Commercial truckers have a huge responsibility in front of them. Their vehicles require a great degree of skill and care to operate safely, which is why truckers must have the proper training. They must also take steps to prevent fatigue and drowsiness behind the wheel.
To ensure safe roads for all drivers, hours of service regulations stipulate when truckers must take breaks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration explains these regulations, which are enacted to reduce the risk of accidents and preserve safety and well-being.
60/70-hour driving limit
Truckers are restricted to 60/70 hours of driving during a 7/8-day period. Once the limit has been reached, commercial drivers must take at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty before the 7/8-day period starts over.
30-minute breaks when driving
After driving eight hours without interruption, truckers must take a 30-minute break. Drivers can remain on-duty, meaning they are performing non-driving tasks related to their job, or they can spend the break off-duty, meaning eating or napping. They can also combine these activities, provided they do no driving during the 30-minute period.
14-hour and 11-hour driving limits
Truckers have a 14-hour period during which they can complete their driving for the day, as well as do other non-driving, on-duty tasks. Upon taking a 10-hour break, the driver’s 14-hour period resets and starts again. Within this 14-hour period, truckers are only permitted to drive a maximum of 11 hours.
Both the 14-hour driving window and the 11-hour limit can be extended by two hours if poor weather prevents truckers from driving. There are also short-haul exceptions, which stipulate that truckers who work within a 150-mile radius of the location where they report can use the maximum 14-hour window.