Truck drivers have to follow strict hour requirements set by the federal government. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is in charge of the hours of service regulations.
These regulations help to ensure drivers do not overwork and intend to keep drowsy drivers off the roads. The main intention is to keep everyone safe on the roads and avoid accidents caused by truck drivers who have been on the road too long to drive safely.
Driving hour limits
A truck driver cannot drive more than 11 hours at a time. He or she must also have 10 hours off prior to driving for 11 hours. There is also a limit for the total number of hours a driver may drive when working multiple days in a row. Drivers cannot work over 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. To restart the period, the driver must have at least 34 hours off between shifts.
The government also mandates a break period for drivers. After driving eight hours, a driver must have a 30-minute break. It must be continuous.
There are some exceptions to help drivers manage their drive time and off time. If a truck has a sleeper section, he or she may split up the required 10 hours off between shifts. Truckers can take a two-hour break and then at least a seven-hour break, which must be taken in the sleeper berth. Drivers must take a total of 10 hours between the shorter break and the sleeper berth break.
The regulations also allow for drivers to go over the 11-hour maximum drive time limit in adverse weather. The rules allow them to add two hours for a total of 13 hours of drive time.
These regulations apply to trucks hauling goods and working over the road.