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Understanding federal hours-of-service regulations

Many working professionals in Jasper may never think to go into a work meeting while drowsy, yet may not think twice about getting behind the wheel while sleep deprived. That may be because many may place more value on their job performance than daily ancillary activities like driving. Following this line of thinking, one might assume that those who drive professionally would also never drive while drowsy. Statistics show, however, that this is not always the case. Data shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows commercial vehicle drivers (including those operating tractor trailers) are among the most likely to drive drowsy. 

To combat the problem of drowsy truckers on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has set hours-of-service guidelines that all truck drivers must abide by. The working restrictions placed by these regulations include: 

  • Only driving a maximum of 11 hours after having been off duty for 10 consecutive hours
  • Not driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty after having 10 consecutive hours off
  • Not driving after eight hours have passed since a driver's last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes
  • Not exceeding 60/70 hours of duty during a 7/8 consecutive day work period
  • Not beginning a new 7/8 work week after first having taken 34 consecutive hours off duty 
  • Taking a consecutive 8-hour sleeper berth period, plus an additional two consecutive hour rest period (if subject to the sleeper berth provision)

The aforementioned regulations apply specifically to truckers transporting property. Those who transport passengers are subject to a 10 consecutive hour driving period, and 15-hour individual work period. They are not required to adhere to the 8-hour rest break requirement. 

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