Transport Minister Grant Schapps declared that from July 12 to August 8, driver hours will be extended from nine hours per day to 10 hours, with 11-hour days allowed twice a week.
Said Road Haulage Association (RHA) chief Richard Burnett: 'Loading more hours on to drivers that are already exhausted is not the answer - the problem needs more than just a sticking plaster.
'Ministers should be mindful that road safety is the reason drivers' hours are limited. Relaxing them should only be used as a last resort to resolve short-term issues that cannot be addressed in other ways,' said Mr Burnett.
Said the government notice: 'The temporary relaxation of the rules reflects the exceptional circumstances stemming from a shortage of heavy goods vehicle [HGV] drivers causing acute supply chain pressures.'
'It must be used only where necessary, otherwise, the normal drivers' hours rules should be followed,' said the government notice.
The RHA estimates the heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sector is short 100,000 drivers after drivers leaving the industry was accelerated by the UK leaving the EU and the Covid crisis.
Mr Burnett declared rather than extending hours behind the wheel, a package of measures was required, such as temporary work visas for drivers from Europe so businesses could access drivers who were urgently needed, as well as reducing backlogs in truck driver testing that grew sharply during the pandemic lockdowns.
'We oppose wholesale extensions to drivers' hours as we believe they can be counter-productive by making the job less attractive,' said Mr Burnett.
'We have offered ministers a range of short-, mid-, and long-term solutions in our 12-point plan to tackle the crisis, including better support for training and apprenticeships, improved on-road facilities, and temporary visas for overseas drivers,' said Mr Burnett.