicles had been introduced – and even then, they were drastically different to the way they are now.
As a result of the current crisis, we’ve seen a number of issues with the supply chain – namely that thanks to people stockpiling goods like toilet roll (why?!) – shelves have been temporarily under-stocked in a number of stores. Additionally, there have been difficulties getting some other products from where they are to where they need to be in a timely manner.
In response, the government has announced a number of relaxations of the existing rules surrounding the transport & logistics sector. We’ve compiled a list of these relaxations and what they mean to help you keep on top of an ever changing picture.
LPG Trunking Operations
On 6 March, government announced a relaxation of drivers’ hours specifically for LPG trunking operations. This was actually not in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but rather a national shortage of LPG. The relaxation runs until this Sunday (29 March 2020) as it stands but may be extended if required. Full details of the LPG drivers’ hours relaxation can be found by clicking this link.
Drivers’ Hours – Retail (and later general) Distribution
Originally restricted to the food and pharmaceutical sectors, and shortly after extended to all sectors, except those with their own specific relaxations, the government produced a relaxation on all drivers’ hours. These run from 23 March 2020 until 21 April 2020 but are subject to review from 5 April 2020. In short:
- 9hrs daily driving limit increased to 11hrs
- 11hrs daily rest reduced to 9hrs
- 56/90hrs fortnightly driving limits increased to 60/96 respectively
- 4.5hrs driving limit increased to 5.5hrs (45 min break)
- 6 consecutive 24hr periods rule increased to 7 consecutive 24hr periods
The first and last in this list are not permitted to be used together, but they can be used in any other combination. Full details of the general drivers’ hours relaxation can be found here.
ADR & DGSA Entitlement Relaxations
On 23 March, it was confirmed that ADR driver training and Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor certificates expiring between 1 March 2020 and 1 November 2020 would automatically see an extension to 30 November 2020. However, when renewing entitlements, the five year period would run from the expiry of the original entitlement, so there would be no advantage to be gained by delaying training where it was safe and possible to undertake it.
Owing to the advice not to go out of the house save for a few exceptions, and the natural reduction of already stretched MOT testers, a 3-month extension of goods and trailer permits was issued. In some instances, it may be necessary to apply for this extension. Full details on MOT extension for goods vehicles here.
For private vehicles, there was an automatic 6-month extension on all MOTs expiring after 30 March 2020.
Online Driver CPC Training
DVSA announced on 25 March 2020 that they would look to permit training providers to deliver Driver CPC training online to avoid accelerating the spread of COVID-19 in classroom environments. At time of publication, it is not clear how this will work practically, so we will endeavour to keep you updated as this relaxation unfolds.
We will be looking to offer this service to our customers if possible.
NI Relaxes Driver CPC Rules
The DVA (Northern Ireland’s equivalent to the DVSA) has announced that they will not be taking any enforcement action on drivers whose CPC expires between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. It is likely that the rest of the UK will follow suit with something similar if not the same but as of 31 March 2020 nothing has been confirmed.
Further ADR Relaxations
Department for Transport have announced that, until 30 November 2020, drivers will not be required to carry evidence of their ADR training (their ADR certificate) whilst carrying in-scope loads. This is to tackle the issues being experienced with marking exams and issuing the certificates. It is important to note that drivers must still have a valid entitlement as this relaxation does not remove that requirement.
GB Suspends Driver CPC Requirement
DVSA has now formally announced that drivers with a CPC entitlement that expired or is due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 30 September 2020 will not be required to renew their entitlement in order to continue driving during this period. Drivers carrying out international duties may still require an entitlement subject to the requirements of the country in which they are operating in. Military drivers will also be exempt.