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The "12 Day Rule" - Regulations for drivers on international coach tour trips

Since 4th June 2010,  coach drivers on an international coach tour trip can take advantage of driving time regulations known as the “12 Day Rule”.

Note. Publication of Convictions: In circumstances where a person or operator is convicted of a road transport related offence, details of the conviction (including name and penalty applied) will be published on the RSA website at  

What is the “12 Day Rule”?

Coach drivers on a single international coach tour can work for up to 12 consecutive days, provided that:

  • the journey is a single trip
  • the driver takes a regular rest period of at least 45 hours immediately before the journey
  • the driver takes longer rest periods after the 12 day trip
  • the driver continues to take daily rest  and breaks  in line with existing requirements

How the rest rules work

Professional drivers can only work for 12 consecutive days if they follow the rules before during and after their international coach tour trip

Before your 12 day trip:
You must have a regular weekly rest period at least 45 hours long.

During your 12 day trip:
You must be working on a single occasional service (like a coach tour).

For 24 hours of those 12 days, you and the coach tour passengers must be in a different country (includes Northern Ireland) than where you started the trip.

After your trip

You must take two regular weekly rest periods. You have 2 options.

  1. Both can be 45 hours, or
  2. One can be 45 hours + a reduced period, which can't be less than 24 hours.

If you take the second option, you have to compensate for your reduced rest period. This means the rest owed to you can be taken with a daily rest period of at least 9 hours or another weekly rest period and must be taken before the end of the third week following return from the trip.

Be sure you have a tour itinerary and a passenger waybill before you start your 12 day trip.

Requirements since 1st Jan 2014

Since 1st January, 2014, there are 2 additional requirements for coach drivers taking 12 day trips:

  1. You must have a digital tachograph fitted to your vehicle
  2. If your driving time is between 22:00 and 06:00, you must have more than one driver, or you can't drive more than 3 hours without a break.

Further Information

Operators or drivers requiring further information concerning the 12 day rule should contact:

Road Haulage Enforcement
Clonfert House
Bride Street
Co. Galway

091 872600

[email protected]