In-Scope Drivers

To all Retained Duty System personnel “In Scope” Drivers

Does your whole-time employment involve driving an “in scope” vehicle?

(a) Goods vehicle where the maximum permissible mass of the vehicle, including any trailer, or semi-trailer, exceeds 3,5 tonnes, or

(b) Passengers by vehicles which are constructed or permanently adapted for carrying more than nine persons including the driver, and are intended for that purpose.

If so then you will know that apart from certain exceptions your occupation brings you under the guidelines of both EC Regulation 521/2006 (Drivers Hours Rules), and the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations, which were brought into force on 4 April 2005.

You may also know that under EC Regulation 521/2006 as with EC 3820/85 any fire service vehicle is exempt from the use of a tachograph.

Vehicles owned or hired without a driver by the Armed Forces, civil defence services, fire services and forces responsible for maintaining public order, when the carriage is undertaken as a consequence of the tasks assigned to these services and is under their control.

Source: Rules on Drivers Hours Tachographs (amended 2007)

Also under the RTD Working Time regulations the Fire Service is classed as Voluntary Work and is not counted towards a person’s working time.

2. What counts as working time?

2.1 Main Points

Working time is not attendance or shift time. It does not include travelling between home and work (however, it should be noted, that in certain circumstances such periods may count as "other work" under the separate European drivers' hours rules), lunch breaks, other breaks, periods of availability, evening classes or day-release courses.

Working time includes job-related training associated with normal work and training that is part of the company's commercial transport operation.

Work carried out for another employer (who undertakes road transport activities within scope of the European drivers' hours rules) counts towards the total working time performed by the mobile worker.

Voluntary work and activities performed by mobile workers who are part-time retained fire fighters, special constables and members of the reserve forces should not be counted towards these limits. 


Source: DFT Road Transport (Working Time) Guidance

But did you know?????


With the final implementation of EC Regulation 521/2006 in April 2007, there are no derogations for Retained Fire-fighters in relation to drivers rest breaks (Daily or Weekly)

A rest is an uninterrupted period where a driver may freely dispose of his time. Time spent working in other employment or under obligation or instruction, regardless of the occupation type, cannot be Counted as rest, including work where you are self-employed.

Source: Rules on Drivers Hours Tachographs (amended 2007)

This makes it very difficult for a driver to manage their rest breaks from their whole time employment whilst at the same time being able to respond as a Retained Fire-fighter.

A driver’s daily rest break should be 11hrs in a 24 hr period though can be reduced to 9 hrs on 3 occasions in the week. There is also the ability for a driver to have split daily rest. The first period must be at least 3hrs and the second part at least 9hrs.

Please the following examples as a basic guide…

Example 1

  • Driver commences his Daily Rest period from his whole time employment @ 18.00 Monday 
  • Fire call @ 18:30 
  • Booking off @ 19:30
  • Driver ends his Daily Rest period (i.e. start work) @ 05:00 Tuesday

This is ok as it’s the first reduction of the drivers rest period for the week.

Example 2

  • Driver commences his Daily Rest period from his whole time employment @ 18.00 Monday 
  • Fire call @ 18:30 
  • Booking off @ 19:30
  • Further Call @ 21:15
  • Booking off @ 23:30
  • Driver ends his Daily Rest period (i.e. start work) @ 05:00 Tuesday

This contravenes the regulation as the driver has not had a sufficient daily rest.

Example 3

  • Driver commences his Daily Rest period from his whole time employment @ 17.00 Wednesday
  • Fire call @ 03:00
  • Booking off @ 04:30
  • Driver ends his Daily Rest period (i.e. start work) @ 07:00 Thursday

This is ok as the driver has had 9 hrs rest and it’s only his/her 2nd reduced daily rest

Example 4

  • Driver commences his Daily Rest period from his whole time employment @ 16.00 Thursday
  • Fire call @ 22:00
  • Booking off @ 23:00
  • Driver ends his Daily Rest period (i.e. start work) @ 08:00 Friday

This is ok as the driver has had split daily rest consisting of a 4hr and a 9hr period.

Example 5

  • Driver commences his Daily Rest period from his whole time employment @ 16.00 Friday
  • Fire call @ 21:30
  • Booking off @ 23:00
  • Fire Call @ 02:00
  • Booking off @ 03:30
  • Driver ends his Daily Rest period (i.e. start work) @ 08:00 Saturday

This contravenes the regulation as the driver has not had a sufficient daily rest period

These examples are a very brief guide to the difficulties involved and the potential to impinge on a drivers Daily rest period. Responding to more than one turn out a night or even one at the wrong time could result in a driver contravening EU regulation 521/2006.

Penalties for infringements of the drivers’ hours rules in Great Britain
Maximum fines
As contained within Part VI of the Transport Act 1968 (as amended), the maximum fines that can be imposed by a court of law on conviction are as follows:

Failure to observe driving time, break or rest period rules: fine of up to £2,500 (Level 4);

We need information in order to be able to lobby the DFT to push for Derogation for our service, it is important that we fully understand the scale of the impact that this legislation is currently having on our members and the communities they serve. 

RDS personnel are not alone in facing this problem; we would hope that you irrespective of any other factors you would agree to assist us in this survey.

Provide reassurance for you and your family.

Become a member and be protected against the unexpected.

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