Federal regulations govern the maximum number of hours that commercial motor vehicle driver may be "on‑duty." These rules limit commercial drivers to working a maximum of 14 hours within any 24‑hour period. Further, commercial motor carrier drivers:
- may only drive up to 11 hours of the 14‑hour "on‑duty" period;
- must take 10 consecutive hours of off‑duty time after driving 11 hours;
- may not extend the 14‑hour on‑duty window with off‑duty time, meals, or fuel stops; and
- may not be on duty more than 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days.
Sleeper berth. A sleeper berth is a sleeping compartment typically accessible from the driver's seat in a commercial vehicle. In order to comply with hours of service restrictions, a driver using a sleeper berth must spend at least eight consecutive hours in the berth, and two more hours either in the berth or off-duty.
Penalties for violations. Potential penalties for drivers who violate the federal hours of service rules include:
- being placed "out‑of‑service" until the driver meets off‑duty time requirements;
- fines by federal, state, or local enforcement officials;
- a downgrade of the motor carrier's safety rating; or
- federal criminal penalties against carriers or drivers knowingly and willfully violating hours of service regulations.