How Long Can Truck Drivers Drive? Safety Guidelines

Navigate the road to safety: Drive time rules and regulations for truckers unveiled!
How many hours can a truck driver drive
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Truck driving is an essential profession, responsible for the transportation of goods and products across the country. With the demand for fast deliveries and tight deadlines, it’s crucial to understand how long truck drivers are allowed to drive to ensure their safety and compliance with regulations. In this article, we will explore how long can truck drivers drive, including how long can a truck driver drive for, and how many hours can truckers drive a day.

When do truck drivers sleep

How Long Are Truck Drivers Allowed To Drive?

11 hours of driving per 14-hour window

Truck drivers must follow strict guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes these guidelines in the United States.

Hours of Service Regulations

The FMCSA’s Hours of Service (HOS) regulations dictate how long truck drivers can be on the road. These rules apply to commercial drivers, including semi truck drivers and CDL drivers. Some of the key HOS regulations are as follows:

  1. 11-Hour Driving Limit: A truck driver can drive for a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  2. 14-Hour Limit: A driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time doesn’t extend the 14-hour period.
  3. 30-Minute Break Requirement: If more than 8 hours have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes, a driver must take a break of at least 30 minutes before driving again.
Truck Lodging

How Many Hours Can Truck Drivers Drive a Day?

11 Hours per 14-Hour Period

The 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour limit mentioned above apply to semi truck drivers as well. A semi truck driver can drive for a maximum of 11 hours within a 14-hour on-duty window. The driver must then take at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving again.

60-Hour Limit Per Week

There’s an additional regulation that limits the total on-duty time for truck drivers in a 7-day or 8-day period. Therefore, a trucker cannot drive after:

  1. 60 hours on duty in any 7 consecutive days, or
  2. 70 hours on duty in any 8 consecutive days.

A driver can restart the 60/70-hour period by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

Truck driving in winter conditions
Photo: iStock

How Long Can Truckers Drive: Exceptions and Exemptions

There are specific exceptions and exemptions to HOS regulations, such as:

  1. Adverse Driving Conditions: If unexpected adverse driving conditions arise, a truck driver can extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit to 13 hours, provided they don’t drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour on duty.
  2. Short-Haul Exemption: Some short-haul drivers are exempt from certain HOS regulations. However, it depends on the nature of their work and the distance they travel.
How much can truck drivers drive without sleep

Ensuring Compliance with HOS Regulations

To stay compliant with HOS regulations, truck drivers must maintain a logbook or use an electronic logging device (ELD) to track their driving hours, breaks, and on-duty time. Violations can lead to penalties, fines, and a negative impact on the carrier’s safety rating.

In conclusion, understanding how long truck drivers can drive and the regulations that govern their work is essential for their safety and the safety of others on the road. By adhering to these guidelines, truck drivers can minimize fatigue, reduce the risk of accidents, and ensure that they are operating legally and responsibly.

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