What Truck Drivers Need To Know About Hours Of Service Regulations:
The FMCSA has established rules, known as the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations, regarding how many hours on duty and behind the wheel that interstate commercial drivers can spend each day and 7 or 8 consecutive day period.
Most commercial truck drivers will only be able to be on-duty for 14 hours, with a limit of 11 hours driving time within that 14.
The hours-of-service also require the remaining 10 hours to be "off-duty time", in which drivers are not doing any work-related activities.
Driving time limits are 60 hours in any 7 consecutive day period, or 70 hours in 8 days. It is a "rolling" total, so each day at midnight, a new day begins, potentially giving drivers hours back to drive for that day. The consecutive days clock is reset with 34 hours in a row as off-duty.
Theses rules have been put in place mainly to keep fatigued drivers from staying on the road and creating a safety hazard.
Any time spent working a second job, even a non-driving job, or carrier job in a non-driving capacity, will count as "on-duty time", per Sec. 395.2 of the CSA. Code Of Federal Regulations Title 49 Part 395.2: Hours Of Service Of Drivers
Update March 7, 2016: A letter from the Department Of Transporation's Inspector General confirmed that the study and report confirmed that there was no benefit found from the suspended regulations.
The enforcement of requirements that the 34-hour restart include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods, and the once-per-week limit applied to restart use, is currently suspended pending the FMCSA providing safety research and reports on the rules to the DOT inspector general.
On This Page:
- Who Must Comply With FMCSA Hours-of-Service Regulations?
- Exceptions To Hours-Of-Service Rules For Truck Drivers
- What Is "On-Duty" Time?
- What Is Off-Duty Time?
- Hours-of-Service (HOS) Limits For Property-Carrying Drivers
- Hours-of-Service (HOS) Limits For Passenger-Carrying Drivers
In general, all drivers must follow the hours-of-service regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle , or CMV , in interstate commerce.
Again: You. The truck driver.
Drivers who only drive in interstate commerce part of the time will have to follow Federal HOS rules only while they are operating interstate. Otherwise, each state will have their own individual rules, most of which will be very similar to the Federal rules.
Likewise, drivers operating only in intrastate commerce will not be required to adhere to Federal hours-of-service rules, but must conform to the rules in their particular state.
11-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 11 hours out of 14 total on-duty hours, after 10 consecutive hours off duty. If more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes, driving is not allowed until off-duty time is taken. Of the 14 hours per day that you are allowed to be on-duty, only 11 can be spent driving.
May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period. If you start your clock at 6am you need to be done by 8pm, and can only drive for 11 of those 14 hours.
May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver's last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. Meaning, drivers are required to take at least a 30-minute break within the first 8 hours of driving. Meal breaks or any other off-duty breaks count, and the 30-minute break also counts against the 14 on-duty hours.
Drivers who operate within 100 air-miles of their normal work location normally will not be subject to the 30-minute break rule if they:
- Drive within a 100 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location;
- Return to their work reporting location and are released within 12 consecutive hours; and
- Follow the 10-hour off-duty and 11-hour driving requirements for property-carrying CMV's.
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. This is not a "per week" limit, rather it is based on a "rolling" 7 or 8-day period, regardless of which days it encompassess.
60 Hours/7 Days:
Once you reach 60 on-duty (not just driving) hours in a period of 7 consecutive days, you will not be allowed to operate until you have accumulated more available hours on the rolling 7-day schedule. Meaning, at midnight of the 7th day, the 1st day drops off and the new day becomes the 7th day, and then math. Spending 34 consecutive hours off-duty will reset your clock to zero.
70 Hours/8 Days:
Once you reach 70 on-duty (not just driving) hours in a period of 8 consecutive days, you will not be allowed to operate until you have accumulated more available hours on the rolling 8-day schedule. Meaning, at midnight of the 8th day, the 1st day drops off and the new day becomes the 8th day, and then more math. Spending 34 consecutive hours off-duty will reset your clock to zero.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Generally, you may use the sleeper-berth provision in three ways, to get your required off-duty time:
Get 10 Consecutive Hours Off-Duty TIme:
To get your 10 consecutive hours off-duty, what is most important is that you not do any work at all, or go on-duty, driving or otherwise. Your 11-hour driving and 14-hour on-duty clocks will reset after 10 hours.
Extend The 14-hour Limit:
Any period in the sleeper berth of at least 8 consecutive hours does not count as part of the 14 hours, and, therefore, allows you to extend the time during which you could use your maximum 11 hours of driving.
Get The Equivalent Of 10 Consecutive Hours Off-duty:
- Spend at least 8 (but less than 10) hours in the sleeper berth, which will not count as part of the 14 hour limit.
- Take a second seperate rest break of at least 2 (but less than 10) hours, in the sleeper berth, off-duty, or a combination of both. This will count as part of the 14-hour limit.
- It doesn't matter which you take first.
- After you complete your second required rest period, you will have a new point on the clock from which to calculate your hours available.
- This new “calculation point” will be at the time you completed your first required rest period, giving you a new 14-hour clock.
In short, it is all of the time you are working, paid or unpaid, for a motor carrier, along with any time that you are doing paid work for anyone else, including:
- All driving time, as defined in the term driving time; Driving time means all time spent at the driving controls of a commercial motor vehicle in operation.
- All time taking care of your truck when it is broken down;
- All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any truck, including fueling it and washing it at any time;
- All other time in a commercial vehicle except time resting in a vehicle, time spent in the sleeper berth, or up to 2 hours in the passenger seat before or after 8 hours in the sleeper berth.
- All time at a plant, terminal , facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper , or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless you have been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;
- All time loading, unloading, supervising, or attending your truck; or handling paperwork for shipments;
- All time spent providing a breath, saliva, or urine sample for drug/ alcohol testing, including travel to and from the collection site;
- All time spent doing any other work for a motor carrier, including giving or receiving training and driving a company car; and
- All time spent doing paid work for anyone who is not a motor carrier, such as a part-time job at a local restaurant.
Any travel time, such as being transported to a location as part of your job, done at the direction of your employer counts as on-duty time. However, taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty immediately afterwards allows you to count travel time as off-duty for the purposes of the 7- or 8-day cycle.
If you are not doing any paid or unpaid work for a motor carrier, or any paid work for any other employer, you can consider yourself "off-duty".
You must be relieved of all responsibility for performing any work, and free to leave your vehicle where it is parked and pursue activities of your own choosing.
In other words, if you have another paid job, the time you spend at that job counts towards your on-duty time.
10-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
May not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours . Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
There are certain, very specific situations in which an interstate commercial driver may be exempt from the FMCSA hours-of-service limits:
Adverse Driving Conditions:
The Adverse Conditions exceptions gives you an additional 2 hours driving time, but does not extend the 14-hour limit. It requires that conditions that neither you nor your dispatcher could have known about, such as sudden snow, ice, fog, or traffic accident that shuts down the road.
It does not apply if you drive into known impassable or dangerous weather conditions, or heavy and congested "rush hour" traffic, or other things that you should have known about.
Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception:
If you drive short distances in a commercial vehicle that does not require a CDL , this exceotion allows you to extend the 14-hour limit to 16 hours on 2 days in a consecutive 7 day period, or after a 34-hour reset. To qualify, you must:
- Drive a truck that is a “commercial motor vehicle” but does not require a CDL , and
Work within a 150 air-mile radius of your normal work reporting location and return there each day.
An air mile is longer than a statute mile. There are 6,076 feet in an air mile and 5,280 feet in a statute mile. One-hundred air miles is equal to 115.08 statute miles.
Therefore, a 100 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 115.08 statute, or “roadmap,” miles (185.2 km) from your work reporting location. A 150 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 172.6 statute miles (277.8 km).
If you meet the above criteria for using the short-haul exception:
- You must not drive for more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty;
- You must not drive past the 14th hour after coming on duty 5 days in any period of 7 consecutive days; and
- You must not drive past the 16th hour after coming on duty 2 days in any period of 7 consecutive days.
- You must not drive after being on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days (unless you took 34 consecutive hours off to restart a 7/8-day period that meets the conditions listed above).
Drivers do not have to keep a logbook , but their employer must keep accurate time records for 6 months that show:
- The time the driver reported for duty each day;
- The total number of hours the driver was on duty each day;
- The time the driver was released from duty each day;
- The total time for the preceding 7 days.
16-Hour Short-Haul Exception
Used if you normally come back to your work location and go home every day. It allows you to extend your 14-hour clock to 16 hours, but only once every 7 consecutive days. You must:
- Return to your work location that day, as well as for the previous 5 "workdays".
- Be released from duty within 16 hours after coming on duty.
- Only use this exception once every 7 consecutive days, unless you have taken a 34-hour restart.