Hours of service refers to how long a trucker has been on the road, and regulations are in place to prevent tired and fatigued truckers from getting behind the wheel. Operating a large commercial vehicle is no easy feat, and when a trucker is pushed to his or her limit the chance of an accident increases greatly. The Federal Motor Carrier Association explains hours of service regulations, which are crucial to keep everyone on Texas highways safe.
Maximum duty limits vary. The 14-hour driving window means a trucker is able to drive up to 11 hours, provided he was off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. Once you reach hour 11 you must then take another 10 consecutive hours off duty until the clock starts again. A half hour break is also mandatory, and this must take place at hour 8 of the 11-hour shift.
There are also limits on how much a person can drive during a 7 to 8-day period. This is known as the 60/70 hour duty limit, and it specifies that once truckers hit the 60/70 hour mark over the course of 7/8 days, he must reduce his schedule until his workload falls below 60/70 hours for the next 7/8 day period.
It’s also important for truckers to understand the distinction between on and off duty. Many drivers have contracts with multiple companies, which can complicate hours driven. In this case, off duty time refers to a period during which no trucking activity takes place. The driver must be free to do things he or she chooses and must be able to leave the vehicle to do them. In order for off-duty time to be counted towards the daily and weekly totals, a trucker must be relieved of all duties.