COVID-19 Updates and FAQ for UK Truck Drivers and Owners
With urgent deliveries for vital health supplies and food, the haulage industry has a key part to play in getting the UK through coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions from truck drivers, and we will keep this page updated with any changes.
Most important is your own health and if you are experiencing symptoms please make sure you visit the National Health Service (NHS) website for COVID 19.
As a truck driver am I a key worker?
This depends on what you are transporting. According to the UK Government website those involved in food production, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example, medical, hygienic and veterinary medicines) all qualify as key workers.
Other transport related drivers are categorized as key workers and this includes those “who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass.”
If I am a key worker is there provision for child-care and schooling?
Yes. The government website say: “Schools and childcare providers have been asked to provide care for a limited number of children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response.” It’s a good idea to have your ID and proof of your work to show at the school gates. For more information, please check the UK Government site here.
As a driver, can I expect to see any changes to my hours?
Yes, changes to the law came into force on Friday 20th March 2020 to increase driving hours.
- The daily driving limit of 9 hours has been raised to 11 hours
- The daily rest requirement is reduced from 11 hours to 9 hours
- The weekly driving hours have been increased from 56 hours to 60 hours
- The fortnightly driving hours have been increased from 90 hours to 96 hours
- The daily breaks of 45 minutes interval have been increased from every 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours.
A weekly rest period is lengthen from after six 24 hours periods, and now is after seven 24 hours period, although 2 regular weekly rest periods or a regular and a reduced weekly rest period will still be required within a fortnight. You can see a full list of the changes to driving hours here.
Do I still have to show driver records?
Yes. The relaxation in hours do not reduce the levels of enforcement checks of the driver’s hours and companies should only use these relaxed rules when needed and must monitor drivers to ensure they do not drive tired or in any way unfit. These relaxations of the rules must be used wisely, and not abused.”
I’m worried about keeping my hands clean, where can I wash them?
The NHS is advising everyone to wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds but we know this isn’t always easy on the road, so make sure you carry hand-sanitize on your trips just in case. We realize that hand-sanitize is like gold dust but you could have some hand soap and bottled water in the cab instead.
You can wash your hands at a truck stop, you can check nearby truck stops here with UK Haulier website https://www.ukhaulier.co.uk/truckstops-and-lorry-parks-finder/
The Road Haulage Association have also worked with Public Health England to ensure that trucker drivers are allowed access to toilets at distribution centers to wash their hands. If you have any problems with this, please refer them to this letter.
What do I do if my truck breaks down?
Clearly breakdown services will be under pressure so it may take a bit longer than usual. But we checked with Green Flag, RAC, and the AA websites and they are all still operating services if you have a problem on the road.
Will my theory test be cancelled?
All theory test have been suspended for one month from the 17th March, and driving tests are suspended for up to three months but tests are available for critical workers.
If you are a key worker you can apply for an emergency Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) test by emailing the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) here email@example.com If your test was cancelled with less than 3 days notice you can claim compensation here. If your test was postponed DVSA will automatically rebook your test free of charge and will email you the new date.
Can I still refuel my truck?
Yes, if you have no COVID symptoms and are not ‘at risk’. It’s advisable to use disposable gloves when using the pumps and maintain ‘social distancing’ and pay using contact-less for fuel. Most of the main gas stations are open, you can check ShellandBPpetrol stations.
I was due to attend a speed awareness course, what should I do?
All speed awareness courses have been postponed for 12 weeks from Friday 20th March.
Check the NDORS website for up to date information.
What if my truck needs an MOT or service?
All MOT testing of lorries and trailers has been suspended for three months from 21st March 2020. All lorries that were due for a test will be issued with exemptions automatically. Some vehicles, ones due for first MOT and vehicles returning to service with a test certificate that expired before March may require an application for exemption certificates. You can check the UK government site.
Do I still need to pay congestion charge, LEZ and ULEZ in London?
No, on 23rd March, TfL suspended the London congestion charge, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Low Emission Zone (LEZ), this is until further notice.
We will be updating this trucking news as more details come in so please do check out social media for updates. SmartWitness customers can see our continuity plan and updates at smartwitness.com/covid19.