Guides / A Deep Dive into Hours-of-Service Rules / Hours-of-service rules.

Hours-of-service rules.

Hours of service refers to the amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty, ensures driver safety, limits drive time, and requires a specific number and length of rest periods so drivers stay awake and alert. In nearly all cases, trucking carriers and drivers operating CMVs must comply with hours-of-service regulations found in 49 CFR 395.

The federal hours-of-service regulations are a set of safety-related requirements that describe: 

  • How long a driver is allowed to drive during a single shift
  • The amount of time a driver can drive during the week
  • When a driver must take a rest break during a work shift
  • How much time off a driver must have between shifts

The 11-hour driving limit

The 11-hour rule states that within the 14-hour window, a property-carrying driver can drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

Passenger-carrying drivers can drive up to 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.

The 14-hour rule

The 14-hour rule is a federal safety hours-of-service (HOS) rule that applies to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.  

This post explains the details of this rule and why it’s commonly referred to as the “driving window.”

Understanding the 14-hour reset rule

The 14-hour rule can best be described as a property-carrying CMV driver’s “driving window.” 

A property-carrying CMV driver is allowed 14 consecutive hours during each work shift (the driving window) to drive up to a maximum of 11 hours.

The 14-consecutive hour driving window starts when the driver begins any type of work (e.g., a pre-trip inspection of the truck and/or trailer at the beginning of the work shift).  

When a driver reaches the end of the 14-consecutive hour driving window, the driver may not drive until they’ve been off duty for at least 10 consecutive hours.

What is the purpose of the 14-hour rule?

The purpose of this rule is to prevent drivers from driving while they may be fatigued after a long day.  

The longer drivers are awake and working, the less alert they become. Scientists call this “acute” fatigue.

Can the 14-hour driving window be paused? 

Generally speaking, the 14-consecutive hour driving window can’t be paused.  

The 14-hour driving window is often referred to as a driver’s “running clock.” Even if a driver takes some off-duty time for a meal or a coffee break during the work shift, that break doesn’t pause or stop the 14-consecutive hour driving window (the running clock).

Note: If a driver is operating a truck with a sleeper berth, rest periods taken in the sleeper berth during a work shift may pause the 14-consecutive hour driving window.

Is non-driving work allowed at the end of the 14-hour driving window?

Yes, a driver can perform non-driving work at the end of the 14-consecutive hour driving window.

For example, a driver could stay on duty to complete paperwork, perform a post-trip vehicle inspection, etc. Only driving a CMV in commerce is prohibited at the end of the 14-consecutive hour driving window.

To see how Motive can help you comply with the 14-hour rule, schedule a demo or get a personalized quote today

The 30-minute break rule

According to the 30-minute break rule, drivers can’t log driving time if eight hours have passed since the last off-duty period of 30 consecutive minutes. Drivers can perform non-driving tasks after eight hours without taking a break, but they can’t drive.

60/70 hour limit

Property-carrying drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty within 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart the 7/8 day period after taking 34 consecutive hours off duty. 

Passenger-carrying drivers, however, can’t drive after 60/70 hours on duty within 7/8  consecutive days. 

Sleeper berth provision

Property-carrying drivers can split their required 10-hour off-duty period, as long as this off-duty period is at least two hours long and the other involves at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. 

All sleeper berth pairings need to add up to at least 10 hours. When combined, neither time period counts against the maximum 14-hour window. 

Passenger-carrying drivers using sleeper berths must take at least eight hours in the sleeper berth, and can split this time into two periods as long as neither is less than two hours. All sleeper berth pairings must add up to at least 10 hours. 

Adverse driving conditions

Property-carrying drivers can extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit and 14-hour window by up to two hours when encountering adverse driving conditions. 

When adverse conditions are encountered, passenger-carrying drivers can extend the 10-hour maximum driving time and 15-hour on-duty limit by up to two hours. 

The 16-hour short-haul exception

The 16-hour short-haul exception allows qualifying drivers to extend the 14-hour driving window to 16 hours once every seven consecutive days.

A property-carrying driver can use this exception if:

  • The driver has returned to the driver’s normal work reporting location, and the carrier released the driver from duty at that location for the previous five duty tours the driver has worked.
  • The driver has returned to the normal work reporting location, and the carrier releases the driver from duty within 16 hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
  • The driver hasn’t taken this exemption within the previous six consecutive days, except when the driver has begun a new seven- or eight-consecutive day period with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours as allowed by §395.3(c).

Drivers who use the 16-hour short-haul exception can’t use the non-CDL 150 air-mile exemption.


When adhering to hours-of-service rules, it’s important to keep track of all the details; otherwise, you may find yourself paying serious penalties. Penalties range from being shut down for 10 to 34 hours to a monetary  range from $1,000 to $16,000 fines, depending on the severity. 

Violations deemed “egregious” result in the biggest fines; for example, if the violation involves hazardous material, the fine can exceed $75,000. 

Hours-of-service compliance and Motive

Logging hours of service and staying compliant with Motive is easy.

When a driver connects the Motive App to the Vehicle Gateway, Motive will automatically set your duty status to driving once you start driving over five miles per hour. Your remaining hours of service are automatically calculated and displayed on your mobile screen.

Duty statuses can be changed in the mobile app with just a couple of clicks.

If you want more information about installing the Motive ELD in your vehicle, recording hours of service, simplifying vehicle fleet management.

To see how Motive can help you comply with the hours-of-service rules, schedule a demo or get a personalized quote today