Butlers Bus Tours Ireland - flexible bus tours with a local driver/guide

Drivers Hours Laws

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For easier reading, we have referred to a driver as a male rather than use 'he/she' or 'his/her'

Important Note: Although a driver can work for up 13 consecutive hours per day, our regular quotes for scenic tour bookings are for 9 consecutive hours per day.

Golf tours can be up to a maximum of 12 hours per day (on golfing days only)

Contact us in good time if you need extended touring days.


As with all bus and coach companies we are legally obliged to comply fully with the European driver's hours regulations.

This is for your safety and the safety of pedestrians and all other road users.

IMPORTANT: We would like to emphasise that we offer a flexible service within the terms of the drivers hours regulations which give plenty of scope for a full days touring service each day.

We take our responsibilities and your safety very seriously and certainly do not want your trip compromised in any way.

We always like to be totally transparent in advance on all matters so there are no surprises or disputes on the day.

IMPORTANT: If you are making a booking on behalf of a group, then it is your responsibility to bring the drivers hours regulations to the attention of the group.

WARNING: Your tour can come to an abrupt end at a routine Garda/Police check point if your driver has not fully complied with the drivers hours laws.

THE RULES (in brief)

The drivers hours regulations can seem complicated but the general rules are as follows:

Drivers can drive for a maximum of 4.5 hours without taking a break. A minimum break of 45 Minutes must then be taken. (this break can also be taken in a block of 15 and 30 minutes in this order over the course of the 4.5 hours)

The regular maximum driving hours per day is 9 hours over a maximum 13 hour working day* (Waiting time and breaks are included as part of the drivers working day)

*Please note that the drivers working day is calculated from the moment he takes over his vehicle to when he is finally parked up/finished at the end of his shift/day.

His working day does not start/finish when he collects/drops his group.

However, your 9/12 hour booking does start when your driver picks you up.

Most importantly a driver must take a daily overnight rest of 11 consecutive hours away from the vehicle.

This means that whatever time your driver fully finishes for the day regardless of how many hours he has worked, the very earliest he can drive the next day will be 11 hours later. (Please allow extra time for your driver to get to/from his base/lodgings, re-fuel and prepare/clean the coach, etc for the next day)

The drivers working week is normally 5 consecutive days but this can be extended to 6 consecutive days under certain conditions.

It is also possible for a driver under certain conditions to work for up to 12 consecutive days with the same group if your tour goes outside of The Republic of Ireland for at least one night of your tour (This includes Northern Ireland)

In brief, please plan ahead to ensure

  • Any single journey does not exceed 4.5 hours of continuous driving.
  • Driving time does not exceed 9 hours in any 24 hours
  • Your drivers day including driving, waiting time, breaks and all other duties does not exceed consecutive 13 hours including your driver getting from/to his base.
  • The driver's overnight rest requirements of 11 hours are adhered to in full.

Under strict limited conditions a drivers driving hours can be increased to 10 hours in a day and the drivers working day can be increased to 15 hours with the overnight rest reduced to 9 hours.

We stress that these are limited conditions and should not be considered as ways to increase your touring day but with plenty of advance notice, we would be happy to discuss these options with you should the need arise.

For more official details see:

1. Official Drivers Hours (Road Safety Authority)

2. The 12 Day Rule

The drivers hours rules generally do not present problems when using some good forward planning. (Our tour planners will help you with this) It would be rare that a touring group would want to spend so many hours of actual driving time in one day.

Problems can arise where itineraries are not planned correctly and do not work within the drivers maximum working day of 13 consecutive hours or where a late finish is followed by an early departure which does not allow for the 11 hour overnight rest rule.

With some simple forward planning you can utilize your bus/driver to best suit your plans.

For touring groups - pubs, restaurants and evening entertainment would usually be on your doorstep in the evening so you would not require the services of your coach/driver at night.

However if you do need evening transport, please keep in mind the drivers hours and overnight rest requirements.

The regulations are very much common sense and are enforced to ensure your safety which is paramount.

Your safety is our top priority

From the moment the driver starts his day all his movements are recorded by a tachograph fitted on the vehicle. This records the start/finish date, time & mileage, driving time, distance travelled, other driver duties and breaks/rest time.

Records are held for up to 13 months and a driver/company can be prosecuted anytime on this evidence.

A driver/company who does not comply with the regulations could face a stiff fine and even imprisonment.

Responsibility for compliance also falls on the organiser/agent for the group and may lead to their prosecution as well.


Your trip could also come to an abrupt end at a routine Garda/Police checkpoint.

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Butlers Private Tours Ireland (Dublin),
Grove Lodge, Bay Lane, Kilshane,
Dublin, Ireland, D11 A6N9
Butlers Private Tours Ireland (Cork),
Carrigtohill Industrial Estate,
Co. Cork, Ireland, T45 A896