How Many Hours are Truck Drivers Legally Allowed to Drive?

The Roth Firm

The Roth Firm

Were you recently involved in a Truck Accident that was not your fault?

Are you concerned that maybe the driver who caused your accident was not following Truck Driving rules and guidelines?

If you think that your accident may have been caused by a truck driver who went against driving regulations, then you may be wondering How Many Hours are Truck Drivers Legally Allowed to Drive? 

Federal hours of service regulations restrict the driving hours for commercial truck drivers both daily and weekly.

These rules are specifically designed to keep drivers who may be fatigued off the road and to hopefully reduce the number of commercial trucking accidents. 

Following these rules are extremely important, fatigued drivers run the risk of causing very serious accidents endangering not only themselves but other vehicle drivers as well. 

There are 4 major rules that commercial truck drivers must follow in order to comply with driving regulations. 

Truck Driver's Hours of Service 

1. 11 Hour Rule 

A truck driver is not permitted to drive for more than 11 consecutive hours before he is required to take 10 hours of duty or "sleeper" break. When a truck driver has driven 11 hours, he can only drive another 11 hours after the 10 hours off duty or sleeper break.  

2. 14 Hour Rule 

This rule is a bit more complicated than the 11-hour rule. 

The 14-hour rule states that a truck driver is not allowed to drive more than 14 hours before taking a 10 hour off duty or sleeper break. The 14-hour clock is a fixed window which means that once the driver comes on duty to begin their shit, he gets 14 hours to work and drive, no more. 

To make this more clear, if a truck driver beings his shift at 5:00 AM, by 7 PM he is required to stop driving regardless of how many hours he actually drove during the 14-hour window. This means if a truck driver stops for a long lunch, gets delayed, or even takes a nap, NONE of this will extend the 14 hour window. 

It is very common for a truck driver to reach the 14-hour window without actually driving for even 11 hours. Although the driver may not have driver 11 hours, they cannot go beyond that 14-hour window of duty. Once they reach the 14 hours they are then required to take the 10 hours off duty or sleeper break. 

3. 30 Minute Rule 

This rule states that a truck driver is not permitted to drive past the 8-hour mark until he has taken a 30 minute off duty or sleeper break. This time begins as soon as the driver is "on duty". This means if a truck driver clocks in at 5:00 AM but does not begin driving until 5:30 AM, they are still required to take the 30 minutes off duty or sleeper break by 1:00 PM. 

4. 70 Hour Rule 

The 70-hour rule has to do with a weekly or cumulative driving amount which does NOT allow a driver to work every day, without an end. 

Truck drivers are not permitted to drive after being on duty 70 hours in any consecutive 8 day period. Another important component of this rule is that a driver can reset his 10 hour cycle back to zero IF he gets 34 consecutive hours off duty. 

As you can probably tell, truck drivers must be on top of their hours worked or they could get into a lot of trouble. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, truck drivers break these rules, and because of their negligence, accidents occur. 

If you were hit by a truck driver and you suspect they may have been driving when they were not supposed to be, it's very important to hire a Personal Injury Attorney for legal help. 

Hiring the Right Truck Accident Attorney 

When you're involved in an accident that is not your fault, proving the other driver's negligence is on your own can be very difficult, especially if you have to prove that they were driving when they weren't supposed to be. 

Knowing and understanding all of the truck driving rules and regulations is difficult, especially because unless you're a PI Attorney or a truck driver, there are not enough reasons you should know them.

Having someone to represent you who is well versed in these laws will make obtaining compensation much easier. 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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