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Statement in relation to the Temporary derogation from driving and resting time rules due to driver shortage caused by the COVID-19 Omicron variant

Professional Drivers 13.01.2022

These relaxation measures maintain a balance between driver welfare, operator flexibility, road safety and minimising disruption to supply chains. 

Any deviation from the driving and resting time rules must be a last resort. Driver safety or other road user’s safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not deviate from the rules if it jeopardises road safety nor should they be expected to drive whilst tired. 

Nothing in the derogation changes the rules relating to weekly working time (Working Time Directive for Mobile Workers Directive 2002/15/EC) which must continue to be adhered to. 

The decision to grant the derogation reflects past approaches for dealing with driver shortages during the pandemic.  Ireland, like all Member States, is entitled to grant temporary derogations from the EU driving and resting time rules for periods of up to 30 days when dealing with exceptional circumstances such as those caused by Covid. In this case a 21 day derogation is being granted. 

The RSA wishes to emphasise that HGV operators are required to mitigate the risks of disruption to transport operations and to plan accordingly and ensure compliance with the rules. Appropriate arrangements must be put in place to record any extra driving time being undertaken by drivers availing of the derogation.  The RSA also wishes to emphasise that roadside and premises enforcement checks will continue during the period of the derogation which ends on 31 January and is being monitored rigorously.

Details of the derogation which were announced by the Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority on Tuesday 11 January can be found here.