On-Duty Time for CDL Drivers

Hours-of-service regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles place limits on driving after a certain number of hours spent on duty, both on a daily and weekly basis. Drivers are required to keep track of their on-duty time, and knowing what's included and excluded as on-duty time is critical to compliance with the hours-of-service rules.

This requirement applies to drivers and motor carriers operating property-carrying and passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce.

Key definitions:

  • Commercial motor vehicle (CMV): A self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway, in interstate commerce, that meets any one of the following criteria:
    • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR), or gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW), of 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or
    • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
    • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver), and not used to transport passengers for compensation; or
    • Is transporting hazardous materials of a type or quantity which requires placarding.
    • On-duty time: All time from the time a driver begins work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from all work and responsibility for performing work.

Summary of requirements:

  • On-duty time includes the following:
  • All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;
  • All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any CMV at any time;
  • All driving time (defined as all time spent at the controls of a CMV in operation);
  • All time, other than driving time, in or upon any CMV except:
    • Time spent resting in or on a parked vehicle (except when attending to a CMV containing a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material),
    • Time spent resting in a sleeper berth, or
    • Up to three hours riding in the passenger seat of a property-carrying CMV moving on a highway immediately before or after a sleeper-berth period of at least seven consecutive hours;
  • All time loading or unloading a CMV, supervising or assisting in the loading or unloading, attending a CMV being loaded or unloaded, remaining in readiness to operate the CMV, or in giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded;
  • All time repairing, obtaining assistance, or remaining in attendance upon a disabled CMV;
  • Performing any other work in the capacity, employ, or service of a motor carrier;
  • All time spent providing a breath sample or urine specimen, including travel time to and from the collection site, in order to comply with drug and alcohol testing requirements in Part 382 when directed by a motor carrier; and
  • Performing any compensated work for any non-motor carrier entity.


Header Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

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