Although the government have made limited provisions for the relaxation of drivers’ hours rules, if stuck in traffic during this severe weather it is worth remembering the Article 12 provisions that allow deviation from the drivers’ hours rules
The provisions state that provided that road safety is not jeopardised and to enable the vehicle to reach a suitable stopping place, the driver may depart from the drivers’ hours rules to ensure the safety of persons, the vehicle or its load. The driver needs to note the reason for the departure on the back of the tachograph chart or on the print out. It is advisable to keep any other evidence to back up that the conditions led to being stuck in traffic were such that the driver had to rely on the Article 12 exemption.
The provisions are only intended to be used in emergency situations and do not relieve operators from their responsibilities to schedule work so that it can be safely done within the drivers’ hours rules. Article 12 only applies to unforeseen events; it cannot be used if the particular event was known before the journey commenced. During periods of bad weather, extra time should be factored in to the planning of the drivers’ work and operators should keep themselves informed of the latest weather forecasts.