Understanding Federal Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association exists to protect the health and safety of both truck drivers and the motorists who share the road with them. Hours of service regulations pertain to the number of hours a trucker may be on duty before he must take a mandatory break. These rules also regulate the length of breaks and downtime to ensure that truckers get a sufficient amount of rest before they resume driving.

Who Must Follow the Rules?

The FMCSA hours of service regulations apply to drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle. Commercial motor vehicles are vehicles operated as part of a business, including trucks weighing 10,001 pounds or more that are engaged in interstate commerce. Drivers who do not cross state lines but operate within a state that has adopted the FMCSA regulations must also comply with these rules. All truck drivers who are considered “on-duty” are required to follow these regulations or they and their employers will face a penalty.

What Are the Rules?

The current set of hours of service regulations have been in effect since July 1, 2013. These regulations state that property-carrying drivers may only drive for a maximum of 11 hours following a consecutive ten-hour off-duty period. Furthermore, drivers may not continue to work after 14 consecutive hours on duty, regardless of the number of breaks taken. After eight consecutive hours of on-duty time, truck drivers must take a mandatory 30-minute break. Drivers may not operate their truck for more than 60/70 hours in a consecutive 7/8-day period. Once you have reached your maximum for this period, you must take a minimum 34-hour off-duty break before resuming work.

At HDS Truck Driving Institute of Tucson, we provide up-to-date education regarding truck driving skills, rules, and regulations so you’ll know exactly what to expect. We invite you to visit our Tucson CDL school at one of our open house events, check us out online, or call us today at (877) 205-2141 to discuss admissions and enrollment.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving is a significant safety hazard that affects both truck drivers and other motorists while on the road. Nearly 40% of motorists admit they have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel of a vehicle. Unfortunately, in many cases, truck drivers that become drowsy fail to notice the warning signs, putting themselves at risk. Learning to recognize these signs can alert you to the need to take appropriate action to keep yourself and others safe. If you do notice these signs, find the nearest safe place to pull over and get some rest before continuing your drive.

Physical Signs

As your body starts to fall asleep, your eyes may be difficult to keep open. Your eyelids may feel sore, gritty, and heavy, and you may find that you are blinking more frequently to remain aware of your surroundings. Trouble getting your vision to stay focused or a wandering gaze can also signal that you are becoming sleepy. Frequent yawning and the feeling that you cannot keep your head up are further signs that you should stop for a rest.

Mental Signs

Truck drivers may also experience mental signals that indicate fatigue. When you are tired, you are more likely to daydream. Your thoughts may wander and you may have trouble pulling them back to the task at hand. In some cases, you may not remember the last few miles you’ve driven, causing you to miss your signs or exits. Drowsiness can also cause feelings or restlessness, irritability, and a short temper that affect your ability to remain comfortable in the driver’s seat and keep your concentration on the road. If you notice any of these mental signals, it’s time to take action to prevent putting yourself or others at risk, regardless of whether you feel physically tired.

HDS Truck Driving Institute will teach you how to stay safe on the road as you pursue your truck driving career. Our Tucson CDL school features new driver and refresher courses in addition to road testing opportunities. Click through our website or call us at (877) 205-2141 for more information.

Essential Guidelines for Staying Safe on the Roads

As a trucker, your career involves certain risks associated with traveling on roadways. Whether you encounter distracted drivers, hazardous conditions, or fatigue, it’s important to keep your safety in mind at all times while driving your truck. Following a few essential safety guidelines will ensure that you have a safe and successful trucking career.

Avoid Talking or Texting on the Phone

Studies have shown that both talking and texting—even while using hands-free options—can reduce your concentration on the road by well over 30%. Avoid talking on the phone and never text while you are driving. If you need to make a phone call or answer a text, wait until you can safely pull your truck off the road before accessing your phone.

Wear Your Seatbelt

Seatbelts are an integral part of truck safety. Serious crashes can throw you from your truck if you are not buckled in, increasing your risk of death by up to 25 times. Always wear your seatbelt while in the driver’s seat, even if you are only taking your truck a short distance. There is no way to know what kind of hazards you will encounter during any drive, but your seatbelt will help to keep you safely in place if a crash does occur.

Know Your Blind Spots

Trucks can have many blind spots and each truck is slightly different. Staying aware of where other drivers are relative to your truck is a good way to prevent accidents. Never assume that other drivers know where your blind spots are; nor should you assume that drivers will know to stay out of your blind spots. Check your blind spots frequently and recheck them before you change lanes or make a turn.

At HDS Truck Driving Institute, you will learn how to keep yourself and others safe throughout your career as a trucker. Are you ready to get driving with our Class A and Class B bus training and testing options? Check out our website or give us a call at (877) 205-2141 to begin the admissions process today.

A Look at Proposed Fuel-Efficiency Standard Changes for Truckers

Fuel efficiency holds many benefits for truck drivers, trucking companies, and the environment alike. New regulations, ordered by President Obama this February and set to be drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department within one year, will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases generated by the trucking industry. This important change is a positive step toward a healthier environment for both today’s population and future generations.

Improving Gas Mileage

The goal of President Obama’s proposed fuel-efficiency standard changes is to improve the gas mileage of trucks. Better gas mileage means that truck drivers will not need to refuel as often. Truck drivers will thus be able to cover larger distances and meet deadlines with more efficiency. Improved efficiency can potentially increase safety on the roads for all by reducing rushed driving as well. Better gas mileage will also save truckers and their employers money because they will need to purchase less gas overall. Lower fuel costs will reduce the cost of truck operation, as well as the cost of consumer goods. A reduction in the amount of gas necessary to transport goods will also reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil imports.

Reducing Climate Change

Studies have shown that mankind’s ever-growing industrial culture is having an effect on the climate. Greenhouse gases, which are released when fossil fuels such as diesel and gasoline are burned, increase the insulating effect of the atmosphere. This causes temperatures to rise across the globe, contributing to significant climate changes. Thus, lowering greenhouse gas emissions will reduce the effects of climate change, especially when these changes are made and observed over the long term.

The trucking industry plays an important role in the U.S. economy, and now it can also play a valuable part in reducing climate change. If you would like to learn more about the trucking industry and becoming a truck driver in Tucson, contact HDS Truck Driving Institute today by calling (877) 205-2141 or stop by our next open house. You can also find more information about CDL training and certification on the Web.

A Guide to Must-See Truck Driving Films

Truck driving is not only an excellent career choice; it is also a pivotal plot element in a number of films. Whether you enjoy watching movies that feature truck drivers as main characters or those that utilize trucks to progress the plot, there is a film choice you’re sure to enjoy.

Maximum Overdrive

Stephen King is a well-known master of horror and suspense. His short story “Trucks” was the inspiration for the1986 film Maximum Overdrive, which he also directed. The film stars Emilio Estevez, Yeardley Smith, Pat Hingle, and Laura Harrington, and features a more humorous tone than King’s other works. Maximum Overdrive follows a number of characters at the Dixie Boy truck stop as they deal with a series of bizarre events that occur when the Earth passes through the tail of a rogue comet. As inanimate objects come to life—including the trucks—the characters must fend for their lives. The film’s truck stop set, which was built in Leland, NC, was so realistic that during the filming, a number of real drivers pulled in to refuel!


The 1971 film Duel, directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on a short story by Richard Matheson. This single-lead film stars Dennis Weaver as David Mann, a salesman who is on a cross-country road trip. While on the road, he encounters a 1955 Peterbilt 281 tanker truck, which seems to follow and antagonize him no matter where he goes. As the film proceeds, these incidents escalate until the truck begins to threaten his life. The film was Spielberg’s second major directing project and was originally a made-for-television film. However, due to its success, the film was extended and released as a feature-length film overseas.

At HDS Truck Driving Institute, we can bring your movie-inspired dreams to life at our CDL professional truck driver training school. You can learn more about becoming a truck driver in Tucson by calling us at (877) 205-2141 or by clicking through our informative website.

Advice for Balancing Family Life and Your Truck Driving Schedule

Life as a trucker can sometimes mean long hours spent away from home while on the road. Even so, many truckers successfully manage their family and work schedules. Take a look through this article for some tips you can follow throughout your career.

Stay In Touch

Although you may be out on the road, there are many ways for truck drivers to stay in touch with their families. Cell phones, laptops, and tablets allow you to speak with your spouse and children in real time, and many truck stops offer free WiFi service. Scheduling a time to contact your family when you are off duty each day is a great way to keep in touch and remain an active part of their lives, even when you aren’t at home.

Include Your Children

Take the opportunity to include your children in your truck driving career while at home. Teach them about truck maintenance and allow them to help you with appropriate tasks, such as checking tire pressure or packing a safety kit. Children can also help you plan your trucking route before you set off. These simple actions will show your children that you care about including them in your life and help you to think of them while on the road as well.

Spend Time with Your Spouse

When you are at home, make an effort to spend time with your spouse. Whether you plan a romantic dinner out at a nice restaurant or spend the night in with a movie, this time together is important. Even small, simple gestures, such as breakfast in bed before you head out to work, can go a long way toward reminding you both of the importance and strength in your relationship.

HDS Truck Driving Institute is more than a CDL school—we will help you find and maintain your ideal career in truck driving for life! You can learn more about our Lifetime Job Placement Program when you visit our website, or (877) 205-2141 for details about our programs.