FMCSA’s Regulations for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the trucking industry to protect all motorists and to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial vehicles.

Among the agency’s various regulations are the hours of service rules, which limit the amount of time a trucker can operate their commercial motor vehicle. Below, we explain in detail what it entails.

Commercial Motor Vehicles Defined

The hours of service regulations apply to commercial vehicles. According to the FMSCA, that includes any vehicles falling into these categories:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more

  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more

  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation

  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation

  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Additionally, property- and passenger-carrying drivers are held to the following regulations:

Property-Carrying Drivers

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit. Drivers may operate their vehicle a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

  • 14-Hour Driving Limit. Drivers may not go beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.

  • Rest Breaks. Drivers may resume driving if 8 hours or less have passed since the end of the last off duty period or the last break of at least 30 minutes.

  • 60/70-Hour Limit. May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.

  • Sleeper Berth Provision. Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or elsewhere.

Passenger-Carrying Drivers

  • 10-Hour Driving Limit. Drivers may operate their vehicle a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.

  • 15-Hour Driving Limit. Drivers may not go beyond 15 hours on the road, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.

  • 60/70-Hour Limit. May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.

  • Sleeper Berth Provision. Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.

Driving without an adequate amount of sleep can impair one’s ability to focus on the road and make wise decisions.

We at Kershaw Talley Barlow cannot stress the importance of these regulations enough. A fatigued trucker can pose serious risks to themselves and other motorists on the road.

If you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck, our attorneys are here to help. Call Kershaw Talley Barlow at (916) 520-6639 for your free case evaluation.

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