“On-duty time” is defined as the time spent from when you begin work or are required to be ready for work until you are relieved from your responsibilities. Drivers that operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) often have long hours of on-duty time. As a driver, it is important to recognize the rules that apply to on-duty time for the well-being of the company, yourself, and others.
Driving for long hours can cause drivers to feel fatigued, stressed and less alert than they should be while operating the vehicle. Driving over an extended period of time may lead to serious motor vehicle incidents, damages to the CMV, and possibly traffic penalties or fines. Because of this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) have implemented strict guidelines to keep fatigued drivers off the road. These guidelines include an hours-of-service regulation. This regulation limits the number of hours a driver can spend driving a CMV before taking time off.
11-hour driving rule: After 11 hours of driving, drivers must have 10 consecutive hours off duty before you can drive again. If this number of hours is exceeded, it can result in serious penalties for both the driver and his or her motor carrier.
14-hour driving rule: The 11 hours must fall within a 14-hour consecutive time frame. Once a driver has been on duty for at least 14 hours, that driver cannot drive again until the he or she has had up to 10 consecutive hours off duty. The 14 hours are consecutive from the time the driver starts the tour of duty until duties are relieved. Lunch breaks or other rest breaks are not considered consecutive. Sometimes drivers may continue working past the 14-hour time limit; however, they will not be allowed to drive.
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