V8 State of Mind

Time to get straight: the WTD & you

Time to get straight: the WTD & you


We've sometimes taken it for granted that the WTD is universally understood. But a casual look through our comments and enquiries quickly tells us otherwise.

Let me ask you this: has your TM ever handed you an infringement letter saying something along the lines of Less than minimum daily rest taken? And upon reading it, have you then questioned your TM as to which drivers' hours rule it relates to?


Perhaps your TM then provided a thorough rundown of the Working Time Directive. Or, perhaps he stared at you blankly. If the latter sounds familiar, then this post is for you (get your TM to read it, too).


So, as straightforwardly as possible, then. Here's what you need to know about the Working Time Directive (WTD).


Let me start off by saying categorically that these bear no relation to the Drivers' Hours Rules.

The WTD is often also known as the RTD (Road Transport Directive). LGV drivers must follow these rules alongside Drivers' Hours rules.


The Working Time Directive Rules for LGV Drivers:


  • What's the weekly maximum?

The total number of hours you can work cannot exceed 60 hours within any fixed week.

  • What is the maximum weekly average?

Over the WTD period, usually 17 or 26 weeks, you must average no more than 48 hours per week.

(i.e. your hours should be monitored each week for 17 weeks, at which point you add them all together and divide the total by the amount of weeks within that period. This result must be no more than 48 hours.)

  • What are the daily driving limits?

You can't work for more than 6 accumulative hours without a break. A break must be at least 15 minutes in length in order to qualify as a break.

If you are to work between 6 – 9 hours, then you must accumulate 30 minutes of break across your shift.

You can do this by taking periods of breaks at least 15 minutes in length or a full 30 minutes of break all at once. Just stick to the golden rule: never work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break of at least 15 minutes.


If you continue to work up until you exceed 9 hours of Working Time, you have to take a further 15 minute break. So over a 9-hour shift you must've taken 45 minutes of break at least.

You can take this additional break at any time throughout the day once your duty has begun, and it may also be included on the end of another break, but it must be no later than after 9 hours of total WTD.

And yes - your required 45 minute break to comply with drivers' hours laws can be used as the same break to satisfy the WTD rules.


Let's see what this looks like in real terms.


Example 1

In this first example, the driver has spent 2 hours driving followed by 4 hours of working in the warehouse. At this point, because they've reached the 6-hour threshold, they must take a 30-minute break before they work another minute. They're then able to work for another 3 hours before they reach the 9-hour threshold and need to take a 15-minute break before continuing to work. They could also have taken the second 15-minute break on the end of the previous break and then worked straight through.


WTD Correct Break Example


Example 2

Here is another example where the driver's worked in the yard for 2 hours and then driven for 4 hours. At this point the driver has taken a 30-minute break to comply with the WTD. The driver then continued to drive, and to comply with drivers' hours laws, stopped for another break of 30 minutes before continuing to drive for another 2 hours, then working in the yard for another hour. Although this example is still correct and the rules have not been broken it's not the most efficient;because the driver still had more driving to do it would have been best to take the 45 minutes required to comply with the drivers hours rules instead of the first 30 minute break.


WTD Rules Example


Example 3

In this final example, the driver's driven for 2 hours to a delivery where they've spent 30 minutes unloading, and then driven back to base. At this point the driver's only worked 5 hours in total, however the drivers' hours rules mean that a 45-minute break's required before they can continue to work. This 45-minute break does however cover the driver to continue to work past the 9-hour mark without taking another break. We've used this example to demonstrate that drivers must be aware of both sets of rules, and ensure that they organise their breaks appropriately.


Drivers Hours Break Example



Reference periods

The reference period's used to calculate your average working time. There are several different ways to keep a reference period and they can also consist of different lengths. The two most common ways are:

  • The Basic Fixed Calendar – This is a set period of time between 17 and 26 weeks where all of the WTD is added together and divided by the total number of weeks, this being the 48-hour average that should not be exceeded. Upon completion of the period this must be filed and a new period begins.
  • The Rolling Reference Period – This period can also be set between 17 and 26 weeks; however unlike the basic fixed calendar this reference period never comes to an end, but instead uses the most recent period for calculating the 48-hour average. For example, if you're running a 17-week rolling reference period you would replace week 1 as the 18th week is completed. Therefore, you're calculating the WTD for your chosen period every week.


When it comes to sick days and holidays, for the purposes of calculating your WTD, any single days of holiday you take will be recorded as 8 hours of work. If you take 5 consecutive days of holiday, then a full week is recorded as being 48 hours. Any Holidays which you take beyond your contracted entitlement (usually 20 days) will be recorded as rest days and do not add any hours to your WTD.generic 2

Sick days are calculated exactly the same as regular holidays and add 8 hours for a single day, or 48 hours for 5 consecutive days.

Bank Holidays are free days which do not count towards your working time. This, of course, will be void if you work at all during the bank holiday.

As for yard work, office work and training, if you spend entire days of work in an office or in the yard, these hours will count towards your working time as normal. You'd be expected to do this with a logbook or time sheets.

Also, if you attend any training which is mandatory i.e. necessary for your job, this will also count towards your WTD. This doesn't include training which you do as part of your personal lifestyle or in your free time.

N.B. some drivers complete their Driver CPC Training in their own time; this doesn't count towards their working time.


Derogations within the Working Time Directive

There are certain exceptions that mean some drivers aren't required to monitor their WTD. In such instances, an individual wouldn't drive more than 10 times within a WTD period 26 weeks or less.

If a WTD period of more than 26 weeks is being used, you can drive up to 15 times before having to monitor your WTD.

N.B. this does not, however, mean you're exempt from the daily WTD rules; you must still take your breaks where required.


So, there you have it. Now you can go up to your TM and show off your new knowledge. 

If you're interested in testing your knowledge and learning more, you can register for one of our online courses. As we've said before, demonstrating a proactive approach to new skills and information is the one of the best things a driver can do in the current job market.


Where are the courses? Right here:


Courses you say? Give me the lowdown...



Picture of Chris Allen
Written by Chris Allen

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