Reviewing when (and for how long) professional drivers can work

Thanks to recent awareness raised on the issue of drowsy driving, many people in Wilmington are more cognizant of the dangers that sleep-deprived drivers may pose. This begs the question of what standards (if any) are in place to help regulate the amount of time people who drive as part of their professions can spend behind the wheel. 

Federal regulations do indeed exist dictating how long those who transport both passengers and freight can drive during a given work period. As is the case with almost all guidelines, there are also exceptions where these rules may not apply. 

Detailing hours-of-service regulations

Per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these regulations are as follows: 

  • Drivers transporting passengers can drive for no more than 10 hours during a single work shift (those transporting freight cannot drive for more than 11) 
  • Drivers transporting passengers cannot drive beyond the fifteenth consecutive hours after coming on duty (those transporting freight cannot drive past the fourteenth hour) 
  • Drivers transporting either passengers or freight cannot work for than 60-70 during a 7-8-day workweek 
  • Drivers transporting either passengers or freight who extend their working hours thanks to the sleeper berth provision must rest for at least eight hours in the berth (those who choose to can split that time into two periods) 

In addition, drivers transporting freight must take a 30-minute break every eight hours 

Exceptions to federal regulations

Only drivers operating vehicles with a gross vehicular weight of over 10,001 pounds must adhere to these regulations. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, other hours-of-service exceptions include an exemption for drivers who operate within either 100 or 150 air-miles of their locations of origin (and who complete their routes within 12 or 14 hours, respectively). Shift times can also expand from 11 to 13 hours in adverse weather conditions. 

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