Multi-manning is a topic which affects many drivers and it can be used very effectively by operators. In Regulations 561/2006, it describes ‘multi-manning’ as meaning the situation where, during each period of driving between any two consecutive daily rest periods, or between a daily rest period and a weekly rest period, there are at least two drivers in the vehicle to do the driving.

For the first hour of multi-manning, the presence of another driver or drivers is optional; but for the remainder of the period, it is compulsory. This provision would enable the vehicle to depart from its operating centre and collect a second driver along the way, providing this is done within one hour of the first driver starting work.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) gives good guidance on multi-manning. It states that where the above conditions are complied with, then the multi-manning concession may be used – that is each driver must have a daily rest period of at least nine consecutive hours, but they may do so within the 30-hour period that starts at the end of the last daily or weekly rest period (rather than the normal 24-hour period).

If, however, the conditions cannot be complied with, then drivers sharing duties on a journey will individually be governed by single-manning rules and will not be able to use the concession which allows daily rest to be taken in a 30-hour period.

Organising drivers’ duties in such a fashion enables a crew’s duties to be spread over 21 hours. However, where a driver utilises the multi-manning daily rest concession (of nine hours’ rest in a 30-hour period), that rest period cannot be counted as a regular daily rest as it is of less than 11 hours’ duration. These rest periods therefore count towards the limit of three reduced rest periods between any two consecutive weekly rest periods.

Drivers engaged on multi-manning can, however, if they choose, take either:

  • A split daily rest within the 30-hour period, so long as it taken as the first period being at least three hours, and the second period being at least nine hours
  • A rest period of at least 11 hours in the 30-hour period

Both of these options are regular daily rest period and so would not count towards the limit of three reduced daily rest period between weekly rest periods.

The maximum driving time for a two-man crew taking advantage of this concession is 20 hours before a daily rest is required (although only if both drivers are entitled to drive 10 hours).

Under multi-manning, the ‘second’ driver in a crew may not necessarily be the same driver for the duration of the first driver’s shift, but could in principle be any number of drivers as long as the conditions are met. Whether these second drivers could claim the multi-manning concession in these circumstances would depend on their other duties.

On a multi-manning operation, 45 minutes of a period of availability will be considered to be a break, so long as the co-driver does no work.

Other than the daily rest concession detailed above, drivers engaged in multi-manning are governed by the same rules that apply to single-manned vehicles.

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.