If you are driving under tachograph laws, then the correct use of the mode switch must be undertaken. As well as ‘driving’, there are other modes:

* Other work: This covers all activities defined as work other than driving in scope of EU/AETR rules. Includes any work for the same or another employer, within or outside the transport sector

* Availability: This covers periods of waiting time, the duration of which is known about in advance. Examples of what might count as a period of availability (POA) are accompanying a vehicle on a ferry crossing or waiting while other workers load/unload your vehicle. For mobile workers driving in a team, a POA would also include time spent sitting next to the driver while the vehicle is in motion (unless taking a break or performing other work – ie, navigation)

* Break or Rest: This covers breaks in work and daily or weekly rest periods. Drivers may not carry out any driving or any other work. Break periods are to be used exclusively for recuperation. During a rest period a driver must be able to dispose freely of their time.

In the Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs Rules (GV262), there is some excellent guidance on this topic. DVSA states that if for any reason the tachograph does not make an accurate record of activities (eg, if the driver inadvertently makes an incorrect manual entry in a digital tachograph, or fails to correctly operate the mode button or switch), DVSA strongly recommends the driver makes a manual tachograph record to this effect. For digital equipment, the driver should make and sign a printout for the relevant period with a note giving details of the error and reason at the time the error is made. For analogue equipment, the record should be made at the back of the chart.

One area which can cause confusion is recording ‘other work’. During a week in which driving has taken place which is in in-scope of the tachograph legislation, any previous work (including out-of scope driving) since the last daily or weekly rest period (taken in accordance with either the EU drivers’ hours or working time rules), would have to be recorded as ‘other work’ on a tachograph chart, printout or manual entry using the manual input facility of a digital tachograph chart, or a legally required GB domestic record on a log book.

‘Other work’ means all activities which are defined as working time in Article 3(a) of Directive 2002/15/EC except ‘driving’, including any work for the same or another employer, within or outside of the transport sector.

Article 3a states ‘working time’ shall mean:

In the case of mobile workers: the time from the beginning to the end of work, during which the mobile worker is at their workstation, at the disposal of the employer and exercising their functions or activities, that is to say, the time devoted to all road transport activities.

‘These activities are, in particular, the following: driving; loading and unloading; assisting passengers boarding and disembarking from the vehicle; cleaning and technical maintenance; all other work intended to ensure the safety of the vehicle, its cargo and passengers or to fulfil the legal or regulatory obligations directly linked to the specific transport operation under way, including monitoring of loading and unloading, administrative formalities with police, customs, immigration officers etc.

The times during which the driver cannot dispose freely of their time and is required to be at there workstation, ready to take up normal work, with certain tasks associated with being on duty, in particular during periods awaiting loading or unloading where their foreseeable duration is not known in advance, that is to say either before departure or just before the actual start of the period in question etc.’

In the case of self-employed drivers, the same definition shall apply to the time from the beginning to the end of work, during which the self-employed driver is at their workstation, at the disposal of the client and exercising their functions or activities other than general administrative work that is not directly linked to the specific transport operation under way.

The record must be either written manually on a chart; written manually on a printout from a digital tachograph; made by using the manual input facility of a digital tachograph, or for days where a driver has been subject to the domestic drivers’ hours rules and a record is legally required, recorded in a domestic log book.

A driver who is at the disposal of more than one transport undertaking must provide each undertaking with sufficient information to allow them to make sure the rules are being met.

Disclaimer: No information in this column shall be construed as legal advice and information is offered for general information purposes only based on the current law when the article was first written. You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry.