Driving to The Limit: How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive?
The number of hours a truck driver can drive is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which sets limits on the number of hours a driver can spend on the road each day and week. These regulations are known as "hours of service" (HOS) rules.
The current HOS rules for truck drivers are as follows:
- A truck driver can drive a maximum of 11 hours per day after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- A truck driver can drive a maximum of 14 hours per day, but the 14 hours must include at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- A truck driver can drive a maximum of 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days. A truck driver must take at least 34 consecutive hours off duty after reaching the 60/70 hour limit.
- A truck driver must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving.
- A truck driver must maintain accurate logs of their driving time, on-duty time, and off-duty time, and they must be available for inspection by law enforcement or company officials.
It's important to note that these regulations apply to most truck drivers who operate commercial vehicles weighing over 10,000 pounds and are used in interstate commerce. Some exceptions apply for agricultural operations and short-haul operations, and some states have additional regulations that may be more restrictive.
It's worth noting that these regulations are in place to ensure the safety of the drivers, other drivers on the road, and the public. Fatigue is a leading cause of truck accidents, and these regulations are designed to reduce the risk of fatigue-related crashes by limiting the number of hours a driver can spend on the road.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the minimum hours of service (HOS) regulations for truck drivers, some states have implemented additional regulations that may be more restrictive. These state regulations are known as "break laws" and are designed to ensure that truck drivers take adequate rest breaks during their workday.
Here are a few examples of state regulations that may be more restrictive than federal regulations:
- California: The state of California requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after every 8 hours of driving, in addition to the federal HOS regulations.
- New York: The state of New York has a similar regulation, requiring truck drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after 8 hours of driving.
- Oregon: The state of Oregon has a "daily rest" regulation, which requires truck drivers to take at least 10 consecutive hours off duty each day, in addition to the federal HOS regulations.
- Washington: The state of Washington has a "daily rest" regulation, which requires truck drivers to take at least 8 consecutive hours off duty each day.
These are just a few examples, and the regulations can vary depending on the state. It's important for truck drivers to familiarize themselves with the regulations in the states where they will be driving, as failure to comply with state regulations can result in fines, penalties, and even revocation of a commercial driver's license (CDL).
It's also worth noting that some local municipalities may also have regulations that are more restrictive than federal and state regulations, so it's essential for truck drivers to be aware of these regulations in the areas where they will be driving.