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Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service Part 2

Air Miles and Statute Miles

In the short-haul exceptions to the hours-of-service regulations, you will see the term “air miles.” This is a different measurement of a mile than what is used for statute miles on a roadmap.

An air mile is longer than a statute mile. There are 6,076 feet in an air mile and 5,280 feet in a statute mile. One-hundred air miles is equal to 115.08 statute miles.

Therefore, a 100 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 115.08 statute, or “roadmap,” miles (185.2 km) from your work reporting location. A 150 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 172.6 statute miles (277.8 km).

What are the hours of service limits?

The hours-of-service regulations focus on when and how long you are allowed to drive by placing specific limits on the amount of time you drive your truck and how many total hours you can work before you are no longer permitted to drive a commercial motor vehicle. You must follow three maximum duty limits at all times. They are the 14-hour “driving window” limit, 11-hour driving limit, and 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits.

14-Hour Driving Window

This window is usually thought of as a “daily” limit even though it is not based on a 24-hour period. You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The 14-consecutive-hour driving window begins when you start any kind of work. Once you have reached the end of this 14-consecutive-hour period, you cannot drive again until you have been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours, or the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Your driving is limited to the 14-consecutive-hour period even if you take some off-duty time, such as a lunch break or a nap, during those 14 hours.

**NOTE** If you have a sleeper berth in your vehicle, you may be able to use it to get the required rest and to extend the 14-hour limit. Sleeper-berth provisions will be discussed later in this section.

Example: You have had 10 continuous hours off and you come to work at 6:00 a.m. You must not drive your truck after 8:00 p.m. that evening, which is 14 hours later. You may do other work after 8:00 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving until you have taken another 10 consecutive hours off, or the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(2).

During the 14-consecutive-hour period explained above, you are only allowed to drive your truck for up to 11 total hours. A driver may drive a total of 11 hours during the 14-hour period, however, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. Once you have driven a total of 11 hours, you have reached the driving limit and must be off duty for another 10 consecutive hours (or equivalent) before driving your truck again.

Example: You have had 10 consecutive hours off. You come to work at 6:00 a.m. and drive from 7:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. (7 hours driving). You take a 30-minute break as required, and then can drive for another 4 hours until 6:30 p.m. You must not drive again until you have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. You may do other work after 6:30 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving of a commercial motor vehicle on a public road.
This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(3).

Thirty-Minute Rest Break

The hours-of-service regulations require that if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes before driving. For example, if the driver started driving immediately after coming on duty, he or she could drive for 8 consecutive hours, take a half-hour break, and then drive another 3 hours for a total of 11 hours. In another example, this driver could drive for  3 hours, take a half-hour break, and then drive another 8 hours, for a total of 11 hours. Because  of this short break provision, drivers are able to work 13.5 hours in the 14-hour period (if they are driving after the 8th hour on duty). The driver must be off duty for at least a half hour. Meal breaks or any other off-duty time of at least 30 minutes qualifies as a break. This time does count against the 14-hour driving window, as allowing off-duty time to extend the work day would allow drivers to drive long past the time when fatigue becomes extreme. In addition, FMCSA has also added an exception for drivers of commercial motor vehicles carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives to allow them to count on-duty time spent attending the commercial motor vehicle, but doing no other on-duty work, towards the break. This 30-minute break is further explained in greater detail throughout this document, particularly as it relates to the 11-hour driving rule.

FMCSA does not enforce the 30-minute rest break provision [49  CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii)]  against any

driver that qualifies for either of the “short haul operations” exceptions outlined in 49 CFR 395.1(e)

(1) or (2). Specifically, the following drivers are not subject to the 30-minute break requirement:

All drivers (CDL and non-CDL) that operate within 100 air-miles of their normal work reporting location and satisfy the time limitations and recordkeeping requirements of 395.1(e)(1).

This exception (395.1(e)(1)) applies for any day in which a driver:

  • Drives within a 100 air-mile radius of his/her normal work reporting location;
  • Returns to his/her work reporting location and is released within 12 consecutive hours; and
  • Follows the 10-hour off-duty and 11-hour driving requirements for property-carrying

Non-CDL drivers that operate within a 150 air-mile radius of the location where the driver reports for duty and satisfy the time limitations and recordkeeping requirements of 395.1(e)(2) are also exempt from the 30-minute rest break.

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