Truck drivers are in a unique position. They help move goods across the country and essentially keep America running.
But they also are in a dangerous profession. They operate under intense pressure from companies pushing them to move faster to the government trying to ensure they stay safe. A tired trucker can equal a horrific accident, so the government put in place hours of service regulations.
The hours of service regulations set a limit on the number of consecutive hours a driver can be behind the wheel without a break. The set limit for drivers carrying goods is 11 hours. The total limit is 60 hours in a period or 70 hours over eight days. A period starts after the driver has 34 hours off.
The regulations are strict about rest and time off. Before a driver can work an 11-hour driving day, he or she must have a break of 10 hours. While working, the driver must take a mandatory 30-minute break after eight hours on the road.
The hours of service regulation seek to ensure drivers are fresh when they are behind the wheel. It also holds companies responsible and prevents them from pushing drivers too hard. However, as you probably know, when driving, unexpected things can happen. You may run into a traffic jam or bad weather that slows you down and makes your trip take much longer than expected. To avoid sending the shipping industry into chaos, the government does allow some exceptions to make it easier for drivers despite potential hiccups, such as allowing splitting time off requirements if the truck has a sleeper berth and allowing up to 13 hours behind the wheel in bad weather conditions.