How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive?

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When it comes to how many hours can a truck driver drive, rules are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. With this in mind, truck drivers tend to be on major roads all throughout the day. And since they’re bigger than the average vehicle, they can become a danger to other drivers. 

If you have any injuries from a truck accident, you should call a truck accident lawyer at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys. Ultimately, a truck accident lawyer can get started on your case and get the compensation you’re owed.

Want to know more details about how many hours can a truck driver drive? Continue reading along. 

Truck Driver Hours of Service Rules

The maximum driving hours for commercial drivers is 11 hours in a 24-hour period. These hours of service limits for truck drivers ensure that drivers adhere to safe driving practices and prevent fatigue-related accidents. 

Furthermore, the implementation of these hours of service limits recognizes the importance of maintaining alertness and focus while operating commercial vehicles. Prolonged periods of driving without adequate rest can lead to:

  • decreased concentration, 
  • slower reaction times, 
  • and impaired decision-making abilities. 

Fatigue-related incidents can clearly result in serious accidents, endangering the lives of the drivers themselves, passengers, and other road users. However, this is why truck driver fatigue management is taken very seriously.

Commercial Truck Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)

You may be wondering, “How do drivers record their hours of service?” The answer is electronic logging devices.

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are electronic devices used by commercial motor vehicle drivers to record their hours of service (HOS) data. These devices are designed to ensure compliance with HOS regulations. These regulations govern the maximum number of hours a driver can be on duty and behind the wheel.

While most commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to use ELDs, there are certain exemptions and exceptions for specific industries. These exemptions recognize that some industries have unique operating conditions or requirements that may not align with the standard HOS regulations.

HOS Exemptions For Certain Industries:

Here are some examples of industries that may have exemptions related to electronic logging devices and hours of service:

  1. Agriculture: The agricultural industry often faces seasonal demands and unique operating conditions. In recognition of these challenges, drivers transporting products within a 150-air-mile radius of the source are exempt from using ELDs. However, they still need to maintain accurate records of their hours of service using other means, such as paper logs.
  2. Oilfield operations: Drivers in oilfield operations may qualify for the “short-haul” exemption. To qualify, drivers must operate within a 150-air-mile radius of their work. Also, they must meet other specific criteria, like maintaining time records and returning to the work reporting location within 14 hours.
  3. Construction: Some construction drivers may be exempt from using ELDs if they meet the criteria for the “short-haul” exemption. So, if you drive within a 150-mile range of your reporting location, and meet other criteria, you may be exempt.
  4. Certain emergency services: Drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in emergency situations or responding to emergencies may be exempt. It’s granted to drivers of fire trucks, police vehicles, and other emergency response vehicles.

Caution: As regulations can change over time, be sure to keep up with current regulations. Also, you should seek professional help to ensure you’re compliant with exemptions and requirements relevant to your industry.

What Are the FMCSA Hours of Service Regulations for Truck Drivers?

As mentioned, the FMCSA grants a truck driver a maximum of 11 hours in a 24-hour period. This rule applies no matter what state a truck driver is in. 

After being on the road for 11 hours, the driver must then take a break of at least 10 consecutive hours. After taking a break, they can then begin driving again. 

Rest Break Requirements For Truckers:

FMCSA regulations also limit the number of hours a driver can work each week. Depending on the employer’s schedule, a driver has a total of 60 hours in a 7-day period. Or, they have 70 hours of driving in an 8-day period

However, before a new work week, a break is required of at least 34 consecutive hours.

These hours of service limits for truck drivers serve as a major safety measure. By striking a balance between work and rest, these regulations aim to create a safer environment for the transportation industry. 

Truck Driver Fatigue Management:

So, how many hours can a truck driver drive? 11 every 24 hours

Keep in mind that these regulations are subject to change. Also, some employers may have more policies on top of these regulations. They do this to highlight the importance of their drivers and others’ safety on the road.

By setting a maximum limit on driving hours, regulatory authorities intend to prevent drivers from pushing themselves beyond safe limits. This regulation encourages drivers to take regular breaks and get sufficient rest to combat fatigue. Adequate rest periods allow drivers to recharge, reducing the likelihood of drowsiness and improving their overall alertness on the road.

Moreover, these limits also take into account the importance of maintaining a work-life balance for commercial drivers. By ensuring they have a reasonable limit on driving hours, drivers are encouraged to have proper rest and engage in activities outside of work. This helps prevent burnout and improves the overall quality of life for commercial drivers!

When it comes to the aftermath of a commercial truck accident, you need a legal team that’s committed to you.

At Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys, we have a deep understanding of the laws and regulations governing the trucking industry. Our experienced truck accident lawyers will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. 

When you’re faced with a commercial truck accident, don’t settle for anything less than the best. Get Gordon and Get it Done!