Hours of Service Rules

Back to Trucking FAQ

During your career, it is important to manage the legal amount of hours you are able to drive.  Federal Hours of Service rules dictate how much you may drive during a specific time period.

What are the Hours of Service Rules?

In 1938 a set of rules was established per the trucking industry to govern the length of time truckers could spend on the road operating a CMV. These rules are referred to as Hours of Service and they affect both truckers who are just coming out of truck driving schools as well as those who are veterans in the trucking industry. The guidelines were established to protect other motorists and reduced the number of accidents involving truck drivers.

History of changes

From the time that these rules were established there has been several revisions. The driver must follow a regime that requires that he or she can drive only 11 hours within a 14 hours span and must rest for 10 hours. A log book must be kept documenting information containing name, truck number, the company that they work for, and the time that they stopped for breaks, etc. This info has to be accessible if stopped by authorities and requested. The initial ruling has been amended, requiring that an electronic on-board recorder be on every commercial truck to document hours of service.

Why are they needed?

When the body doesnít get enough sleep it impairs a personís capability to function 100%, including those related to driving and operating equipment. Many of these truckloads contain materials that are non-hazardous; there are just as many others that are hauling matters that are hazardous. This places other motoristsí lives in jeopardy as they travel down the highway, and subsequently are involved in an accident with one of these carriers. The results could be catastrophe and multiple.

These rules play a very important part in alerting the trucking industry to the need for more highway safety as it pertains to their increasing visibility on our highways.

How do drivers stay compliant?

All drivers must comply with Federal and state regulations. They are required to have a CDL license if hauling hazardous materials or any type or materials that weigh 26,000 pounds and over. These licenses are obtained by completing a CDL training class. They must be maintained and kept up-to-date.

Commercial drivers must also comply with the hours of service rules by documenting their timeline of activities using an electronic on-board recorder. This device records the amount of time that the truck is being driven.

Featured Schools