Record Keeping – Changes to the Rules

By Marc Caplin, Aquarius’s Compliance Advisor

Despite the relevant legislation changes coming into force in August 2020, we are coming across a large number of operators that are still unaware of the amendments to roadside record-keeping requirements that were brought into effect. At the time, we ran a press release highlighting the issue so we thought it would be a good idea to provide an update as the Department for Transport has since provided some additional guidance. 


As further support we will also be hosting a free webinar with Laura Hadzik, Partner and Co-Head of Commercial Road Transport at JMW Solicitors on Thursday 18th April at 1pm to discuss the changes to the rules and answer any questions.

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Changes to the Rules

The initial change came in as part of what was termed as the ‘Mobility Package’ and this included an amendment made to Article 6(5) of Drivers’ Hours 561/2006 which, although a seemingly minor tweak, had major implications for record keeping.

Prior to August 2020, the ‘original’ version of Article 6(5) which is the part of Drivers’ Hours that stated that drivers need to record any other duties, in addition to EU driving covering the period

“… since his last daily or weekly rest period. This record shall be entered either manually on a record sheet, a printout or by use of manual input facilities on recording equipment.”

The 2020 amendment, however is worded differently, leaving out the phrase “since his daily or weekly rest” which leaves things horribly open-ended and, in the absence of the previously stated time-scale, means that all drivers now have to keep all records for roadside inspection for a full 28 days.

The records should include duty time carried out using a tachograph-equipped vehicle, work carried out elsewhere, as well as all periods of Daily or Weekly rest.

Full-Time In-Scope Driving Activities

For those drivers involved in full-time in-scope driving activities, the impact of this change should be minimal as the vast majority of their work will already be recorded on a driver card. For these drivers, the change may mean that they need to carry out a manual entry for Daily or Weekly rests if they were not already doing so.

“Occasional” Drivers

The sting in the tail of this amended paragraph and where it has a major impact, is for drivers that can be described as “occasional” – those drivers where driving is not their main function. For example, relief drivers, office staff called upon to jump in a vehicle when there is a driver shortage – there is quite a lengthy list!

Prior to the amendment, drivers in this category needed to carry the current week’s-worth of records with them for the purposes of Drivers’ Hours enforcement – with other records able to be kept via alternative methods e.g. diary, timesheets etc.

This has now changed!

All drivers, be they full-time long-haul freight drivers through to those drivers who might drive an in-scope vehicle once a month, must carry 28 days’ worth of records with them at the roadside. This in itself may not sound like such a tall order, however the following clause contained in point 4 of Article 1 of the amendment document states:

“This record shall be entered either manually on a record sheet or printout or by use of manual input facilities on recording equipment.”

In reality, this means that a transport manager who jumps in a vehicle to cover sickness absence would need to make sure they have the appropriate records on them for the last 28 days (including the aforementioned work carried out elsewhere, as well as all periods of Daily or Weekly rest)

which can ONLY be recorded as follows:

  • On the reverse of a piece of tachograph printer-roll (one record per 24-hour period)
  • On the reverse of an analogue chart (again, one a day)
  • Electronically via a manual entry (good luck trying to add several days’ worth of data without making a mistake!)

This has proven to be a major headache for drivers and operators who fall into this category for obvious reasons.

In fairness to the Department for Transport, in order to reduce some of this administrative burden, they issued some subsequent guidance intended to be beneficial to those drivers carrying out non-driving duty for full weeks at a time. If the driver can guarantee that they will not be driving for a whole fixed week, they do not have to produce a separate written record for each day but, instead, they can enter their weekly activity onto the reverse of a single printout. The record would still need enough detail to allow enforcement authorities to identify when the driver has taken Daily and Weekly rests. The full details of how these records should be made can be found on the DVSA website.

However, in scenarios where an occasional driver is unable to predict whether or not they will be required to drive, best practice would be to generate a daily written record on the reverse of a printout to err on the side of caution.

The DVSA has been tasked with enforcing this at the roadside and, in many cases, the first thing operators are hearing of this is during a roadside check.

It’s worth mentioning that these changes are based on the DfT’s interpretation in the UK, and EU enforcement bodies may take a different view. It is advised that drivers should make individual daily records if travelling into the EU to err on the side of caution. Alternatively, it will still be acceptable to use Attestation letters for international journeys.

Final thoughts … Shifting the emphasis back towards paper-based records has been viewed by many in the industry as a backward step, given the abundance of technology now available that can assist with all sorts of basic day-to-day functions and, speaking as a software provider, we often get asked the question as to why information concerning work outside of a vehicle can’t be recorded electronically. Although we have passed this question on to both the DVSA and, in turn, the Department for Transport, we are still awaiting a response.

Join us and JMW Solicitors on Thursday 18th April at 1pm for a free webinar to discuss these changes.

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