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How long are truck drivers allowed to be on the road?

On Behalf of | Dec 18, 2019 | Firm News |

Large semi-trucks traveling in and around Mechanicsburg are a common sight. It can be easy to forget that the drivers of these massive vehicles often have to drive them over long distances. An extended trip in any vehicle can be taxing on the driver, and while truckers may be better acclimated to it, that does not mean that they are not subject to fatigue. 

Unfortunately, a fatigued truck driver can be a substantial danger to the others on the road around them. Even a moment of drowsiness can result in a serious collision involving several vehicles and littering the roadway with potentially dangerous debris. 

Regulating truck drivers’ working hours 

To cut down on the risk of having drowsy truck drivers traveling on the nation’s roads, federal lawmakers have taken steps to manage the amount of time they can spend behind the wheel. However, truckers often travel alone and are not immediately accountable to anyone other than employers. 

Thus, to ensure compliance, officials have made it mandatory that truckers maintain logs detailing their working hours. In the wake of a collision, such a log can indicate whether a truck driver was abiding by the regulations. Failing to maintain updated work records may also be an indicator of a driver not following the mandated guidelines. 

Hours of service guidelines 

Just what are those guidelines? Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, they include the following: 

  • Drivers can only drive a maximum of 11 hours before having to take 10 consecutive hours off duty 
  • Drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after having taken 10 hours off duty 
  • Drivers cannot drive if it has been more than eight hours since they last had a break of at least 30 minutes 
  • Drivers cannot work more than 60/70 hours over a 7/8 day period (a break of at least 34 consecutive hours re-starts the work week) 

Note that these standards only apply to truckers carrying freight. Those who transport passengers, such as bus drivers, must follow different standards.