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What hours of service rules must truck drivers comply with?

Semitrailer trucks ply the highways and byways of Pittsburgh every day. There are so many of them that it is natural to wonder whether all of these truck drivers are fit to drive. Federal transportation law addresses this concern with hours of service regulations. These regulations control the number of hours truck drivers can work and the number and lengths of breaks they must take. This blog post will provide a quick summary of the federal hours of service regulations.

Truck drivers may drive for up to 11 total hours after 10 hours off duty. If they mix on-duty and off-duty periods during a shift, drivers are not allowed to drive past the 14th consecutive hour after the end of the 10-hour off-duty period. This rule prevents truck drivers from working past the 14th hour after a 10-hour break even if the driver has had extensive off-duty periods during the 14-hour period.

Furthermore, truck drivers may only drive if it has been eight hours or less since their last off-duty or break period of at least 30 minutes. This encourages drivers to take a break after driving for eight hours. Also, a truck driver may not drive after 60 total hours on duty in seven days - or 70 total hours on duty over eight days. The driver may resume driving after 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

Truck drivers are expected to make note of all their work and break periods in logbooks. These logbooks are subject to inspection by Pennsylvania authorities. A truck driver may be penalized for violating the hours of service rules. The logbooks may also be evidence if truck driver fatigue contributes to a serious truck accident.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "Summary of Hours of Service Regulations," accessed on April 2, 2017

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