Those who spend their time in the transport industry know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put guidelines in place to help ensure the safety of drivers, cargo, and motorists on the open road. One of the areas of regulations concerns how long can a truck driver drive on a route or job before a break must be taken. These rules establish periods of rest for drivers, helping keep them alert while behind the wheel. The rules are complex and can get confusing, but here is a general breakdown.
There are different kinds of truck drivers, resulting in different types of service regulations. There are two primary categories between these types, either passenger-carrying drivers or property-carrying drivers. Those that carry passengers have more stringent guidelines than property-carrying drivers. Differences also exist depending on the transport routes, with drivers either being subject to state or federal guidelines.
The guidelines go into effect after a driver has marked 34 consecutive hours of duty. The workweek begins when the driving starts and continues through the following week until the same time. There must be at least 10 hours off-duty between workweeks. There are caps of 60 hours on-duty within seven days and 70 hours within eight days. Mandatory break schedules are also required.
Keeping drivers safe is the goal of the resting guidelines. Failing to adhere to these can result in the loss of an operating license.