How many hours can a truck driver drive? According to federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, a truck driver can drive 11 hours before taking a required 10-hour break. At the same time, drivers must log driving time and follow several other Hours of Service rules. Below, breaks down some of the finer points of truck driver hours and HOS regulations with International Used Truck Centers.
Logging Truck Driver Hours
Whether you drive a Freightliner, International, or Kenworth, most trucks automatically log driving time. Still, it’s up to the driver to keep track of non-driving time. It’s also smart to keep a paper logbook of your driving time as a backup. Driving and non-driving time must be logged under the following categories:
- Off Duty — Not required to work or be ready to work. Examples include time spent at meal stops, time spent at home, or truck stop breaks.
- Sleeper Berth — Hours spent resting in the sleeper berth.
- Driving — Time spent at the controls of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in operation, whether driving or sitting in traffic.
- On Duty Not Driving — Time spent performing any non-driving work directed by the trucking company, such as physically loading and unloading, inspections, training, and fueling.
Hours of Service Rules and Exceptions
How many hours a day can a truck driver drive legally? Hours of Service rules set how many hours a truck driver can drive in a given time period. Developed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, HOS rules are essentially labor regulations to protect truck drivers from overwork. Rules and exceptions for truck driver hours are summarized below:
Hours of Service Rules
- 11-Hour Rule — How many hours a day can a truck driver drive? This rule sets the maximum at no more than 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- 14-Hour Rule — After coming on duty, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour, and cannot resume driving without taking a 10-hour break.
- 30-Minute Break Rule — A driver is required to take one 30-minute break every eight hours of driving time.
- 70-Hour Rule — A driver may not drive more than 70 hours in any eight consecutive days. He/she may (but isn’t required to) reset the 70-hour clock by taking a 34-hour rest period.
- 10-Hour Break — Defined as 10 consecutive hours in an off-duty status, this break may be off-duty time, spent in the sleeper berth, or a combination of both.
- 7 and 3 Split/Split Sleeper Rule — Some carriers allow drivers to split a 10-hour break into 2 segments: one no shorter than 7 hours and another of at least 3 hours. However, other carriers discourage or don’t allow the 1-3 split because it may interfere with healthy sleep patterns.
Hours of Service Exceptions
- Truck driver hours don’t need to be logged when the truck is used for personal transportation.
- Time spent driving in a limited-access lot or yard can be logged as on-duty, rather than driving hours.
- Drivers that consistently operate within a 150 air-mile radius and report 14 hours or less of driving can report hours on a daily basis.
- Drivers may extend maximum driving and the maximum work day limit by up to two hours in certain adverse weather conditions.
- Drivers may complete runs under federal or state emergency declarations.
Learn More About Truck Driver Hours and HOS Rules
If you’re considering a career as a driver, you may want to learn more about how many hours a day a truck driver can drive. While the details may vary depending on the carrier you work for, most drivers must adhere to the HOS rules for truck driver hours. Contact us today to learn more.