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Labor Laws for Truck Driving

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Truck driving can be a difficult and arduous job, sometimes resulting in fatigue and creating an environment where accidents are more likely to happen. For these reasons, the Department of Transportation, through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), provides a list of laws for how much truck drivers can work.

Maximum Hours of Work in a Day

The FMCSA states that drivers shall not be required or allowed to drive a vehicle carrying personal property for more than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Regardless of how many hours drivers took off during the course of their shift, they must still end their workday at the end of the 14th hour since they came on duty.

Maximum Hours of Work in a Week

The FMCSA has regulations for the number of hours drivers are permitted to work in a week.

If the company for which a driver works does not operate every day of the week, then the driver cannot work more that 60 hours in any period of seven consecutive days.

If the company for which a driver works does operate every day of the week, then the driver cannot work more than 70 hours in any period of 8 straight days.

These consecutive seven- or eight-day periods end with the beginning of a period of at least 34 hours of off-duty time for the driver.

Driver's Record of Duty

According to the FMCSA, drivers must keep a record during every 24-hour period while they are working.

The FMCSA prescribes two ways to do this. Drivers can record what they were doing and when on a grid-like form prepared by the FMCSA. This form must be completed in addition to any company forms. Drivers may also use an on-board automatic recording device that meets specified requirements.

In general, drivers must specify at which times they were off duty, they were driving, they were on duty but not driving and they were using their sleeper berth, provided the vehicle has one. Every time a change in status happens, the name of the city, town or geographic location where the change occurred must be recorded.

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About the Author

Justin Mitchell has been a writer since 2009. In 2002, he received a B.A. in theater and writing from the University of Northern Colorado. Mitchell worked as an ESL teacher in Europe and Asia before earning a master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York. He has written for the "New York Daily News" and WNYC.org, among other outlets.

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