Truck drivers are responsible for picking up products and/or packages and transporting them to local destinations as well as across the country. Drivers that have to make long-distance trips usually drive for several hours or days straight in order to meet delivery deadlines. They may spend many hours alone and days away from their homes and families while performing this sometimes exhausting work. The U.S. Department of Transportation has instituted labor laws for the trucking industry that regulates truck drivers' hours on duty.
11-Hour Driving Limit Law
The Federal Motor Carrier Association, a division of the Department of Transportation, created driving regulations for the trucking industry after performing a scientific review on fatigue research. They saw that it was necessary to ensure the safety of truck drivers by creating labor laws that required them to get necessary rest. Truck drivers may drive no more than eleven hours in a work day and must have at least ten straight hours of rest, or off-duty, before they can get behind the wheel again. The driver can still be on duty after eleven hours of driving but they can only perform work duties that do not require driving.
14-Hour Duty Limit Law
The labor laws also mandate the maximum number of hours worked in a period of time for the trucking industry. While you can drive up to eleven hours before you are required to stop, you can only work for a total of 14 consecutive hours at a time including performing any duties outside of truck. Any breaks you take are factored into the fourteen hours, but if you drive a truck with a sleeper berth you may be able to sleep for enough hours to extend the 14-hour limit. Just as with the 11-hour driving labor laws, you have to wait for at least 10 hours before you can return to work after putting in 14 hours.
60/70 Hour Duty Limit Law
The FMCA labor laws restrict the number of hours that truck drivers can work within a seven or eight day period. Depending on how many days your employer requires their trucks to be on the road, you may have to follow the 60 hour/7 day schedule or the 70 hour/8 day schedule. For example, if you only drive on certain days of the week you can drive a maximum of 60 hours within seven days. If the company you work for requires that trucks are driven every day, you may drive up to 70 hours within an eight day period. The labor laws also state that once you complete a 60 or 70 hour work cycle, you have to wait at least 34 hours before you can begin driving your truck again.