How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive?

How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive

How many hours can a truck driver drive in 24 hours? What are the rules for commercial truck drivers?

Truck drivers are pivotal in maintaining the flow of goods but face stringent regulations for road safety. At Curcio & Casciato, we recognize the importance of these rules in preventing trucking accidents. In our latest blog, the Chicago personal injury attorneys explain the legal limits on driving hours and the impact of these laws on driver well-being and road safety. 

If you or a loved one were involved in an accident involving a commercial truck driver, contact Curcio & Casciato to learn more about your legal options. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago trucking accident attorneys, call (312) 321-1111 today.

How Long Can Truck Drivers Drive?

Truck drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which sets specific limits on how long they can drive to ensure safety. According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, truck drivers are allowed to drive up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They must not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Additionally, truck drivers are required to take a 30-minute break if they have driven for 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption. These rules are part of the Hours of Service regulations designed to prevent fatigue-related accidents on the road.

Hours of Service Regulations for Commercial Truck Drivers

The Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for truck drivers were established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to limit the number of hours truck drivers drive within a set time frame to prevent fatigue-related accidents. 

These regulations manage the maximum number of daily and weekly driving hours, mandate rest periods, and require regular rest breaks. They limit truck drivers to a maximum of 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour workday, followed by a mandatory 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Additionally, the regulations limit a 60/70-hour driving window over a 7/8 consecutive day period. 

The FMCSA monitors driving time with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). These digital systems automatically record a driver’s driving time and off-duty time to monitor Hours of Service compliance. These devices were designed to replace traditional paper logbooks and ensure more accurate tracking of a driver’s work hours. 

ELDs are connected directly to the vehicle’s engine, capturing data on whether the motor is running, if the vehicle is moving, the number of miles driven, and the duration of engine operation. This technology simplifies the record-keeping process within the trucking industry and enhances compliance with HOS regulations.

how many hours can a truck driver drive in 24 hours

Who Must Follow Hours of Service Regulations?

Commercial motor vehicle drivers, including truck drivers, bus drivers, and other drivers of large vehicles involved in interstate commerce, must follow the Hours of Service regulations. Any commercial motor vehicle that falls under the categories below must follow the Hours of Service guidelines. The vehicle:

  • weights at least 10,001 pounds.
  • has a gross weight rating, or the gross combination weight rating equals or exceeds 10,001 pounds.
  • is designed or employed to transport 16 or more passengers (driver included) without
  • is designed or employed to transport nine or more passengers (driver included) with compensation.
  • is involved in transporting hazardous materials in quantities necessitating using placards.

The HOS regulations were created to prevent driver fatigue, reduce accidents, and promote road safety. 

How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive in 24 Hours?

Understanding the limitations and regulations surrounding truck driver hours is essential, as it directly impacts driver well-being, fatigue prevention, and the prevention of accidents on our roads. 

how long can truck drivers drive

Property-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers must follow these federal regulations:

11 Hour Driving Limit for Truck Drivers

Drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours of off-duty status.

14 Hour Driving Limit for Truck Drivers

This rule restricts drivers to a 14-hour working window, within which the 11 hours of driving must be completed. This window begins once the driver starts driving or does non-driving work.

30 Minute Driving Break for Truck Drivers

Drivers must take a 30-minute break if they have driven for eight hours without at least a 30-minute interruption.

60/70 Hour Limit for Truck Drivers

This rest break rule limits drivers to 60 hours of on-duty time over seven days or 70 hours over eight days. The 7/8-day period can restart after taking 34 consecutive hours off duty.

Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers can split their required 10-hour off-duty period in specific ways if their vehicle has a sleeper berth. For instance, they can divide it into two periods, one being at least seven straight hours in the sleeper berth and the other being at least two consecutive hours off duty or in the sleeper berth, provided the two periods total 10 hours.

Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

This provision allows drivers to extend their driving limit or 14-hour time frame by up to 2 hours in adverse driving conditions, like unexpected bad weather or traffic delays due to accidents.

Short Haul Exception

Short-haul drivers who operate within a 150-air-mile radius of their work reporting location and return there daily are exempt from certain HOS regulations, like maintaining a logbook and the 14-hour rule, provided they meet specific criteria.

Understanding and following these regulations is crucial for property-carrying drivers to ensure road safety and regulatory compliance.

Chicago 18 Wheeler Attorneys

Can You Sue a Truck Driver for Causing an Accident?

If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a truck driver, you may have the legal right to sue for compensation. In these cases, the lawsuit can be filed against the truck driver, their employer, or both, depending on the circumstances. 

To establish a successful truck accident claim, your attorney from Curcio & Casciato will show that the truck driver was negligent or violated laws or regulations, such as Hours of Service rules, and that this negligence directly resulted in the accident and your subsequent injuries or losses. These personal injury lawsuits address damages like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. 

Compensation for Accidents With Negligent Property-Carrying Drivers

Semi-truck accidents often result in major damages due to the trucks’ size and weight. Victims may face catastrophic injuries, substantial medical expenses, lost income, and potential future earnings loss. Emotional and psychological trauma are also common, alongside extensive property damage.

The complexity and severity of these damages are why contacting an experienced truck accident attorney from Curcio & Casciato is critical. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys will work diligently to seek both economic and non-economic damages. 

truck driver hours illinois

Economic damages refer to specific financial losses that directly result from an accident. Below are some economic damages that can be recovered following a successful trucking accident claim. 

  • Lost wages 
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Physical therapy expenses

For more information, contact a Chicago semi truck accident attorney today.

Non-economic damages are intangible and subjective losses a person suffers due to an accident or injury. Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages address the personal, non-monetary impact on the victim’s life.

Chicago Lawyers for Truck Driver Negligence

The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Curcio & Casciato specialize in handling complex cases, like those involving commercial motor vehicles, with the utmost care. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, call the Chicago commercial vehicle accident attorneys at (312) 321-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.

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