Understanding Trucker’s Driving Hours

Big rig drivers have unusual driving schedules that are difficult to understand, even by those that travel the long roads. Although the United States Department of Transportation established numerous restrictions and regulations limiting driving hours and mandating breaks, there are always emergencies and exceptions that break the rules. That is why truck drivers need to understand the strict DOT regulations and carry insurance policies.


Most drivers don’t work a conventional 40 hours a week. Instead, they have a 14-hour rule of which they can drive for 11 hours of that time, but then they must take a break of 3 hours. This is known as the duty period and is highly regulated by the DOT. After driving the truck for eight hours, there is also a mandatory 30-minute break. To further confuse the drivers, the DOT additionally establishes a seven-day workweek for truck drivers, but there must be a 34 rest period during that time. Combined with the 14-hour rule, it is easy to see how confusing the schedule can become.


As with most governmental rules or regulations, there are exceptions to the number of hours truckers can drive. They include:

  • Bad weather conditions
  • Location exemptions
  • Safety problems

Because truck drivers must keep logs and report their hours, it is best to know the rules and abide by them at all times. It is also wise to purchase insurance to cover penalties or accidents. Call your agent today.