The Department for Transport (DfT) has extended the temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours enforcement in England, Scotland and Wales.

Approval for the announcement was given by the secretary of state for transport.

In updated guidance, the DfT said: “The temporary relaxation of the rules reflects the situation arising from the impacts of COVID-19, including the recent highly infectious Omicron variant. This is resulting in increased absence rates and outbreaks in specific workforces including in respect of the carriage of goods by road and the supply chains of which they are a part.”

Anyone driving in Great Britain under the retained EU drivers’ hours rules and undertaking carriage of goods by road can use this relaxation where necessary. The relaxation is not limited to specific sectors or journeys.

However, the DfT states that: “Drivers’ hours rules are an important road safety measure and any deviation from the rules must be a last resort when other means of mitigating a situation have failed. Therefore, the temporary relaxation to the drivers’ hours rules must only be used where necessary by drivers and transport operators.”

The relaxation took effect at 12:01am on 12 January 2022 and will run until 11:59pm on 10 February 2022, subject to review.