Truckers form the backbone of interstate commerce, driving heroically long hauls to deliver their cargoes on time. Unfortunately, though, not even truckers can go without sleep. Exactly how many hours can a truck driver drive before taking a break?
A Trucker’s Day
The short answer is eight hours. The US Department of Transportation, which regulates truck driver driving time, defines a trucker’s day as a “duty period” lasting fourteen hours. However, truckers may only spend eleven of those fourteen hours actually driving. Within those eleven, the driver can spend no more than eight consecutive hours behind the wheel before taking a 30 minute break. The other three hours of the duty period are reserved for meals, restroom breaks, and other personal needs of the trucker.
A Trucker’s Week
A trucker’s week, called a “work period,” can last either seven or eight days. The trucker can log no more than 60 hours per seven days or 70 hours per eight. These work periods can begin at any time and on any day of the week, the only condition being that the trucker must rest at least 34 hours at the conclusion of each period before beginning a new one.
Truckers may be superhuman, but they deserve their rest like everyone else, especially since a fatigued trucker poses a danger to everyone else on the road. The DOT-defined work and duty periods keep roadways safe and truckers healthy.