We’re all curious, so let’s dive right into the highway woodchuck’s favorite question: “how many hours can truck drivers drive if truck drivers could drive trucks?”
Well, those woodchucks may never know, but we have done the research and learned just how many hours truck drivers can drive, in each workday and week. So if you’re still curious, read on to learn just how many hours truck drivers can drive.
The Hours-of-Service Limits
The 11-hour driving limit comes from the Hours-of-Service Limits that are set by the FMCSA in order to prevent drowsy driving. Driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. And of course, there is no drinking or drug use allowed during this work period. Read on here to learn more about that.
While truck drivers have an important job to do, it is equally important that they are well rested in order to protect themselves, other drivers, and cargo.
14-Hour Driving Window
The 14-hour driving window sets the maximum hours for a workday. The timer starts when the truck driver starts work, not when they start driving. The 14-hour window does not stop when the driver takes a break. And once the 14-hour window has ended, the driver must be off duty for 10 hours before the next workday can start.
11-Hour Driving Limit
The 11-hour driving limit is the amount of time that the driver can spend operating a vehicle in any given workday. And they can’t drive 11 hours straight, either. The maximum amount of time a driver can go without stopping is 8 hours. At that point, they are legally required to take a 30-minute break.
And the drivers don’t have to drive 8 hours before taking a break. The 11 hours can be broken up into smaller chunks within the 14-hour driving window.
Rolling 7 Day Period
In terms of the workweek, it’s not based on Monday-Friday like most other jobs. The truck driver’s workweek is based around 60 hours in a 7 day, or 70 hours in an 8 day rolling period.
This means that the maximum amount of hours that can be driven in a 7 or 8 day period are 60 or 70, respectively. During that period, there must be 10 hours of rest between shifts and no workday exceeding 14 hours.
Who Does This Apply To?
These rules only apply if you are a licensed truck driver of a commercial motor vehicle involved in interstate commerce.
So that means you must be transporting cargo between two or more states. You must also be driving a commercial motor vehicle with a weight of 10,001 lbs or more, including the load.
You are exempt from these rules if the truck is used for personal conveyance. Also if the truck is driven in a limited-access lot you can report hours worked instead of a driving log.
So, How Many Hours Can Truck Drivers Drive?
The longest stretch truck drivers can drive without stopping is 8 hours. The maximum amount of hours they can drive in one 14 hour period is 11 hours. And remember, that is only after a 10-hour break. So now that we’ve covered how many hours can truck drivers drive, I hope you have a newfound respect for these hard workers!
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