New regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, taking effect this past July, have been the subject of debate both inside and outside of the truck driving industry. However drivers might feel about the specific rules, all agree that it’s important to prevent fatigue that might put truck drivers and those who share the road with them at risk. Here are the rules as they currently stand.
A driver operating a “property-carrying vehicle” may work shifts lasting a maximum of 14 hours before taking 10 consecutive hours off duty. After those 10 hours, they can start another shift. However, there are certain stipulations within the 14-hour work shift. A driver may spend no more than 11 total hours on the road during the 14-hour shift. They can drive for periods of up to 8-hours straight, and must separate any 8-hour period with minimum 30-minute rest breaks.
An example of an acceptable driving schedule under these regulations might include two 4-hour driving periods followed by 1.5-hour periods of rest or other non-driving work, with another 3-hour driving period at the end. This would include the proper 11-hour maximum driving time while staying well under the 8-hour limit. At the end of the shift, the driver would then need to take his 10 consecutive off duty hours.
There are also weekly stipulations on driving time. If the truck driver’s employer does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week, the driver can be on duty for a maximum of 60 hours in 7 days. If their employer operates commercial motor vehicles every day, that maximum can be extended to 70 hours over 8 consecutive days. In both cases, drivers may “restart” the 7 or 8 day period by taking at least 34 consecutive off duty hours, including two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m, but only if 168 hours(7 days) have passed since the last “restart” began.
We admit that the rules can be confusing, and may take some getting used to. Drivers are required to keep a log to make sure they are staying within their limits. At Platinum Drivers, we always encourage truck drivers to be safe and to get enough rest while on the road.