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Few people know Arizona’s highways better than Arizona’s truck drivers. Truck drivers play critical roles in transporting goods across the state and the nation. If you work as a truck driver in Arizona or are thinking about becoming one, you may be wondering: How many hours can a truck driver drive? To ensure safety and compliance with the law, it is important to familiarize yourself with the legal limitations and requirements involved with truck driving. In this post, we’ll discuss how many hours a truck driver can legally drive, as well as some other important considerations for Arizona truck drivers.

Understanding Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations

how many hours can a truck driver drive

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to limit the number of hours truck drivers can operate their vehicles. These rules aim to prevent driver fatigue, which can significantly contribute to the likelihood of an accident. 

How Many Hours Can a Truck Driver Drive?

The following HOS regulations set by FMCSA apply to property-carrying drivers:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit: A driver may drive up to 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 14-Hour Limit: A driver cannot drive more than 14 hours in a row after starting work, even if they have taken a break. This 14-hour limit starts after they have had 10 consecutive hours off duty, and taking breaks does not extend this 14-hour period.
  • 30-Minute Break: Drivers must take a 30-minute break after 8 cumulative hours of driving without at least a 30-minute break.
  • 60/70-Hour Limit: A driver cannot drive after working 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days. They can reset this 7- or 8-day period by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.
  • Sleeper Berth Provision: A driver can divide their required 10-hour off-duty period into two parts. One part must be at least 2 hours long, and the other must be at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. Together, these two periods must add up to at least 10 hours. When combined, these off-duty periods do not count against the 14-hour driving limit.

The following HOS regulations set by FMCSA apply to passenger-carrying drivers:

  • 10-Hour Driving Limit: A driver may drive up to 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
  • 15-Hour Limit: A driver cannot drive after they have been on duty for a total of 15 hours. This 15-hour period begins after they have had 8 consecutive hours off duty. The 15-hour limit only includes the time they are working or driving and does not count the 8 hours they were off duty.
  • 60/70-Hour Limit: A driver is not allowed to drive if they have been on duty for 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days.
  • Sleeper Berth Provision: A driver using a sleeper berth must spend at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth. They can split this sleeper time into two periods, as long as each period is at least 2 hours. The total time spent in the sleeper berth must add up to at least 8 hours.

The following HOS regulations set by FMCSA apply to both product-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers:

  • Short-Haul Exception: If a driver operates within a 150-air-mile radius of their usual work location and doesn’t work more than 14 hours in a row, they’re exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11. Drivers using this exemption must start and end their work day at their usual location within 14 hours and stay within the same radius.
  • Adverse Driving Conditions: A driver can extend their maximum driving time and on-duty limit by up to 2 hours during adverse weather conditions.

The Importance of HOS Regulations

How many hours can a truck driver legally and safely drive?

HOS regulations help maintain safety on the roads. Driver fatigue can cause truck accidents, and HOS regulations aim to reduce the risk of accidents by ensuring drivers receive adequate rest. By limiting driving hours and requiring drivers to take breaks, these regulations help:

  • Prevent Accidents: Fatigued drivers are more prone to making errors, and limiting driving hours helps reduce this risk.
  • Protect Drivers: Ensuring drivers have enough rest prevents long-term health issues associated with chronic fatigue.
  • Enhance Road Safety: Reducing the number of fatigued drivers on the road increases overall safety for all road users.

Compliance and Enforcement

Truck drivers and their employers must adhere to HOS regulations. Compliance is monitored through various means, including:

  • Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs): ELDs automatically record driving time and ensure that drivers adhere to HOS regulations.
  • Roadside Inspections: Enforcement officials may conduct roadside inspections to check for HOS compliance.
  • Company Audits: The FMCSA and state agencies may audit trucking companies to ensure they are following HOS regulations.

Tips for Truck Drivers to Stay Compliant

  1. Plan Your Route: Ensure your route includes adequate rest stops and adheres to HOS regulations.
  2. Use ELDs: Utilize ELDs to accurately track your driving hours and breaks.
  3. Prioritize Rest: Ensure you get sufficient rest during off-duty periods to stay alert on the road.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with any changes to HOS regulations and state requirements.
  5. Communicate with Dispatchers: Maintain communication with dispatchers to plan trips that comply with HOS regulations.

How Sargon Law Group Can Help

If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck-related accident, understanding HOS regulations can be critical in determining liability and pursuing compensation. At Sargon Law Group, we represent victims in personal injury cases. Our experienced truck accident attorney in Phoenix is here to help you receive the compensation and care you deserve.

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

For more information on truck driving regulations or if you need legal assistance after an accident, contact us today. Our personal injury attorneys in Phoenix are committed to providing the guidance and support you need to protect your rights, ensure your safety and receive any compensation you are owed.