Truckers carry a lot of responsibility each day as over-the-road drivers. In an effort to keep truckers and other drivers safe, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) limits the number of hours operators can drive on a daily basis.
A typical day is known as a duty period and has specific hourly regulations. Due to the importance of these rules and the penalties they carry, commercial drivers must be diligent about personal accountability and liability.
Duty and Work Periods
How many hours can a CDL driver drive in total is known as the duty period. Truckers don’t typically have conventional workdays, so they are allowed to drive 11 hours, with a 3-hour allowance to perform other duties. As long as daily limits are observed, an operator can break up their day as needed.
Sleep periods are critical, and 10 consecutive hours minimum is required before the next driving shift. Whether or not a driver drives 11 hours, they must strictly adhere to the 14-hour rule.
Logs and Enforcement
USDOT requires that commercial drivers keep detailed logs. Operators must be prepared to present logs at inspection facilities or to law enforcement. Failure to provide a complete log or falsifying a log can result in serious penalties.
There are a number of important regulations a truck driver must observe to be in compliance with the USDOT. More importantly, for the safety of the operator and other drivers, the need to follow driving rules is a matter of public trust.