Heavy Haul drivers are limited in the number of hours that they can actually spend behind the wheel driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) updated many of its rules and those new regulations went into effect as of Sept. 29, 2020.
Drive Time and Breaks
Heavy haul drivers are allowed a maximum of 11 hours of drive time each day after 10 consecutive hours off duty. After coming off a run, drivers can’t drive past 14 consecutive hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty and off-duty time doesn’t extend the 14-hour period. However, the time can be extended when drivers encounter adverse driving conditions such as heavy rain, flooding roads, ice and snow.
The way the regulations are written can be confusing, particularly to new drivers. Drivers can now drive a maximum of 14 hours per day with 10 hours off during a 24-hour period. Long haul drivers can extend that 11-hour driving window into 14 when they encounter adverse driving conditions. Heavy haul drivers are also required to take a 30-minute non-driving break if they’ve been the wheel for more than 8 cumulative hours.
The Work Week
The regulations also affect a driver’s work week. Heavy haul drivers can work a 60-hour work week over the course of 7 days or a 70-hour work week over the course of 8 days. The clock runs continuously each day and doesn’t stop when drivers take a break. Drivers can restart a work week after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
Time and Safety
Time is money for heavy haul drivers. While many drivers took adequate breaks and received sufficient sleep time, some felt pressure from trucking companies to omit that essential down time. The new rules by the FMCSA were designed to ensure drivers had enough rest to provide a greater level of safety for themselves and others while on the road.
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