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What happens about the drivers’ hours and tachograph rules when my driver is on a ferry boat — as I have a load going to mainland Europe?

When using ferries and trains, regular daily rest can be interrupted not more than twice by other activities, eg to embark, disembark or deal with customs paperwork, etc. The total of both interruptions must be not more than one hour (eg 30 minutes to embark and 30 minutes to disembark). During both parts of the rest, the driver must have access to a sleeper cabin, bunk or couchette.

In the case of ferries and trains, the total rest period does not need to be extended by an hour as it usually does when splitting daily rest, nor are there any restrictions on the length of any of the rest periods.

Any regular daily rest period that is interrupted must be completed within the 24-hour period commencing at the point of starting duty following the end of the previous rest period.

The concession for trains and ferry boats may be combined with normal split daily rest (ie a total of three interruptions), in which case the total rest period must be extended to 12 hours. The two interruptions to embark and disembark may both fall in either the three-hour or the nine-hour period, or one in each.

A reduced weekly rest may also be split in the same way but only when the ferry or train journey is scheduled for eight hours or more and the driver has access to a sleeper cabin on the ship or train so this is not going to be relevant to cross-Channel voyages. The provision to split weekly rest is not available under AETR so cannot be used outside the UK and EU, including Switzerland and Norway.

Example — Regular Daily Rest

A driver arrives at ferry port three hours ahead of his embarkation time and after parking up switches the tachograph to rest. After two hours, he is called to embark, which takes 20 minutes. Once aboard the ship, he sets the tachograph back to rest for the duration of the seven-hour crossing at the end of which he is called to disembark, which takes another 30 minutes. His total rest so far is 2 + 7 = 9 hours so he must, within the next 10 minutes, park up and complete the required 11-hour total with another two hours’ rest.

Example — Split Daily Rest

A driver arrives at a truckstop close to a ferry port and switches the tachograph to rest. After three hours, he drives to the ferry port and parks, switching the tachograph back to rest. Two hours later he is called to embark, which takes 30 minutes, at the end of which he sets the tachograph back to rest. After six hours, he is called to disembark (25 minutes). He then has five minutes to park up and switch the tachograph to rest for another hour (3 hours + 2 hours + 6 hours + 1 hour = 12 hours). He has then complied with both the normal requirement for split daily rest and the special conditions for trains and ferries.

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