A Fleet Manager’s Guide: How Many Hours Can A Truck Driver Drive?

A Fleet Manager’s Guide: How Many Hours Can A Truck Driver Drive?

Road accidents are dangerous. While on the highway, you might have seen a truck or a trailer that has overturned or crashed into another vehicle, sometimes causing physical injury and trauma to the driver. One out of every five such crashes is caused due to fatigued driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every year, nearly 100,000 (police-reported) fatigued driving crashes result in almost 800 fatalities and 50,000 injuries. The actual number may vary from the stats, yet most authorities agree that road fatigue is one of the prominent causes of road accidents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) brought HoS (hours of service) to increase road safety and reduce accidents. The fleet owners comply with these rules to avoid fines and violations. 

Do you need clarification about all the rules and regulations, here is a simple guide. Read this article to learn about HoS and how many hours your drivers can drive. 

Hours Of Service (HOS)- An Introduction 

Hours of Service (HOS) is a set of regulations laid down by the FMCSA to help reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). These aim to ensure that CMV drivers get sufficient rest. 

The implementation of HOS regulations is based on research showing that fatigue is a significant factor in commercial motor vehicle crashes. By limiting the hours a driver can work and drive, the FMCSA hopes to reduce the risk of fatigue-related crashes and improve safety on the nation’s highways.

Understanding The Hours Of Service Regulations:-

Truck drivers are allowed to drive for a maximum of 14 consecutive hours from when they come on duty. It includes all driving time, on-duty time, and off-duty time. 

After 14 hours, the driver must take a 10-hour break before driving again.

For example, if a driver begins their duty at 6 AM (after a ten-hour break), they can drive till 8 PM that same day. It means they can only start their work after they take a 10-hour break. During the break, they can do other work that excludes driving.

Within the 14-hour driving window, a trucker can drive for a maximum of 11 hours. After 11 hours of driving, the driver must take a 10-hour break.

Let’s say one of your drivers logs into work at 6 AM and starts driving at 7 AM. They continue for seven hours straight and take a half-hour break. They can start again for another four hours. By now, it is 6:30 PM. To begin their job the next day, the driver has to take ten hours off duty.

Another limit is that a driver cannot drive after spending 60 or 70 hours on duty in seven or eight consecutive days, respectively. 

You can only resume after spending at least 34 hours off duty or in the sleeper berth in the truck.


If you are a trucker and have been on duty for seven consecutive days and on the seventh day’s eve, you have logged 57 hours, which complies with the regulation. After driving for three more hours, you are obliged to take a break. The 60/70 hours work chart can be restarted after spending 34 hours off duty. 

A sleeper berth is an accommodation area in a truck where drivers can rest and sleep. Drivers can split their required 10-hour rest period into two periods, as long as one period is at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other is at least two consecutive hours either off duty or in the sleeper berth. The combined total of the two periods must be at least 10 hours.

E.g., If a driver logs into work at 6 AM, starts driving at 9 AM, works till 1 PM, and spends two hours in the sleeper berth. If they start again at 3 PM, they can only continue till 10 PM, after which they have to take an 8-hour break. 

After this break, they can restart the 14-hour driving window at 6 AM the next day. The two hours will not be calculated in the 14 hours on duty window, which means only seven hours of this window have been used, leaving seven more hours for driving.

A driver can drive for up to 8 consecutive hours (after a break), after which they have to take a minimum 30-minute break. This 30-minute break can include any activity other than driving or time behind the wheel. 

If you start driving at 7 AM, you can continue for eight consecutive hours till 3 PM, after which you have to take at least 30 minutes off driving time. After which, you can continue for three more hours to make eleven hours. 


Like many other regulations, the HOS regulations also have exceptions. Some of them are listed below:-

A driver can extend their HOS by two hours in adverse and unfavorable conditions such as heavy rainfall, snow, roadblocks, etc. They can expand their 11 hours driving window and 14 hours duty window by not more than 2 hours.

Drivers who operate within a 150-mile air radius of their work location and drivers who can return to their work location in 14 hours are exempted from the HOS regulations.

Drivers occasionally required to exceed the 14-hour limit (not more than twice a week) can extend their duty day to 16 hours once in seven days.

Drivers that operate CMVs that do not require a commercial Driver’s license (CDLs) and those engaged in drive-away/tow-away operations are not required to take 30-minute rest breaks.

These regulations apply to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers in the United States regardless of whether they are US-based or international operators. The drivers going interstate have to comply with federal regulations. 

In comparison, interstate drivers that drive within the state boundaries must comply with the state HOS regulations. If you use your vehicle for personal rather than commercial activities, the HOS regulations do not apply to you.

Consequences of violating HOS Regulations

These regulations are federal laws, and violating them is considered a threat to public safety. Drivers caught violating these regulations will be penalized depending on the seriousness of the violation. Some of these are:-

Some Proven Benefits Of HOS Regulations On the Road

When drivers are required to take breaks, they are less likely to experience fatigue, which reduces the risk of accidents caused by drowsy driving.

HOS regulations aim to ensure that drivers are well-rested and alert, which can contribute to safer driving behaviors and fewer accidents.

Regular breaks help drivers maintain better health by reducing the risk of fatigue-related illnesses and injuries.

HOS regulations can help drivers plan their routes efficiently and reduce downtime; thereby increasing productivity and reducing costs.

How Can You Stay Compliant With The HOS Regulations And Avoid Repercussions? 

The HOS regulations require drivers to keep track of their on-duty and driving hours. It is time-consuming and labor-intensive work unless you use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD).

ELDs automatically record the driver’s duty status and driving hours. They replace the traditional paper logs that drivers used to record their hours of service manually. 

They also help track various aspects of the driver’s activity, such as driving, on-duty, off-duty, and rest breaks. 

The ELD rule, enacted in December 2017, requires most commercial motor vehicle drivers to use an ELD to record their service hours. The HOS regulations require drivers to keep track of their on-duty and driving hours. It is time-consuming and labor-intensive work unless you use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate applies to commercial drivers who must keep Records Of Duty Status (RODS) and are not exempt from the HOS regulations.

Why go for Matrack ELDs?

Matrack ELD is a plug-and-play device. You can easily install them in your vehicle’s diagnostic port. The device automatically logs the driver’s HOS data, including driving time, on-duty time, off-duty time, etc., to ensure that the drivers comply with the FMCSA regulations. 

Some specifications of the Matrack ELDs are 


The Hours of Service (HOS) regulations play a critical role in ensuring the safety of commercial motor vehicle drivers and the public at large. The HOS regulations will likely undergo further changes and revisions as the transportation industry evolves. However, the fundamental goal of promoting road safety will stay the same. 

By working together to support these regulations & promote safe driving practices, we can continue to improve the safety of our roads and protect the well-being of commercial motor vehicle drivers and the public they serve.

Please don't forget to share



Inside Sales Rep

Hi, my name is Miles. Please let me know if I can help you find the solution that best fits your needs.

(925) 230-4530

I am here to help. Let me know if you have any questions.

twitter linkedin facebook pinterest