Truck drivers are important to the supply chain in this country. When semi-trucks are operated safely and in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations, the benefits for consumers are many. However, when a truck driver does not follow those laws and regulations, other motorists are in danger. This might be because a driver is speeding, under the influence of alcohol, driving at an unsafe truck or operating the truck while fatigued.

In an effort to minimize the number of fatigued drivers on our nation’s highways, truck drivers must follow hours-of-service regulations. These regulations lay out when and for how long a truck driver may drive. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration developed and enforces these regulations.

There is a 14-hour driving window limit and an 11-hour driving limit.

— The 14-hour driving window allows you to drive up to 11 hours. You can’t drive again for 10 consecutive hours once you reach the end of this 14-hour period.

— The 11-hour driving limit allows you to drive 11 hours during a 14-hour period. If more than eight hours have passed since you took 30 minutes off-duty, then you’ll need to be off for 10 hours after driving 11 hours.

There are other hours-of-service limits, such as the 60/70-hour duty limits and 34-hour restart. These are rather complex and drivers should make sure they understand these regulations.

Hours-of-service are often one of the first things that police will check in the event of a truck accident. Violations can impact the liability of the driver and the trucking company in the accident.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service,” accessed Jan. 15, 2016