Driving Time Rules & Regulations for Commercial Vehicles

Have you been injured in a crash involving a semi-truck, 18-wheeler, or other property-carrying vehicle? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a very detailed list of rules and regulations that apply to the drivers of these vehicles. If the at-fault driver of the vehicle that caused the crash was in violation of one of these drive-time rules, you may be entitled to excess compensation. Call a Missouri truck crash lawyer today to discuss your unique case and the rules applicable to it.

There are numerous rules and stipulations that apply to driving time for commercial motor vehicles. These regulations are typically divided between on-duty and off-duty time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines on-duty time as all time from the time a driver starts to work (or is required to be in readiness from work) until the time that the driver is finished with work and all work related responsibilities.

On-duty time includes:

  • All time at a plant, facility, terminal or other related property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property awaiting dispatch, unless the driver has been relieved of work duty by the motor carrier;
  • All time servicing and conditioning any commercial motor vehicle as a part of work-related duty;
  • All driving time as defined as all time spent operating the driving controls of a motor vehicle;
  • Ultimately, all time spend in or on a commercial motor vehicle, besides:
  • Any time spent resting in a parked vehicle
  • Any time spent in a designated sleeper berth; or
  • Up to two hours riding in the passenger seat of a property-carrying motor vehicle moving on the highway directly before or after a period of at least eight consecutive hours of rest in the sleeper berth;
  • All time loading or unloading a commercial motor vehicle, supervising, or assisting in the loading or unloading, attending a commercial motor vehicle being loaded or unloaded, remaining ready to operate the commercial motor vehicle, or in giving or receiving receipts for shipments;
  • All time repairing, recieving assistance, or remaining in attendance of a disabled commerical motor vehicle;
  • All time spent providing a breath or urine sample, including travel time to and from the collection facility, to comply with random, reasonable suspicion, post-crash, or follow-up testing;
  • Performing any other work in the service of a motor carrier; and
  • Performing any compensated work for an individual who is not a motor carrier.

Maximum Driving Time for Property-Carrying Vehicles

No motor carrier can allow or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carrier’s employing the driver, unless the driver complies with these Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations:

  • Start of driving shift. A driver may not operate the vehicle without first taking ten consecutive hours off duty;
  • Driving period. A driver can drive only during a period of fourteen consecutive hours following a period of ten consecutive hours off duty.  Similarly, the driver cannot driver after the end of fourteen hour consecutive period without first taking ten straight hours off duty.
  • Drive time and rest breaks.  Drive time: A driver may drive a total of eleven hours during the fourteen hour period specified above.  Rest breaks (starting June 30, 2013): Driving is not allowed if more than eight hours have elapsed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleep period of at least 30 straight minutes.

No motor carrier can allow or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor can any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carrier’s employing the driver, for any period after:

  • Having been on driving duty for sixty hours in any period of seven consecutive days if the motor carrier that employs the driver does not operate commercial motor vehicles every single day; or
  • Having been on driving duty for seventy hours in any period of eight consecutive days if the motor carrier that employs the driver operates commerical vehicles every single day of the week.
  • Up until June 30, 2013, any period of seven consecutive days may can end with the beginning of an off-duty or rest period of 34 or more straight hours. Following June 30, 2013, any period of seven straight days can 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.
  • Up until June 30, 2013, any period of eight straight days can end with the start of an off-duty period of 34 or more straight hours. Following June 30, 2013, any period of eight consecutive days can end with the start of an off-duty period of 34 or more straight hours, including two  periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Following June 30, 2013, a driver of a commercial motor vehicle may not take an off-duty period allowed by the above stated regulations to restart the calculation of sixty hours in seven straight days, or seventy hours in eight consecutive hours until 168 or more straight hours have passed since the beginning of the last actual off-duty period.  Similarly, when a driver takes more than one off-duty period of thirty-four or more straight hours within 168 consecutive hours, the driver must indicate in their records of status which off-duty period is being used to restart the initial calculation of sixty hours in seven straight days or seventy hours in eight straight days.

Maximum Driving Time for Passenger-Carrying Vehicles

No motor carrier can allow or require any driver to drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any driver operate a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle:

  • More than ten hours following eight straight hours off of duty; or
  • For any period after having been on duty fifteen hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.
  • No driver can be permitted to operate a commercial motor vehicle for any period following:
  • Having been on duty for sixty hours in any seven straight days if the motor carrier does not employ commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or
  • Having been on duty seventy hours in any period of eight straight days if the employing motor carrier employs commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

These rules and stipulations can be extremely confusing and verbose. A Missouri personal injury attorney can help to makes sense of these rules in correlation with your own case. If you have been injured in a accident with a tractor trailer, semi-truck, or other commerical motor vehicle, call an injury attorney at 314.409.7060 or 855.40.CRASH.

Christopher Dixon

Personal Injury Attorney at The Dixon Injury Firm
Christopher R. Dixon is the managing attorney and founder of The Dixon Injury Firm. The Dixon Injury Firm has helped injury victims recover over $35,000,000 through verdicts, settlements and judgments. Chris is recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association, and among their Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorneys. Recognized as a Lifetime Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Chris aggressively fights for those injured through the careless, negligent and intentional conduct of others. Call today for a FREE consultation by calling 314-409-7060 or toll-free 855-402-7274.

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