Over the last few years, we have seen countries including France, Belgium and Germany introduce a ban on drivers taking their weekly rest in their vehicle.

This has not been as a result of change of legislation, but interpretation of the existing rules. DVSA has recently confirmed that the UK will follow suit from 1 November in enforcing this rule against U.K. drivers.

The rules relate only to the full 48 hour weekly rest; reduced 24 hour periods are not affected. The rest must be taken in an appropriate place away from the vehicle. DVSA will discard the rest period if it cannot be shown that the whole period has been taken in an appropriate place.

The result of this is that vehicles can be prohibited until the rest period has been taken or another driver attends. Fixed penalties of £300 will also be given to those who are not deemed to have taken an appropriate weekly rest. It will also be reported to the Traffic Commissioner for consideration of regulatory action.

This change in position brings the UK in line with other EU countries. It will also be welcome news to residents and other road users, who have concerns about vehicles being parked in lay-bys and other unsafe places. For drivers, they will need to be prepared to explain where they have taken the break, if they are away from home. Drivers are advised to keep receipts for any lodgings or hotels.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “It would be totally inappropriate to ban all in-cab weekly rests, the impact on UK international and long distance operators would have been catastrophic.

“The problem we have is with is inconsiderate, and sometimes illegal weekly rests taken where there are no facilities. That is bad for the public, for the reputation of the industry, for drivers’ health and for the safety of other road users.”