The Number of Hours that Truckers Can Drive Without Adequate Rest Periods

18 wheelerIt’s one of the most common causes of large truck accidents—a driver, facing a deadline or trying to make more money, stays on the road for hours at a time, leading to fatigue and lapses in judgment. It’s not only negligence, it’s a violation of federal trucking regulations.

According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations, there are specific hours of service rules governing how much consecutive time a commercial truck driver can be on the road, how much break time a driver must have between shifts, and how much total time drivers can be on the road during a specific time period.

There are three specific maximum duty limits for over-the-road truckers:

  • A 14 hour “driving window”
  • An 11 hour driving limit
  • A 60 hour, 7 day or a 70 hour, 8 day limit

The 14 Hour Driving Window

With the 14 hour “driving window,” you have a total period of 14 hours—it need not be in the same day, but does run consecutively — within which you cannot drive more than 11 hours. However, for this window to apply, you must have been off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours before the 14 hour period starts. In addition, once the 14 hour period ends, you must be off duty for a minimum of 10 consecutive hours.

The 11 Hour Driving Limit

You cannot drive more than 11 hours in any 14 hour consecutive time period. Once the 14 hour consecutive period ends, you must take a mandatory 10 rest period, even if you haven’t totaled 11 hours in the 14 hour period.

The 60/70 Hour Limits

All over-the-road drivers also have what are essentially “weekly” limits. Counted from the start of your motor carrier’s 24 hour period, you cannot exceed 60 hours in the next 168 or 70 hours in the next 192.

In addition to the above regulations, drivers are also required to take at least 30 minutes off if they have been on the road for at least 8 hours.

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