Drivers supplying supermarkets can stay on road longer to fill shelves

Lorry drivers transporting essential goods to supermarkets can stay on the road longer without a break to help the response to Covid-19, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced.

He has relaxed drivers’ hours rules as retailers struggle to keep shelves filled due to stockpiling caused by coronavirus fears.

The measure applies to drivers playing a part in supplying supermarkets with food, personal care items, toilet roll, cleaning products and medicines.

The changes include:

– Increasing the maximum daily time a driver can be on the road from nine hours to 11 hours

– Reducing the minimum amount of daily rest from 11 hours to nine hours

– Raising the weekly driving limit from 56 hours to 60 hours

Drivers involved in transporting items to stores or distribution centres are eligible to work extended hours until April 16.

Mr Shapps said the policy would “help deliver vital goods to stores across the UK” but insisted that “driver welfare must not be compromised”.

Rules for drivers transporting purchases directly to consumers are unchanged, despite many consumers struggling to book delivery slots amid huge demand.