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How long can a truck driver be on the road?

Thanks to the increased awareness dedicated to the issue in recent years, you are likely well aware of the dangers you face from drowsy drivers on Texas’ roads. Experts encourage those who feel fatigued behind the wheel to pull off the road and get some needed rest. However, that may not be an option for some.

Truck drivers ply their trade on the road, and thus cannot simply pull over when a bout of drowsiness hits. Yet given the dangers that drivers of regular vehicles pose while fatigued, you can only imagine how much more threatening a drowsy truck driver can be. To discourage truck drivers from pressing themselves to the point of physical exhaustion while working (and to protect you and others), federal lawmakers regulate how long they can be on the road.

Federal hours-of-service regulations

Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these regulations state that truck drivers cannot do the following:

  • Drive more than 11 hours during a single work shift
  • Drive beyond the fourteenth consecutive hour of an individual shift
  • Drive for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes
  • Drive more than 60/70 hours during a 7/8-day workweek

For the purposes of these regulations, off-duty periods of 36 and 10 consecutive hours re-starts a workweek or shift.

Drivers must keep detailed logs of their working hours, and should one collide with you, they must produce up-to-date logs proving their compliance to these standards upon demand.

Common exceptions to hour restrictions

There are exceptions to these rules. Drivers who do not travel outside of a 100-mile radius from their point of origin are not required to follow them. Government officials may also elect to suspend them during declared state and national emergencies.