Temporary relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules for all sectors

Date published: 21 March 2020

In response to unprecedented pressures caused by the current COVID-19 circumstances on local and national supply chains, Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has today taken the important further step of relaxing drivers’ hours rules for the delivery and movement of all important goods that people in our communities, in particular vulnerable people, need at this time.

The Minister’s decision means that not just food and oil delivery is stepped up but also gas delivery and milk and dairy products from our farms.  

Importantly this decision also means that commercial/environmental waste, especially from our hospitals, is managed and controlled.

Notes to editors: 

1. Pursuant to Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, the Infrastructure Minister has today confirmed the introduction of a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours rules in Northern Ireland.

The Minister’s decision also introduces a temporary relaxation of NI Domestic drivers’ hours rules.  Similar relaxations will be introduced in England, Scotland and Wales at the same time.

Anyone driving under the EU drivers’ hours rules or the NI Domestic drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road can use the relevant relaxation where necessary. 

The relaxations are not limited to specific sectors or journeys.

The relaxations apply from 00:01 on Monday 23 March 2020 and will run until 23:59 on Tuesday 21 April 2020.

This will cover all sectors not previously covered by the three relaxations already granted and would now cover, for example, delivery of gas, collection/delivery of milk/dairy, commercial and environmental waste

The temporary relaxation of the rules described above reflects the current exceptional circumstances and must only be used where necessary. Operators remain responsible for the health and safety of their drivers and other road users and drivers must not drive when tired.

2. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110. 

3. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra(external link opens in a new window / tab) and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure

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