Northern Ireland Relaxation of Drivers Hours

After consistent lobbying of political representatives and key civil service departments by the FTA, the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has issued notification of a relaxation in the drivers’ hours rules for NI with immediate effect.


Initially, this will apply for the drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning) and over the counter pharmaceuticals when undertaking the following journeys:

  • Distribution centre to stores (or fulfilment centre).
  • From manufacturer or supplier to distribution centre (including backhaul collections).
  • From manufacturer or supplier to store (or fulfilment centre).
  • Between distribution centres and transport hub trunking.
  • Transport hub deliveries to stores.
This exemption does not apply to drivers undertaking deliveries directly to consumers.


This temporary relaxation applies from 00:01 on Wednesday 18 March 2020 and will run until 23:59 on Thursday 16 April 2020 and will apply only to the drivers undertaking the above specified journeys.


Operators are reminded that this relaxation does not excuse them from their duty of care to drivers and that drivers should not be allowed or required to drive whilst tired. Operators seeking to use the exemption should read the DfI notice in detail; this can be found here.