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The safety measures that protect HGV drivers


Considering the huge number of journeys taking place every minute of every day, the number of accidents involving large lorries is remarkably low. So rare are accidents involving HGVs, in fact, that when one does occur, it is usually a big story in the media.

The low rate of traffic accidents involving HGVs is largely due to the extensive range of safety measures that are part of the modern haulage industry.


Restrictions on time spent driving

Tiredness is a major potential hazard facing any driver, whatever vehicle they are behind the wheel of. HGV drivers are protected by a variety of rules that regulate the length of time a driver can be on the road. 

Most prominent among the regulations are the EU Drivers Hours Regulations, summarised here:

  • At least 45 minutes break must be taken within every 4.5 hours of driving. 
  • Maximum of 9 hours driving per day, extendable to 10 hours no more than twice a week.
  • Maximum of 56 hours driving per week.
  • Maximum of 90 hours driving in any fortnight.
  • Minimum of 11 hours daily rest, which can be reduced to 9 hours no more than 3 times between weekly rests. 
  • When a vehicle has more than one driver (multi-manning), all of the above apply plus, within 30 hours of the end of a rest period, a daily rest of at least 9 hours must be taken.
  • When a vehicle is being transported on a ferry or train, a full daily rest period of 11 hours can be interrupted twice for a total of no more than 1 hour. 
  • Within 6 days of the end of a weekly rest period a driver must take 45 hours continuous rest. A weekly rest of 24 hours may be taken, but must be compensated for before the end of the third week following the rest. Any two consecutive weeks must contain at least one 45 hour rest.

These rules are enforced by means of a tachograph, which is attached to every HGV to help the drivers stick to safe, tiredness-free driving hours.


Safe-driving technology

HGVs are equipped with a wide variety of modern devices to aid safe driving and prevent accidents occurring. For example: rear view reversing cameras, vehicle radars, RFID technology, video recorders, GPS tracking and automatic braking systems. All this technology allows HGV drivers to complete awkward manoeuvres without incident and respond safely to errors made by other drivers.


Limits on maximum speed

Many HGVs have their engine physically restricted to prevent them from going beyond a certain speed. This ensures drivers are incapable of travelling too fast and always have sufficient time to brake safely.


Expert training

At HGV Express, we are committed to training our new candidates to be first-rate professional drivers – and that includes a thorough understanding of every aspect of vehicle safety, both on and off the road. Contact HGV Express to discover more about how we train all our drivers to enjoy a safe and successful career.


Frank Black
HGV Express Blog Writer


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