Drivers and Owner-Drivers: Are you recording your other work properly?

By Jared Dunbar

DVSA’s GV262 Guide defines a ‘break’ as:

Any period during which a driver may not carry out any driving or any other work and which is used exclusively for recuperation. A break may be taken in a moving vehicle, provided no other work is undertaken.” 

It also defines a ‘rest’ as:

“An uninterrupted period where a driver may freely dispose of their time.”

Is a driver then breaching his break if he answers a work phone call or reads a work email on his phone?

Is the driver breaching his rest if he does this after he’s parked up for daily rest?

Is one acceptable and one not, because the definitions of break and rest are different?

For instance, should Transport Managers be calling their drivers to give them new delivery instructions during their 45-minute break, or is this interfering with that break?

Should the driver be refusing to answer that call?

The recording of other work is equally problematic for an owner-driver operation:

  • Should they be taking working calls during a break, or period of daily or weekly rest?
  • How does this affect their ability to drive?
  • Do they need to record that 5-minute phone call as other work?
  • Do they need to restart their rest or break period?
  • Can he review his PI sheet whilst he’s on a break?
  • How should, and do, the authorities view this?

I suspect this situation doesn’t crop up very often because the DVSA don’t tend to cross reference phone data with tachograph data.

Furthermore, if they did, how could they then know whether a particular call was social or work related?

Presumably, they’d need to trace every single number back to the identity of the caller.

So, it would be likely be difficult to prove anything and highly complex to do so.

On the other hand, sending work emails during a period of ‘rest’ or ‘break’ may cause the driver problems as there would be no difficulty in proving it was ‘work’.

This sort of information is not routinely asked for but, in the event of serious road traffic accident, there’s no saying it might not be.

Admittedly, I’ve asked a lot of questions in this article – many of which have gone unanswered.

But I’m trying to provoke you into reading more on the subject, to look into your own practices and policies, and to really consider whether you’re doing the right thing.

Remember, the possibility of your actions – any action – being scrutinised in the case of a serious road incident is highly likely.

You need to make sure your working practices are squeaky clean as a result.

Read Jared’s tips for directors and Transport Managers who are occasionally HGV drivers here.

I’m happy to discuss this issue with you. Please get in touch.