March 4, 2022
Share this article:
Commercial drivers must adhere to a lot of regulations regarding their time behind the wheel. These rules are in place to keep you safe as a driver by ensuring that you get enough rest and personal time while on the road. It is important to understand and obey all of the rules and regulations regarding driving time.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website outlines the full list of regulations, but we’ve outlined some important major rules - and exceptions - below.
In short, you’re allowed to drive for 11 hours per day before being required to take a 10 hour break. There are some other rules (which we have outlined below), and they do sometimes change. So make sure to keep up to date with the changing laws.
If you drive as part of a team, the rules apply to each person individually. It may take some planning to make sure you’re maximizing the time the truck can stay moving while you both stay compliant.
You cannot exceed 14 hours from the start of your workday to the end. This includes driving time as well as on-duty, not driving time.
You must take a 30 minute break for every 8 hours of driving time. You can take this in your sleeper cab, at a truck stop or travel center, and the time can be off-duty or on-duty as long as you’re not operating a motor vehicle.
Drivers are required to maintain accurate logs of driving and non-driving time. Electronic logs keep track of driving time automatically, but it’s a good idea to have a paper copy as a backup.
There are 4 different types of time that you need to log:
The FMCSA has outlined several exceptions to the rules above. Check with your employer to see if your circumstances fall under any of these categories.
If you’re moving the rig inside a yard, this can be logged as on-duty, not driving time.
If you’re using your truck for reasons not related to work. The truck can be laden or unladen.
In very rare situations, drivers may extend the daily driving limit if certain conditions (like inclement weather) are met.
Drivers may complete their runs under certain state or federal emergency declarations. This is particularly relevant with the emergence of COVID-19.
If you’re consistently operating within 150 air miles from your home terminal and returning within 14 hours daily, you can report daily hours instead of regular logs.
There are a lot of rules you need to follow as a trucker, and it’s important to make sure you’re following them and being safe. Make sure you completely understand the FMCSA’s regulations as well as your company’s rules before getting on the road.
Get the latest industry news, events and advice straight to your inbox.