Department for Transport
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TA Reservists get exemption from EU drivers' hours rules

TA Reservists get exemption from EU drivers' hours rules

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (027) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 24 February 2009

Territorial Army reservists who drive for a living can take part in weekend military training after the Government secured an important exemption from EU drivers' hours rules, Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick announced today.

The European Commission has agreed that professional drivers can take part in reservist exercises at the weekend without breaking general rules on weekly rest requirements. It means a driver who finishes his normal driving duties on a Friday can complete a 34-hour period of military training and then resume his normal driving duties again on a Monday morning - as long as new safeguards are met.

The new exemption will benefit volunteer reserve forces in the Territorial Army, Royal Navy Reservists, Royal Marine Reservists and Royal Auxiliary Air Force as well as cadet instructors.

Jim Fitzpatrick said:

"It is vital that men and women who want to serve their country are not prevented from doing so because they are professional drivers. That is why I am delighted the Government has been able to secure this important exemption from EU drivers' hours rules for reservists who drive for a living.

"We've incorporated safeguards to make sure drivers continue to get enough rest before getting behind the wheel so this exemption will make a real difference to reservists without compromising on safety."

The following safeguards have been incorporated into the exemption to ensure that road safety is not jeopardised:

* The exemption will apply to 15 days' annual camp and 10 weekend training sessions per annum - a total of 35 days. Weekend training will not be allowed to take place on consecutive weeks (other than in respect of the 15-day annual camp);

* a regular daily rest period of 11 hours must be taken between the end of weekend training and start of work for the primary employer;

* a regular weekly rest period of 45 hours must be taken no later than at the end of the sixth day following a period of weekend training.

The Ministry of Defence will issue guidelines that outline how drivers can manage their volunteer reserve service in accordance with the exemption.

Notes to Editors

1. The new EU Regulation on drivers' hours came into force on 11 April 2007. It limits driving time, sets minimum break and rest requirements and made the fitting of digital tachographs mandatory on all new in-scope vehicles registered after 1 May 2006.

2. In simplified terms, they limit drivers to 9 hours driving a day with a 45 minute break after 41/2 hours, 11 consecutive hours daily rest and 45 consecutive hours weekly rest every other week.

3. The exemption has been granted in accordance with the provisions in Article 14.1 of Regulation (EC) 561/2006, applies to the weekly rest requirements in Article 8(2) and 8(6) of Regulation (EC) 561/2006.

4. The exemption applies to professional drivers operating solely within the UK when they are reservists undergoing military training or providing instruction to members of a Cadet corps approved by the Defence Secretary.

5. Until such time as the exemption can be transposed into domestic legislation, it will be implemented by administrative means.

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