Logistics expertise 01.08.2023

HGV bans in the UK and Europe

Driving ban street sign

HGV bans in Europe can cause delays and a loss of profit for you if you aren’t organised. With so many things to do, it can be stressful trying to remember to check when you can’t drive in certain countries during certain times. Software can help you easily find out if there are any issues that could cause delays to your intended route.

Find out more about driving bans, when they apply, and how to make sure they don’t cause you any delays.

What are driving bans?

Truck driving bans are times when trucks aren’t permitted to drive. This can include public holidays, events, or additional days throughout the year.

The reason countries have implemented driving bans are to reduce traffic congestion, improve road safety, and limit noise pollution. Driving bans can be different depending on the country, so it is important to check beforehand that you are aware of the driving ban rules in each country you are travelling in.

Otherwise, you may find yourself unable to drive which causes your goods to be delayed and could cost you a lot of money.

We discuss the main driving bans for UK companies travelling in Europe plus other rules and regulations you may need to know.

What happens if you break the rules of the driving bans?

If you break the rules of the driving bans, then you could face an on the spot fine. It is now possible for them to look at the past 28 days’ worth of tachograph information and issue a fine of up to £1,500 for any other breaches during that time.

If you are found to have more than five infringements during the 28-day period, then you can be taken to court and you will not be able to use your vehicle. 

You can also receive an improvement notice by the Driving Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) and if you do not make changes then you can be given a prohibition notice to stop you immediately.

When are there driving bans?

The driving bans can be different depending on the country.

HGV bans in Europe, mean you may be unable to drive on Sunday. The driving ban usually starts at midnight on Saturday until 10 pm on Sunday when it is imposed.

If you are carrying perishable goods or heading to an event, then this rule may not apply to you.

Truck driving bans 2023

  •  January: New Year (01.01.2023)
  •  April: Good Friday (07/04/2023), Easter Monday (10/04/2023)
  • May: Labor Day (May 1, 2023), Ascension Day (May 18, 2023), Whit Monday (May 29, 2023)
  • October: Day of German Unity (03.10.2023)
  • December: Christmas (12/25/2023) and (12/26/2023).

These are the main days when driving bans will occur throughout the year but there will be additional days for each country.

Driving bans in UK

In the UK, unlike a lot of Europe, Sundays and public holidays don’t have driving bans but some areas in London may have bans from 1 pm to 7 am.

If your HGV is over 7.5 tonnes, then you may be restricted from driving on specific roads such as motorways between midnight and 10am on Sundays.

Public holiday driving bans usually start from midnight and last until 6am.


Driving bans take place on Saturdays from 9 am to 12 pm on Sunday but only when the road is slippery and visibility is below 200 metres. 

Otherwise the Netherlands do not currently have driving bans imposed.


Driving bans are not imposed in Belgium although for vehicles of certain widths there may be restrictions. 

When it rains or snows, there may also be bans on overtaking for vehicles over 7.5 tonnes.


France has driving bans for most heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes on Sundays and public holidays.

France bans HGVs on long public holidays from the day before the public holiday from 10 pm to 12 am.

France has two main public holidays on 14th July and 15th August, so there may be bans from mid-July until the end of August. The bans can also depend on the region you are travelling in.


In Germany, trucks that are more than 7.5 tons and those with trailers are not allowed to drive on Sundays and public holidays from 12 am to 10 pm.

For holidays throughout July and August for selected routes there may be bans from Saturday 7 am to 8pm.


Ireland do not have as many driving bans as other European countries. There are no restrictions on driving on Sundays or public holidays but vehicles over 7.5 tonnes may face local road restrictions particularly in urban areas.

Truck rules and regulations UK

In addition to HGV driving bans in Europe, you must also be aware of other truck driving rules and regulations in the UK when transporting goods from the UK to Europe or Europe to the UK.

Customs and border controls

Customs and border controls have been reinstated between the UK and the EU since Brexit.

UK goods vehicles must have the correct paperwork and go through the customs clearance process.

Driver qualifications and licenses

When driving between the UK and the EU, you will need the correct license such as a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

You should ensure your license or employee’s license is up to date and is valid in each country you are travelling in.

Road tolls and taxes

Road tolls for commercial vehicles apply in European countries such as France, Germany, and Belgium.

You must ensure you pay these otherwise you could face delays that impact your business.

Dangerous goods transportation

If you are carrying goods that are classed as hazardous or dangerous, then you must ensure you comply with any safety regulations.

The European Agreement regarding International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) will apply.

Driving hours

There are strict rules on how many hours drivers can work for safety reasons as well as for the health of drivers.

Even though the UK are no longer part of the EU, if you are driving in any European country, you must adhere to their driving hours.

EU rules apply to vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes and state you must not drive more than nine hours in a day, 56 hours in a week, or 90 hours in any two consecutive weeks.


Drivers’ must also have a certain number of breaks or rest periods. This includes at least 11 hours rest every day or nine hours rest three times between any two weekly rest periods.

You must have an unbroken rest periods of 45 hours every week and a break must total at least 45 minutes after four hours and thirty minutes of driving.

Your weekly rest after working six 24-hour periods start from the end of the last weekly rest period taken.

There are other break and rest rules which may apply, and these should be checked on your governments’ website.

Tachograph tracks hours

A tachograph is used to record information on your driving time, distance, and speed.  You need a tachograph, either a digital or analogue one, if your vehicle comes under EU or AETR rules. 

The tachograph will record your hours of work and you must record all driving.

It’s not only important to keep this information in case you are stopped but it is also useful to be able to optimise your time and how you spend it. 

Technology is essential to create a more efficient business and allows you to take advantage of opportunities that can increase your profit.

TIMOCOM HGV route planner

You must be organised and be aware of driving bans for each country you are travelling in otherwise you could face fines, delays, and a loss of profit.

Using a route planner will help you keep updated on potential restrictions, unexpected road works, and tolls.

TIMOCOM’s HGV route planner can show you the optimal route, calculate fuel costs, and provide transparency to your customers.

For more information on how you can avoid delays, contact us.

Become an industry insider

Regularly receive interesting articles, valuable expert information and exclusive user reports!

Newsletter subscription

Pop-up image - Logistic
Stay up to date with industry news and logistics insights!

Sign up for our mailing list and never miss the latest updates.

To the top