Date updated: Tuesday 6th February 2024

Driver's hours prosecutions typically refer to legal actions or proceedings taken against individuals, such as professional drivers or operators of commercial vehicles, for breaches related to working hours and driving time regulations. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of drivers, passengers, and other road users by preventing fatigue-related accidents and promoting responsible scheduling of work hours. 

There are two main sets of rules that govern drivers hours legislation in the UK, Domestic drivers hours rules and EU rules which are part of the retained legislation after Brexit.

Driving Hours Limits:

Regulations typically set limits on the number of hours a driver can spend driving within a specified period. This includes daily, weekly, and fortnightly limits.

Rest Periods:

Drivers are required to take regular breaks and rest periods to prevent fatigue. The regulations define the minimum duration and frequency of breaks.

Daily Rest:

Drivers must take a minimum period of continuous rest between driving shifts. This daily rest period is often a crucial element in preventing fatigue-related issues.

Weekly Rest:

In addition to daily rest, there are regulations governing the minimum duration of weekly rest periods. These may vary depending on the specific working patterns.


Drivers are often required to keep accurate records of their driving hours, rest breaks, and other relevant information. These records help ensure compliance with the regulations.

Tachograph Use:

Many jurisdictions mandate the use of tachographs, electronic devices that record driving time, rest periods, and other relevant data. Tachographs help enforce and monitor compliance with driving hour regulations.

Prosecutions for Non-Compliance:

When drivers or operators fail to comply with the stipulated driving hour regulations, they may face legal consequences. Prosecutions are usually initiated by either the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency or the Police. Alternatively very often a breach will not be prosecuted but will be referred to the Traffic Commissioner for consideration at a Public Inquiry.

Penalties and Fines:

Penalties for driver's hours breaches may include fines, licence suspensions, or other sanctions. The severity of penalties often depends on the nature and extent of the breaches.

Operator Responsibilities:

In addition to individual driver responsibilities, operators of commercial vehicle fleets are also responsible for ensuring that their drivers comply with driving hour regulations. Operator negligence in enforcing these regulations may lead to prosecutions.

Public Safety:

The primary objective of driver's hours regulations and prosecutions is to enhance road safety by preventing accidents caused by driver fatigue. Prosecutions aim to deter non-compliance and promote responsible practices.

It's essential for professional drivers and operators to be aware of and adhere to the driving hour regulations that apply.. Training programmes, regular monitoring of driver compliance, and proper record-keeping practices are crucial elements in preventing prosecutions and promoting road safety. Additionally, ongoing awareness of regulatory changes is important for staying in compliance with evolving standards.