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Hours of service restrictions for commercial truckers, drivers, and freight haulers

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Commercial drivers and truckers must stay within federal guidelines for hours they are allowed to drive. They must also meticulously document their driving and break times in an industry standard trucking log book.

In New York failure to adhere to the driving schedule or appropriately document the hours in the log book is a misdemeanor. Our law form defends many truckers whom are charged with log book violations. This page is an overview of the rules and regulations regarding trucker drive times.

General Hours of Service Guidelines

The work cycle revolves primarily around a 7 or 8 day work week. After a driver finishes a 7 or 8 day work week he cannot start another one for at least 34 hours. This 34 hour period is called a reset period. The 34 hour reset must also encompass two consecutive periods of 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

In other words, suppose a driver ends the 7 day work week at midnight. 34 hours later would be 10:00 a.m. Inasmuch as there were two 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. periods the driver would be able to start a new 7 day work week. Contrast if the driver ended the 7 day work week at 3:00 a.m. 34 hours later would be 1:00 a.m. However, since the 34 hour period did not encompass 2 consecutive periods between 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m., the driver cannot start another 7 day work week until 5:00 a.m.

The work cycle is broken up into 14 hour duty periods. During the 14 hour duty period a driver may only drive for 11 hours. At a minimum drivers must take a mandatory 30 minute break by their eighth hour of coming on duty. A new duty period cannot start until the driver has had at least 10 hours off duty.

Exceptions for adverse conditions

If a driver cannot safely complete the run within the maximum driving time of 11 hours, the driver may drive up to an additional two hours in order to reach a safe place. Likewise when weather conditions will not safely allow you to pull over at a hotel or rest stop and stop for 10 hours off-duty, then you may extend your drive time up to two hours. Nonetheless, the bad weather exception does not mean that a driver can work longer in bad weather if they can still stop and layover.

16 hour exception 

If a driver has a 1 day work week and begins and ends at the same terminal, his duty period can be extend to 16 hours. Nonetheless, the driver’s actual drive time may not exceed 11 hours and the 16 hour exception cannot be used together with the adverse driving condition exception. Once used, the 16 hour exception cannot be used again until after a 34 hour reset.

60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day limits

A commercial driver is limited to driving no more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70-hours in 8 consecutive days without taking a mandatory 34 hour reset period. Notwithstanding the mandatory reset period, a driver can take a reset period before the termination of the 7 or 8 day work week to restart the work week.

Documentation in your log book

You are required under the law to keep accurate log books at all times. They must be filled out it out in duplicate for each 24-hour period and in your own handwriting.The log book must include a graph grid with lines for off-duty, sleeper-berth, driving, and on-duty not driving time. In addition, it must include the following information:

  • Date
  • Total miles driven today
  • Truck or tractor and trailer number
  • Carrier’s name
  • 24-hour period starting time
  • Driver’s signature/certification
  • Main office address
  • Remarks
  • Co-driver’s name (if any)
  • Total hours in each dust status (at end of grid), and
  • Shipping document number(s) or shipper name and commodity

You must keep your log current to your last change of duty status. The total in all four categories (off-duty, sleeper-berth, driving, and on-duty not driving time) must be 24 on the hour log. In addition to the current day’s log, a copy from each of the last seven days must be in your possession while on duty.

If you have received a log book violation call us. We can handle your case without the need for you to come off of the road. We will strive to ensure that you do not end up with a criminal log book conviction.