When truck accidents happen, many drivers may assume that these truckers were simply on the road for too long. However, truck drivers can only drive for a certain number of hours each day.

Professional truck drivers have to follow hours-of-service regulations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these regulations determine how long truck drivers can be on the road each day. Officials put them in place to make sure that truckers are not too tired to drive. Truckers have to follow these regulations if they drive a truck that weighs more than 10,000 pounds. These guidelines also apply if truckers drive their vehicle across state lines. If truckers haul any type of hazardous material, they also need to abide by these regulations.

What is on-duty time?

Officials use on-duty and off-duty time to decide how long truckers can drive. On-duty time consists of all the time a trucker actively works on any task relating to trucking. This can include driving but it also includes servicing and inspecting a vehicle, unloading cargo and filling out paperwork. Truck drivers can be on-duty for 60 hours in a 7-day period.

How long can truckers drive?

Drivers cannot spend all 60 hours of their on-duty time driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that truck drivers have a 14-hour window in which they can drive. During these 14 hours, they can be on the road for no more than 11 hours. After they complete these hours of driving time, they have to go off-duty for 10 consecutive hours. During these off-duty hours, truck drivers cannot perform any tasks related to trucking. Additionally, after truckers drive for 8 consecutive hours, they need to take a half-hour break.