Do you have to log your driving hours in VA?

Yes, commercial drivers in Virginia are legally required to log their driving hours. Federal Hours of Service regulations mandate that drivers must record their driving time and rest breaks to ensure they are not driving while fatigued.

Why do drivers have to log hours in VA?

The main reason drivers are required to log their hours is for safety. Logging hours helps ensure drivers do not exceed maximum driving limits and get the required rest. Driving while fatigued is a major cause of accidents. Logging hours provides an accurate record of a driver’s time on-duty and helps enforce Hours of Service limits.

The specific regulations requiring hours of service logging include:

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) – The FMCSR Part 395 outlines hours of service rules for commercial drivers. This includes requirements for logging driving time and breaks.
  • Virginia Laws – Virginia follows federal FMCSR regulations. State laws prohibit drivers from exceeding federal hours of service limits.

By complying with hours of service logging requirements, drivers help ensure they are rested and alert while driving. This improves safety for the driver and all road users.

Who needs to log driving hours in Virginia?

Hours of service logging requirements apply to most commercial vehicle drivers operating in Virginia. This includes:

  • Interstate truck drivers
  • Intrastate truck drivers
  • Passenger carrier drivers (buses)
  • Hazmat vehicle drivers
  • Commercial vehicle drivers crossing state lines

However, some exemptions exist. Hours of service logging is not required for:

  • School bus drivers
  • Drivers of vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs (unless carrying placarded hazmat or more than 8 passengers)
  • Drivers who stay within a 150 air-mile radius of their home base and return daily

Check federal and state regulations to determine if your commercial vehicle requires hours of service logging.

How should drivers in Virginia log hours?

Drivers in Virginia must record their hours of service in daily logbooks. Print or electronic logging can be used. The daily logs should include:

  • Date
  • Start and end time for each duty status (driving, on-duty not driving, sleeper berth, off-duty)
  • Total hours in each status
  • Truck and trailer numbers
  • Name and signature of driver

Drivers are required to record all on-duty activity and driving time in 15 minute increments. The daily log provides an official overview of the driver’s hours.

Virginia also allows the use of automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs) and electronic logging devices (ELDs) to log hours of service. These devices are connected to the vehicle and automatically record driving time and other duty statuses.

How many hours can you drive in a day in Virginia?

Under federal hours of service regulations, commercial drivers in Virginia can drive a maximum of 11 hours per day. Some specifics on daily driving limits include:

  • Up to 11 hours of driving time is allowed within a 14 hour on-duty period
  • After driving 11 hours, drivers must have at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • The 14-hour on-duty window begins when the driver starts any kind of work, including driving and non-driving tasks

So in their daily log, a driver can record up to 11 hours driving time over a 14 hour on-duty period. Longer driving or on-duty hours are not permitted without taking the required 10 hour break.

Are there exemptions to the 11-hour driving limit?

In some circumstances, exemptions can allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit. Common exemptions include:

  • 16-hour short-haul exemption – Allows up to 16 hours of driving time for drivers operating within a 150 air-mile radius of their home base. Must return to base at end of shift.
  • Adverse driving exemption – Extra 2 hours of driving time may be permitted if unexpected conditions cause delays. Driver must document reason.
  • 16-hour agricultural operations exemption – Up to 16 hours driving time for drivers transporting agricultural commodities within a 150 air-mile radius.

These exemptions come with specific requirements and limitations. Drivers should be knowledgeable of the rules before attempting to use an hours of service exemption.

What are the weekly driving limits?

Besides daily limits, federal regulations also impose weekly caps on driving time. The main weekly restriction is:

  • Maximum 60 hours on-duty over 7 consecutive days
  • Maximum 70 hours on-duty over 8 consecutive days

The 7-day period is fixed, starting Monday morning and ending the following Sunday night. The 60 hours cannot be exceeded without taking required rest breaks. For an 8-day period, up to 70 hour on-duty are allowed.

In the daily logbook, drivers should verify they are not exceeding the 60/70 hour weekly driving limits.

What are the required breaks?

Besides limiting driving hours, regulations also mandate rest breaks and off-duty time. Required breaks under federal hours of service rules include:

  • 30-minute rest break during first 8 hours of shift
  • 10 consecutive hours off-duty between every 14-hour on-duty period
  • At least 1 off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours per week. Commonly taken Saturday night to Monday morning.

These breaks allow drivers time to rest and prevent fatigued driving. Drivers must record required breaks in their logbook.

Can you log sleeping in the truck as break time?

Yes, up to 10 hours of sleeping in the sleeper berth can be logged to satisfy the hours of service required breaks. This is known as “split sleeper berth” time. Rules for logging sleeper berth time include:

  • Must be in sleeper berth, not just resting in driver’s seat
  • Berth time must be at least 2 hours long
  • Break can be split into 2 periods totaling 10 hours
  • Neither period can be less than 2 hours

Properly logging split sleeper berth time allows drivers flexibility to take shorter breaks while still accumulating their required 10 hours off-duty.

What records must be kept for inspections?

Drivers are required to keep detailed records of their duty statuses and driving times. These records must be available to law enforcement during inspections or audits. Documents that regulators can request include:

  • Paper log books covering the last 7 days
  • Electronic logs for the current 24-hour period and previous 7 days
  • Supporting documents like carrier-issued dispatch records, expense receipts, and toll tickets

Drivers must keep hours of service records for the previous 7 days and make them available on request. Many carriers also require submission of logs after each trip.

What are the penalties for false logs or logbook violations?

Intentionally falsifying logbooks or violating hours of service rules has serious consequences for drivers in Virginia. Penalties include:

  • Fines up to $5,000 for each offense
  • Jail time up to 6 months
  • Driver disqualification for up to 120 days or 1 year for multiple offenses
  • Out-of-service order requiring rest before driving again

These federal and state penalties are significant and can severely impact a driver’s livelihood. Accurately logging hours is essential.

Can trucking companies modify driving limits?

No, carriers cannot modify federal and state mandated driving limits and breaks. However, motor carriers can set more restrictive hours of service rules for drivers. For example, a company could require:

  • Only 10 hours of driving per shift instead of 11 hours
  • 12 hours on-duty maximum instead of 14 hours
  • Minimum 12 hour break between shifts

Stricter rules help limit driver fatigue. But carriers cannot allow driving or on-duty time beyond what regulations permit.

Do passenger carrier and bus drivers have different limits?

Yes, some hours of service limits are more strict for passenger carrier/bus drivers. Differences include:

  • 10 hour driving limit instead of 11 hours
  • 15 hour on-duty limit instead of 14 hours
  • 8 consecutive days driving limit instead of 7 days

Passenger carrier drivers log their hours just like truck drivers. But passenger vehicle operations have additional safety requirements under FMCSR Part 395.


Logging driving hours is a legal requirement for commercial truck and bus drivers in Virginia. Accurately recording duty time, driving, breaks and rest periods in a logbook is essential for staying compliant with hours of service rules. Following these regulations helps ensure public safety by preventing fatigued driving.

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