Driving solo can be lonely, it doesn’t have to be with a partner and team truck driving rules in place. As a part of a two-person team, you can rest, sleep, or eat on your off-duty shifts while your partner keeps the truck moving. Trucking companies are a big fan of team truck driving because of its reduced downtime and increased efficiency.
What Are FMCSA Regulations?
Team driving must balance the needs of two drivers, and FMCSA regulations ensure that their trips are safe and efficient.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). The U.S. DOT oversees all highway, railroad, pipeline, maritime, and air transportation. By creating regulations, U.S. DOT increases mobility and keeps traveling public safe. The department employs modal administrators to ensure compliance and enforcement with FMSCA regulations.
FMSCA’s goal is to enforce safety regulations that reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving large trucks and buses. In partnership with Federal, State, local and industry organizations, FMSCA implements safety programs to ensure that its goal is being continuously met. These programs keep our Nation’s roadways safe by way of education, enforcement, research, and technology.
These regulations will vary depending on the type of vehicle you operate, and whether you transport passengers or hazardous materials. States can differ in intrastate carrier regulations and registration fees, so it’s important to make sure motor carriers comply with both Federal and State regulations. Failing to comply with these regulations is not only a risk to your safety, but it also risks affecting your carrier’s safety record.
FMSCA focus areas include commercial driver’s licenses, data and analysis, regulatory compliance and enforcement, research and technology, and safety assistance. Read more about FMSCA focus areas, programs, and tools here.
What Are Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations?
FMCSA implements “hours of service” (HOS) regulations for the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty. To help drivers stay awake, HOS specifies the number and length of rest periods. These hours are different for property-carrying drivers and passenger-carrying drivers.
Effective in September 2020, the final rule revises FMCSA HOS regulations to provide greater flexibility for drivers without adversely affecting their safety. This flexibility allows drivers to adjust their driving schedules in cases of unanticipated weather, fatigue, and traffic congestion.
There are 4 areas of revision: short-haul exception, adverse driving conditions exception, 30-minute break requirement, and sleep berth provision.
Short-haul drivers are required to operate within a 150 air-mile radius, starting and ending their duty period at the same location. The maximum duty period is 14 hours. Between shifts, drivers must take 8 hours off (if carrying passengers) or 10 hours off (if carrying property).
Additionally, both passenger and property carriers must use a time record. Your motor carrier has to record your time in and out and the total number of hours you drive in a day. Exceeding these hours or this mileage will require you to take a 30-minute break and to complete a regular log (a paper log with a graph grid) or an Electronic Logging Device (ELD).
Adverse Driving Conditions Exception
If adverse driving conditions are encountered, drivers can extend duty day and driving time by up to 2 hours. Adverse driving conditions include snow, sleet, ice, fog, and other adverse conditions. This exception does not apply to delays caused by accidents involving the driver, loading and unloading, and road construction or detours (except detours the driver couldn’t have known of).
30-minute Break Requirement
After 8 cumulative hours of driving, drivers must take at least a consecutive 30-minute break. This includes being off-duty and being on duty but not driving. Yard moves and roadside inspections count as “on-duty, not driving” time.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Finally, the sleeper berth provision allows drivers to split a 10-hour off-duty period as long as 3 conditions are met. 1) One off-duty period is at least two hours long, 2) the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, and 3) these periods added together must total at least 10 hours.
Property-carrying v.s. Passenger-carrying HOS Regulations
Regulations for property-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers are very similar–they just differ in hour limits. To read these regulations with detailed descriptions, take a look at this table. Notice how prominent the final rule is in both of these lists.
HOS Regulations for Property-Carrying Drivers
- 11-hour driving limit
- 14-hour driving limit
- 30-minute driving break
- 60/70-hour limit
- Sleep berth provision
- Adverse Driving conditions
- Short-haul exception
HOS Regulations for Passenger-Carrying Drivers
- 10-hour driving limit
- 15-hour driving limit
- 60/70-hour limit
- Sleeper berth provision
- Adverse driving conditions
- Short-haul exception
Is Team Truck Driving For You?
Following these regulations is crucial in becoming the best team driver for you, your partner, and your carrier. Following these rules can be easier with someone alongside you. With a partner, you’ll always have someone to talk to and pass the time with. Oftentimes driving teams are family duos. This means no more lonely lunches at a truck stop in the middle of nowhere, and someone to crack jokes with on the road.
If you prefer peace and quiet, an incompatible partner could make things worse. Not every partner will match your energy or the way you think. Truck drivers are driven to the industry for various reasons–and those reasons might clash with day-to-day duties.
Additionally, reflect on your sleeping habits. If you’re a light sleeper, discussing driving techniques and setting rules for music playing can help.
Because team drivers are more efficient than a single driver, they are often lent more priority loads. The pay is split between two drivers, the added mileage can usually earn team drivers more money than solo drivers.
Prepare For Team Truck Driving With Truck Driver Institute
Having a driving partner that has your back is a relief, but even better is having the confidence to conquer difficult situations for yourself. Get quality, expert training at TDI to become the best truck driver you can be for yourself and your partner. TDI offers an affordable, immersive instructional program, led by experienced drivers, that teaches you how to go from novice to road-ready in just three weeks.
The demand for drivers is only increasing, and the road is calling! TDI is here to jumpstart your truck driving career–from helping you finance your training to your job placement. Contact us today at 800-848-7364 to start your training, or fill out this form to learn more.
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