Safe long-haul trucking: How long should you drive in a day?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Truck Accidents |

Long-haul truckers face unique challenges that can affect their safety on the road. Setting reasonable hours and adequately preparing for the journey ahead is crucial to minimize risk. Unfortunately, many drivers struggle to balance safety with the demands of their job. And they aren’t to blame.

Safety regulations for truckers

Truck drivers often face tight deadlines and must deliver goods quickly. This can lead to driving for long periods without breaks, even while obeying speed limits. But the safety issue isn’t the speed limit. It’s the prolonged time they stay awake to drive from point A to point B. To help keep drivers safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has created rules limiting the maximum time truckers can spend on the road. These rules include:

  • 11-hour driving limit: After resting for 10 hours, truckers may drive up to 11 hours only before needing to sleep again.
  • 14-hour limit: A driver cannot work for more than 14 hours in a row without resting for 10 hours first. This includes driving time and nondriving time.
  • 30-minute driving break: After an 8-hour drive, truckers must take breaks of at least 30 minutes before driving again.

Long-haul trucking can be a demanding job. That said, the FMCSA encourages drivers to take their rest periods seriously, stick to driving limits and factor in any potential hazards they may encounter to help keep themselves and others safe.

Risks of prolonged driving

Several risks are associated with prolonged driving, especially in the context of long-haul trucking. These include driver fatigue, impairment and drowsiness due to lack of sleep. For truckers to avoid accidents and stay safe on the road, they should follow FMCSA regulations, take breaks and prioritize safety for themselves and others.