49 CFR 395: Hours of Service of Drivers

The regulations in this part apply to all drivers of commercial motor vehicles and motor carriers. However, there are a few notable exceptions stated under 49 CFR 395.1 including drivers operating vehicles that carry more than 15 people, weigh more than 10,000 pounds, or transport an amount of hazardous material that requires placards.

From the time a driver begins to work extending until the driver is relieved from all responsibility for being involved with the work is known as “on-duty” time. On-duty time includes:

  • all time spent at a loading or unloading facility, terminal, or on any public or private property waiting to be dispatched,
  • all time involving the inspection process,
  • driving time,
  • all other non-driving time (except time spent resting in the sleeper) spent in a commercial vehicle,
  • all time repairing the vehicle or obtaining assistance to repair the vehicle,
  • miscellaneous time spent such as travel time for taking a drug and alcohol test,
  • time performing any work in the service or employment of a common or private motor carrier, and
  • all time spent performing any compensated work for any non-motor carrier business.


If a driver on a run is confronted by hazardous weather conditions such as rain, snow, fog, or any one of other unusual road and traffic conditions the driver can drive up to 2 hours longer than the regulations allow only if he normally could have completed the run in no longer than 10 hours of driving, and provided that dispatch was unaware of the adverse driving conditions at the time of dispatch. However, drivers are prohibited from driving more than 12 hours after 8 consecutive hours off, or if the driver has been on duty for 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off. If emergency condition occurs, a driver is allowed to finish his run without being in violation of this regulation if the run could have been completed in a reasonable amount of time sans the emergency condition.

100 air-mile radius drivers are not required to fill out a log if they drive within a 100 air-mile radius of the place where they report to work, return to the place they reported for work within 12 consecutive hours, have had 8 consecutive hours off duty in between each 12 hours on duty, if they don’t drive more than 10 hours following 8 hours off duty, and if their employer keeps time records for 6 months showing the time the driver reports for duty and the time he is released, the total of hours on duty from day to day, and the total time on duty for the past 7 days if the driver is used for the first time or intermittently. There are a few special provisions under these rules for the deliveries of driver-salespeople, oil field operations and retail stores.

Drivers may use their sleeper berths to accumulate the required 8 consecutive hours off-duty time, and may use two separate time periods that total 8 hours. Neither period may be less than 2 hours.

Under §395.1 there are special duty status provisions for drivers from Alaska and Hawaii, drivers of agricultural operations, ground water well drilling operations, drivers who transport constructions materials and equipment, and utility service vehicles.


A driver is forbidden to drive more than 10 hours following 8 straight hours off duty or for any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. A motor carrier cannot require or even permit a driver, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, to drive for any period after having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier doesn’t operate during the week. A driver is also prohibited from driving if he has been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates motor vehicles every day of the week.


This segment of the federal regulations states that a driver must either submit or forward by mail the original driver’s record of duty status to the regular employing motor carrier within 13 days following the completion of the form, and must retain a copy of each record of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days and keep them available in his possession for inspection while on duty.


Each motor carrier is required to maintain their records of duty status and all supporting documents for 6 months.

View an example of how a driver would log a journey.


A driver will be considered “out of service” if he has neglected to keep up his duty status. An “out of service” driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle until he has had 8 consecutive hours off duty. A copy documenting this must be sent to the employer within 15 days.


A driver must have records of duty status for the previous seven days at all times. This part of the federal regulations indicates that it is permissible for drivers of commercial motor vehicles to use on-board recording devices in place of a log book, but the information must be retrievable and instructions on the recording system must be kept inside of the vehicle. In the event that the recording device isn’t working for some reason the record of duty status for the current day and any of the past 7 days that the driver is missing records for must be handwritten until the recording device is once again in working order.

Click here to view the text of 49 CFR 395 in its entirety.

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