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How Many Hours Can a Trucker Drive?

Truck Drivers have regulations on maximum driving hours per day, week and sometimes a month. Learn what these are and how they vary between states.

To ensure the safety of truckers and those they share the road with, truckers must adhere to certain driving requirements. In this article, we will discuss how these requirements apply on a daily and weekly basis, and review state-by-state requirements.

How Many Hours Can a Trucker Drive Per Day?

Under the current hours-of-service regulations, a trucker can be on the road for

  • Property-Carrying Drivers:
    • No more than 11 hours of daily driving, after 10 consecutice hours off duty
    • 14-hour workday cap
  • Passenger-Carrying Drivers:
    • No more than 10 hours of daily driving, with 8 consecutice hours off duty
    • 15-hour workday cap

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed the Hours of Service (HOS) standards to ensure the safety of commercial truck drivers and others on the road. The FMCSA’s primary goal is to reduce large truck and bus-related collisions, injuries, and fatalities.

These regulations(which vary from state to state) limit the hours a commercial truck driver may drive during an allotted period and demand that truckers and trucking companies maintain thorough records of these hours for possible future inspection. 

Additionally, truckers must take a break for at least 30 minutes during the first eight hours of their shift. These rules, developed through rigorous research, ensure that drivers receive essential rest to operate a vehicle without becoming fatigued. One of the best safeguards a trucker can take to ensure they adhere to these guidelines is finding secure truck parking.

The HOS standards have some exceptions, but it is in a trucker’s best interest to abide by them to prevent mistakes or dangerous accidents. 

Fatigued truck driver taking a break.
Image Courtesy of Viles & Beckman, LLC

How Many Hours Can a Trucker Drive Per Week?

Under the FMCSA‘s current hours-of-service rules, truckers may drive

  • No more than an average of 70 hours in a workweek
  • After reaching the weekly limit, a trucker can continue after 34 hours of consecutive rest

After 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, truck drivers must stop operating their vehicles. Truckers can begin their subsequent 7/8-day stretch once they have taken 34 or more hours off work. These are intricate restrictions that could be difficult to understand and follow.

Drivers are still required to observe the daily driving maximum driving time allowed and observe mandatory 30 minute break periods. These mandated breaks reduce fatigue and thus, accidents on the road.

This can be any combination of a non-driving activity-sleeping, eating, or stretching. Truck drivers may only operate their vehicles if it has been eight hours or fewer since their previous off-duty or sleeper-berth session of at least 30 minutes. 

Types of Vehicles That Must Comply to Time Obligations

Federal HOS laws generally apply to truck drivers who are operating large trucks that:

  • Weigh more than 10,000 pounds;
  • Have a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 10,000 pounds;
  • Transport materials in quantity requiring placards; or
  • Transport materials involved in interstate commerce.

The law dictates that truck drivers keep track of their working hours. Every day they are driving, drivers subject to these rules must log their hours. Unfortunately, truckers who break the law may create, falsify, or modify logbooks, making it challenging to monitor the exact amount of rest drivers receive. 

Numerous trucking accidents occur due to drivers on the road for too many hours. The trucker and the trucking company could be held accountable in these circumstances. The safest bet is to pull over, park, and get some rest!

Allowable Hours Per Day By State

Federal law sets the standard for daily and weekly driving limits, however, variances exists from state-to-state. Drivers should be aware of states that have exceptions and additional requirements when on the road.

Alabama12-hour driving maximum for operating commercial vehicles with 15 hours cap
AlaskaWhen it came to HOS standards, the FMCSA recognized the logistical variations of conducting business in Alaska.
20-hour duty-time window, compared to a 14-hour window in the Lower 48.
15- hour daily maximum in Alaska
ArizonaUp to 11 hours of driving may be included in this on-duty time, followed by ten hours off duty
60 hours/week and 70 hours/month max
ArkansasThe 11-hour driving cap that was previously in place has remained in place.
CaliforniaAfter 10 straight hours on duty, 12 hour cap. Truckers must stop driving for at least 10 hours after 16 hours of work, whether they are driving or not.
Colorado14 hours cap in 24 hour period.
After 14th-hour on-duty, 11 hours off duty required.
After 11 hours of driving, the driver must take at least 10 hours off.
Connecticut:After 10 hours of off-duty time, 11 hour max driving time
After 10 hours off duty and 14 hours on duty, they are not permitted to drive.
Delaware14 hour max, followed by 10 hours off duty
Florida 12 hour max, following 10 straight hours off duty
After coming on duty after 10 consecutive hours off, 16 hour max
Georgia10 hours max after 8 consecutive hours off.
15-hour rule: After 15 consecutive hours and 8 hours off duty, the motor carrier cannot permit or mandate that they drive.
Hawaii70 hours in any stretch of 8 straight days if the employing motor carrier uses commercial motor vehicles every day of the week
IdahoThe first ten hours of any duty period must be spent off-duty.
70 hours max in eight days or 60 hours in seven days.
IllinoisThe first ten hours of any duty period must be spent off-duty with 11hour max and 14 hour cap
IndianaA driver is not permitted to drive for more than 60 hours in 7 days or for more than 70 hours in 8 days. By taking at least 34 straight hours off from driving, drivers can restart the 7-day or 8-day clock.
Iowa A driver or driver-salesperson for a private carrier who is not working for pay and is only involved in intrastate commerce may drive 12 hours, work 16 hours in a day, and work 70 or 80 hours in seven or eight days.
KansasWhether the trucking firm is open seven days a week will determine the rule that must be adhered to. If so, the driver is permitted to work 70 hours for eight daysor 60 hours in seven days when the trucking company is closed on one or more days per week.
KentuckyThe regulations reduce the average workweek from 82 hours to 70 hours and mandate that truck drivers take at least a 30-minute break every 8 hours on the job.
LouisianaA trucker’s week can span eight days, with a weekend of fewer than one and a half days, before starting a new eight-day week. Truck drivers can work for 60 hours over seven days in a row, or 70 hours for eight days in a row before needing to take off 34 hours to restart their “week.”
MaineIf the carrier uses CMVs every day of the week, 70 hours must be worked in any 8 consecutive days.
MarylandThis cap is based on a 7/8 day term that begins at the moment your motor carrier designates for the beginning of 24 hours. When you add up the overall on-duty time for the previous 7 or 8 days, the hours from the oldest day are subtracted at the end of each day.
Massachusetts60/70-Hour Limit: After 60 or 70 hours on the job for 7 or 8 consecutive days, drivers are not permitted to operate their cars. The driver must take at least 34 hours off work after beginning a new week.
MichiganThe maximum number of hours a driver may work in any stretch of eight consecutive days is 70, even if the business they work is open every day of the week. Consecutive seven- or eight-day periods conclude with the start of a period of the driver’s off-duty time that is at least 34 hours long.
MinnesotaFor property carrier drivers, any stretch of 7 or 8 days straight may come to a stop at the start of any stretch of off-duty time that is 34 hours or longer. Driver can be on duty for 72 on eight straight days if the carrier is open seven days a week.
MississippiDrivers are permitted to work 7 days straight, but they must take a break of at least 34 hours before beginning another seven days.
MissouriCan restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more straight hours off work; may not operate a motor vehicle after working 60/70 hours in 7/8 consecutive days.
MontanaIf a driver is on duty every day of the week, their maximum weekly workload is 70 hours spread over 8 days. They can only work 60 hours over 7 days if they have days off during the week.
NebraskaDrivers are not permitted to log more than 60 hours of driving in a week or 70 hours in eight days. Drivers can reset this weekly cap by going 34 hours without driving.
NevadaA truck driver can only work 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 days. A driver can restart the 7 to 9-day work week after having a minimum of 34 hours off. 8 hour max after a previous rest break of at least 30 minutes or being off-duty.
New HampshireA 60/70-hour limit for a seven or eight-day span, for a total of 60 hours during 7 days or 70 hours during 8 days.
New Jersey11 hour driving limit in 14 hour window, the 60-hour and 70-hour duty limits in 7/8 days
New Mexico11 hours daily max, 70 hours/weekly max.
New York60 hours weekly max
After being off-duty for 10 hours, 14 hours of duty, including up to 11 hours drive time. Breaks do not extend 14 hour duty cap.
North CarolinaOnly 60 hours in a week and 70 hours in eight days are permitted for truck drivers to work on duty.
North DakotaTruck drivers are only permitted to work 60 hours in a week or 70 hours in eight days.
OhioA driver is only permitted to be on duty for a total of 60 hours for seven days.
OklahomaOnly truck drivers who haven’t had an off-duty or sleeper berth break in the past eight hours or fewer are permitted to operate a vehicle. 60 to 70-hour cap. Drivers are not permitted to operate a vehicle after 60 or 70 hours of work in 7 or 8 consecutive days.
Oregon70 hours a week or 80 hours in a month max if a motor carrier operates trucks seven days a week. If a driver takes 34 straight hours off from driving, the 70 or 80-hour period “restarts.”
PennsylvaniaIf a driver has been on the road for eight hours straight, they are required to take a 30-minute break. In a seven-day workday or an eight-day workweek, drivers are permitted to drive for 60 hours.
Rhode IslandAfter working 60 or 70 hours in 7 or 8 consecutive days, drivers are not permitted to operate a vehicle. The minimum amount of uninterrupted sleep for drivers is eight hours, with an additional two uninterrupted hours off-duty.
South Carolina60 hours/week max, 70/8 days max.
Once the limit is reached, the driver must take a break and log a full 34 hours off work before the weekly clock starts over. At least two intervals between midnight and the start of the off-duty hour are required, and 5 a.m. terminal time at home.
South DakotaThe following rules must be followed by these drivers: (a) The 11-hour driving limit, 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement, 14-hour duty period, 60/70-hour workweek, and 34-hour restart all apply. (b) The driver may make the 14-hour duty period into a 16-hour shift on any two days out of every seven days in a row.
TennesseeEmployers may put drivers on a 70-hour/8-day schedule if a business makes runs every day of the week (drivers may only be on duty for 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days). Drivers may only work 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if a company is not open every day of the week.
TexasThree maximum duty limitations must always be observed. They are the 11-hour driving limit, the 60-hour and 70-hour duty limits, and the 14-hour “driving window” limit.
UtahTruckers are not permitted to drive for more than 60 hours in a row or more than 70 hours in a row during any seven- or eight-day stretch.
VermontEvery day, truck drivers have 14 hours to load, drive, and unload. Once the allotted period has passed, they are required to take a 10-hour rest.
Virginia60 to 70-hour cap. This cap is based on a 7 or 8-day term that begins when your motor carrier designates as the beginning of 24 hours or 8-day stretch. When you add up the overall on-duty time for the previous 7 or 8 days, the hours from the oldest day are subtracted at the end of each day.
WashingtonAfter 10 hours off duty, 14 hours max, including up to 11 hours drive time
West VirginiaThe driver may operate their truck for 60 to 77 hours during any seven days. They can drive their vehicle for 70 to 88 hours withing 8 days. A driver may begin their workweek with 0 hours if they haven’t operated the vehicle for a continuous 2.5 days.
Wisconsin60 hours max for seven days
After being off-duty for 10 hours, 14 hours max, including up to 11 hours drive time
Off-duty time cannot be added to the 14-hour duty period.
WyomingMaximum of 60 hours on the job for seven days.
After being off-duty for 10 hours, 14 hours max, including up to 11 hours drive time
Off-duty time cannot be added to the 14-hour duty period.