M&W Tractor Trailer in Nashville TN

How Long Does It Take to Become a Truck Driver?

While there aren’t a set number of miles that a truck driver is allowed to travel during the day, there are rules about their average weekly mileage. Instead, the limitations are around the number of hours that they can drive in any 24-hour period. Today’s use of electronic logs can make it easier for drivers to stay in full compliance. However, it is still important for drivers to understand the laws that govern their work — all of which are based upon time in some way.

Four Major Rules

Department of Transportation workers are likely to question any mileage that is greater than 500 miles per day, as it is difficult to get these miles in while staying in compliance with the time requirements. The four rules that will help truck drivers determine how they can lawfully conduct business in more than 97% of the cases include:

  1. 11-hour rule. Simply stated, a driver must take at least a 10-hour sleeper break or off-duty rest period after driving for 11 consecutive hours.
  2. 14-hour rule. Slightly more complex, this fixed window rule states that drivers must take a 10-hour sleeper break or off-duty rest period once 14 hours have elapsed on the clock. After that time, their 14-hour window resets. This means a total of 14 hours with any activity that includes driving — even if the majority of that time is napping, receiving or eating.
  3. 30-minute rule. Similar to the way hourly workers are treated, truck drivers must also take a 30-minute break after a total of 8 hours of on-duty time. This rule is still relatively new but depending on how the hours are used for the two rules above, truck drivers may be required to take more than one 30-minute break during their working day.
  4. The 70-hour rule. The cumulative rule helps protect truck drivers from overtaxing themselves on a weekly basis. No driver is allowed to work 14 hours per day continuously. Instead, they may work a maximum of 70 hours in any rolling 8-day period.

While truck drivers may have a difficult time staying on top of these regulations without an electronic logbook, they have been created for the safety of everyone on the road.