Regulating the hours that commercial drivers can work is an integral part of ensuring the safety of both the workers and other motorists on the road.
Tired drivers can cause more collisions, putting everyone on the road in jeopardy. Therefore, strict Hours of Service (HOS) laws, such as the 14-hour rule, have been established to help protect drivers and balance their work schedules.
But what is the DOT 14-hour law? Let’s look at the most critical questions surrounding the 11/14/70 hour rule basics.
What is the 14-Hour Rule?
The DOT 14-hour rule is a law that dictates how long a driver can work in a 24-hour time period. According to the rule, a driver must fit all of their drive time for the day into a 14-hour shift.
This law states that a worker must take a mandatory ten hours off duty after their 14-hour driving shift.
But according to the 14-hour on-duty rule, how many hours can you actually drive during this time period? At first glance, it might seem like you can drive for fourteen hours straight, but that is not the case.
In terms of the total drive time, that’s where we need to look into the 11-hour rule, which we will explore below.
How does this relate to the 11-Hour Rule?
As mentioned above, the 11-hour rule and 14-hour rule are closely related, with one working directly with the other.
The 14-hour logbook rule defines the truck driver’s full shift, which includes both driving time and shorter breaks in between. Meanwhile, the 11-hour rule states that a driver may not drive for more than eleven hours total in any fourteen-hour shift.
No matter how you spread your drive time across the fourteen hours, eleven hours is a hard limit for driving. In addition, drivers must take at least thirty minutes off after eight hours of consecutive driving.
Collectively, this is known as the 11-14 hour truck driving rule.
What is the 70-Hour Rule?
In addition to the 11-hour and 14-hour rule, there is a 70-hour rule that applies to drivers. This rule states a driver cannot exceed 70-hours driving or on duty over any 8-day period. The 70-hour clock is only reset once there has been a 34-hour restart for the driver. This means that the driver is off duty or in the sleeper berth for 34 hours straight.
It’s also important to note there is a variation of this rule known as the 60-hour rule. It limits work to a total of 60 hours over the course of seven days.
How HOS are tracked today
As of the 2017 ELD mandate, drivers must have an FMCSA-approved Electronic Logging Device (ELD) on board. This device logs time automatically and guarantees that the driver accurately records their hours.
Before the ELD mandate, it was almost impossible to ensure that commercial drivers drove responsibly and followed the rules. The system relied on paper HOS (Hours on Service) records, so altered logbooks were much more prevalent.
Today, these rules prevent dangerous practices in trucking companies and have set a universal standard that makes tracking driver behavior much more straightforward..
Who must follow these rules?
The HOS 14-hour rule and the rules that come with it are an integral part of commercial driving today. These rules apply to the vast majority of commercial drivers in the country.
Interstate drivers must not only adhere to the federal laws but make sure that they comply with state HOS rules as well.
As a driver, one of the most important things you will need to do is confirm that your ELD is compliant with both federal and state regulations.
Our DOT compliance services will help you stay on top of federal and state laws, making it easier to maintain compliance.
Example: the 14-Hour Rule in action
In order to avoid the penalty for going over driving hours, understanding how the 14 hours on duty rule works is essential. So, let’s look at an example of how a typical day might look for a commercial driver.
When you begin your shift, your 14-hour clock starts ticking. Your shift starts when you perform any type of work for your company, not just driving.
When you get on the road, you begin accumulating your driving hours. You can’t be on the road for more than eleven hours in any shift, so you must take breaks.
If you’ve been driving for eight hours, the maximum consecutive driving time, you must take a 30minute break before you can resume driving.
How compliance services can help
Navigating DOT compliance regulations such as the 14-hour rule is not always easy. But at Lytx, we are ready to offer you the most cutting-edge solutions to make the process as simple as possible.