CMV Law: Regulations & Overview Of Maximum Driving Time

Maximum Driving Time: Overview

The regulations concerning maximum driving time constitute the heart of the HOS rules promulgated by the FMCSA. The rules provide the time a driver may drive, be on-duty, and the period of rest necessary to “reset” driving or on-duty time. These rules must be understood in order to prosecute a claim that a driver or motor carrier drove or was on-duty too long, or had insufficient rest such that driver fatigue occurred contributed to a wreck. Note that the rules pertaining to operation of property-carrying vehicles differ from those for passenger carrying vehicles. §§ 395.3, 393.5. Also, keep in mind these rules remain subject to the various exceptions of regulation, which were described in the previous chapter.

Maximum Driving Time for Property-Carrying CMVs

Under regulation, no motor carrier shall permit or require a driver to drive its property-carrying CMV, nor shall any driver drive such a vehicle, unless the driver complies with the following requirements:

1. Start of work shift. A driver may not drive without first taking ten consecutive hours off duty.

2. 14-hour period / 11 hours of driving. A driver may only drive during a period of fourteen consecutive hours after coming on duty after the conclusion of the ten-hour off duty period. A driver may only drive a total of 11 hours during that fourteen-hour period. § 395.3(a)(3)(i).

3. Hours and Days. A driver may not drive for any period after:
a. having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate CMVs every day of the week,
b. having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does operate CMVs every day of the week.

4. June 30, 2013 Regulations. A recent amendment to the Regulations (SEE 76 FR 81188, Dec. 27, 2011) created new HOS rules set to take effect after June 30, 2013. These include the following:
a. Rest breaks. A ban on driving if more than eight hours has passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
b. Calculating “Reset” Periods.
b.i. A driver may not take an off-duty period to restart the 60 hour/7 day or 70 hour/8 day calculations until 168 or more consecutive hours have passed since the beginning of the last such off-duty period.
b.ii. Any period of 7 or 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of an off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours that includes two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

A. When a driver takes more than one off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours within the 168 hour period, they must indicate it in the “Remarks” section of the record of duty status which of the off-duty periods is being use to restart the 60 hour/7 day or 70 hour/8 day calculation.

Maximum Driving Time for Passenger-Carrying CMVs

Under regulation, no motor carrier shall permit or require a driver to drive its passenger-carrying CMV, nor shall any driver drive such a vehicle:

b.ii.1. For more than ten hours following eight consecutive hours off-duty, or for any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.

b.ii.2. For any period after being on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate CMVs every day of the week, or after 70 hours on duty in an 8 day period if the employing motor carrier does operate CMVs every day of the week.

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