Drivers Hours Exemptions

The following vehicles and operators are exempt from the EC Drivers Hours Regulations. (If you are not 100% sure then make sure you follow the rules and speak to VOSA to clarify your legal position)


National governments may make additional exemptions if they see fit.


Goods vehicles where the maximum permissible weight of the vehicle and the trailer if used is under 3500 kg. This means the plated weight not the actual physical weight.


Emergency/Rescue Vehicles

MOD Vehicles

Emergency Services (Police, Fire and forces responsible for maintaining public order)

Vehicles with a maximum authorised speed of 30 Km per hour maximum

Vehicles used for non-commercial carriage of goods (For personal use or carriage of tools)

Vehicles transporting fun fair or circus equipment

Specialised Vehicles used for medical purposes

Specialised Breakdown vehicles

Vehicles which are not yet in service (Pre Registered)

Vehicles used for milk delivery/collection to and from farms  or for milk products intended for animal feed

Vehicles undergoing tests for repair, maintenance and technical development

Utility Vehicles used in connection with:


Flood Protection

Water, Gas, Electricity

Highway Maintenance

Refuse Collection ad Disposal

Telephone Services

Carriage of Postal Articles

Radio and Television Broadcasting and detection of radio and television transmitters or receivers



National Exemptions – Specific to British Laws

Vehicles used in agriculture, forestry or fishery for carrying goods within a 50 Km radius of the place where the vehicle is normally based (In the case of fishery the exemption only applies to the movement of fish from landing to first processing on land and transfer of live fish between farms)

Vehicles used as shops at local markets or for door-to-door selling, mobile banking, mobile libraries and events or exhibitions where the vehicle is specially fitted for such purposes.

Vehicles with a maximum permissible weight of not more than 7.5 tonnes carrying material or equipment for the drivers’ use in the course of his work within a 50 kilometre radius of the place where the vehicle is normally based, provided that driving the Vehicles does not constitute the driver’s main activity.

Vehicles used by HM Coastguard and Lighthouse services.
Vehicles used by harbour or airport authorities if the vehicle remain wholly within the confined of ports or airports.
Vehicles used by British Rail and other transport authorities when engaged in maintaining railways.
Vehicles used by British Waterways Board when engaged in maintaining navigable waterways.

Vehicles operated by The Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Vehicles manufactured before 1st January 1947.
Vehicles propelled by steam.
Vehicles used by Health authorities as ambulances or to carry staff, patients, medical supplies or equipment.
Vehicles used by Local Authority social service departments to provide services for the elderly or physically or mentally handicapped.
Tractors used exclusively for agricultural and forestry work.
Certain Vehicles operating under STGO. (Drivers of Vehicles operating under STGO Regulations are exempted from the provisions of EC Drivers Hours Regulations (3820/85) and Recording Equipment Regulations (3821/85).

Vehicles used for carrying animal waste or carcasses, which are not intended for human consumption.
Vehicles used for carrying live animals for farms to local markets and vice versa or from markets to local slaughterhouses
Vehicles operating exclusively on islands not exceeding 2,300 square kilometres in area, which are not linked to the rest of Great Britain by a bridge, ford or tunnel open for use by motor Vehicles.
Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (including batteries) of not more than 7.5 tonnes used for the carriage of goods and propelled by means of gas or electricity.
Vehicles used for driving instructions with a view to obtaining a driving licence, but excluding instructions on a journey connected with carrying a commercial load.


Drivers and operators should also understand the driver hours rules in full and the Drivers Hours Handbook, which fully explains all the rules with real examples, makes it easy to understand and explain to others. This simple E-Book can be viewed on a smartphone meaning you can take it on the road with you for easy reference.