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Are breaks mandatory or optional for truckers?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Truck Accidents |

A defining characteristic of many long-haul truckers is their ability to drive for hours at a time without stopping. However, noncompliance with federal regulations regarding hours of service can compromise your safety and your productivity in your job.

When you understand both the purpose and the need for hours of service (HOS) regulations, you may have more incentive to comply.

HOS regulations

Your employer upholds the responsibility of enforcing compliance and providing education so you know what the expectations are. If your employer pressures you into exceeding the requirements, you should immediately express your concerns. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a series of rules regarding how long you can drive, the duration of your breaks and exceptions to these rules. These include the following:

  • 11-hour driving limit
  • 14-hour limit
  • 30-minute driving break
  • 60/70-hour limit
  • Sleeper berth provision
  • Adverse driving conditions

If your job requires short-haul trips that do not fit all of the criteria of the other provisions, some exemptions may apply.

HOS benefits

The FMSCA designs and enforces HOS regulations to help you stay safe while you drive. Taking adequate breaks between shifts also enables you to optimize your productivity and efficiency at work. The FMSCA requires you to comply if your vehicle exceeds 10,001 pounds, transports hazardous materials and participates in interstate commerce.

You can avoid costly legal repercussions when you comply with the rules. In situations where a violation of the HOS regulations results in a serious truck accident, you and your employer could face legal penalties. Your compliance may improve your vigilance and confidence while driving.