You are here

Hours of Service Requirements for Cross-Border Drivers

The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) were developed to address Hours of Service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers involved in cross-border transportation.   They were developed in collaboration with Transport Canada (TC), and Mexico’s Dirección General de Autotransporte Federal (DGAF).

While every effort has been made to assure that the information provided in the FAQs is complete and accurate, it is not intended as legal advice, a substitute for the regulations, or an interpretation of the U.S., Canadian, or Mexican regulations.   

The HOS regulations in all three countries include additional requirements, exceptions, and exemptions that apply in specific circumstances that are not addressed in these FAQs.  Therefore, FMCSA recommends drivers and motor carriers read the applicable HOS regulations for each country in which they are operating. 

FMCSA has published a guide to its HOS regulations for interstate truck drivers https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Drivers_Guide_to_HOS_2016.pdf

The following FAQs are based on regulations in effect on October 9, 2018. 

General Questions

Q1: Are Canada/Mexico domiciled CMV drivers required to have record of duty status (RODS) for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days when crossing into the United States?

A1: Yes, if the U.S. destination is beyond 100 air-mile radius of a Canada/Mexico domiciled motor carrier’s driver’s normal work reporting location, the driver must have their current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days RODS for operations while in Canada or Mexico.

However, if the U.S. destination is within a 100 air-mile radius of a Canada/Mexico domiciled motor carrier’s driver’s normal work reporting location and the driver returns to that location and is released from work within 12 hours, then the driver is not required to keep a paper log or use an AOBRD/ELD during the U.S. portion of the trip.

Q2: Do the hours-of-service (HOS) exemptions issued by FMCSA apply when a CMV driver crosses into Canada or Mexico?

A2: No. FMCSA exemptions (e.g., agriculture, et al.) apply strictly for CMV operations conducted within the United States. Motor carriers and drivers engaged in cross-border transportation and operating under an FMCSA exemption in the United States must be knowledgeable of and comply with the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations in Canada and Mexico when entering Canada or Mexico.

For example, if a driver logs off-duty time under the U.S. agricultural commodity exemption while operating in the U.S., and crosses the border, they should be aware that a Canada or Mexico enforcement official will review the driver’s HOS for compliance with Canada/Mexico’s regulations. Therefore, operations recorded as off-duty time under a FMCSA exemption may be interpreted as driving time in Canada/Mexico and the driver may be cited for any applicable HOS violation and potentially placed out-of-service.

What are Some Key Differences between the Canadian and U.S. Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations?

Q1: When operating in the United States, should a Canadian commercial driver continue to operate under the Canadian HOS regulations?

A1: No. A Canadian CMV driver must comply with the U.S. HOS regulations (49 CFR part 395) when operating in the United States. Drivers must also ensure that they comply with the Canadian HOS regulations (SOR/2005-313) when they return to Canada.

Q2: When operating in Canada, should a U.S. commercial driver continue to operate under the U.S. HOS regulations?

A2: No. A U.S. commercial driver must comply with the Canadian HOS regulations (SOR/2005-313) when operating in Canada. Drivers must also ensure that they comply with the U.S. HOS regulations (49 CFR part 395) when they return to the United States.

Q3:  Must a driver from Canada have a record of duty status available for inspection when operating a CMV in the United States?

A3: Yes, a driver from Canada is subject to the record of duty status requirements of the United States.  (49 CFR § 395.8)

Q4: Must a driver from the United States have a record of duty status available for inspection when operating a CMV in Canada?

A4: Yes. A U.S. commercial driver is subject to the record of duty status requirements (SOR/2005-313 – Section 84: Possession of Daily Logs and Supporting Documents by Drivers) when operating in Canada.

Q5: What is the maximum driving time a CMV driver of property may drive in the United States?

A5: 11 hours in a 14-consecutive hour duty period after having 10-consecutive hours off duty. (49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3))

  • Rest breaks during 14-consecutive hour duty period: Driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.

Q6: What is the maximum driving time a CMV driver of passengers may drive in the United States?

A6: 10 hours after having taken 8-consecutive hours off duty. (49 CFR § 395.5(a) (1))

Q7: What is the maximum driving time a CMV driver of passengers or property may drive in Canada?

A7: In Canada, there is no differentiation between the maximum driving time for drivers of passengers or property. 

Q8: For drivers transporting property, are there differences between Canadian and U.S. HOS regulations for driving after on-duty time?

A8: When operating in the United States, no on-duty driving may be done after 14-consecutive hours from the first on-duty activity after having taken 10-consecutive hours of off-duty. (49 CFR § 395.3(a)(2))

  • When operating in Canada, no driving may be done after 14-hours of on-duty time in a day or after 14-hours on-duty in a work-shift after having taken 8-consecutive hours off-duty. (SOR/2005-313 - Section 12: Daily Driving and On-Duty Time; Section 13: Mandatory Off-duty Time)

Q9: Do Canada and the United States have similar HOS regulations regarding 30-minute break periods?

A9: Yes. Rest breaks during 14-cosecutive hour duty period: When operating in the United States, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. (49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3)(ii))

  • When operating in Canada, off-duty time other than the mandatory 8 consecutive hours off may be distributed throughout the day in blocks of no less than 30 minutes each. (SOR/2005-313 – Section 14: Daily Off-duty Time)

Q10: What are the differences between the on-duty regulations in the United States and Canada for drivers of passengers?

A10: When operating in the United States, no driving may be done after 15 hours of on-duty after having taken at least 8 hours off-duty. (49 CFR § 395.5(a)(2))

  • When operating in Canada, no driving may be done after 14 hours of on-duty time in a day or after 14-hours on-duty in a work-shift after having taken 8-consecutive hours of off-duty. (SOR/2005-313 – Section 12: Daily Driving and On-Duty Time; Section 13: Mandatory Off-duty Time)

Q11: Are there differences in how long a driver may operate in a single duty period in Canada and the United States?

A11: In the United States, for drivers of property no driving may be done after 14-consecutive hours until the driver first takes 10 consecutive hours off duty.  (393.3(a)(2)).  For drivers of passengers in the United States, no driving may be done after being on duty 15-hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. (49 CFR § 395.5(a)(2))

  • Yes. In Canada, no driving may be done after 16 hours have elapsed beginning with the first on-duty activity after the conclusion of an 8 or more-consecutive hour rest period.  (SOR/2005-313 – Section 13: Mandatory Off-duty Time)

Q12: What are the differences in the requirements for drivers to have in their possession in the CMV copies of their records of duty status when driving in Canada or the United States?

A12: A driver operating in the United States must retain in their possession and available for inspection while on duty their daily records of duty status for the current day and the previous 7 consecutive days.  (49 CFR § 395.8(k)(2))

  • A driver operating in Canada must have in their possession their daily logs for the current day and the preceding 14-days and supporting documents for the current trip (SOR/2005-313 - Section 84: Possession of Daily Logs and Supporting Documents by Drivers).

Q13: What are the differences between the maximum duty time/duty cycles regulations in the United States and Canada?

A13: When operating in the United States, no driving  may be done after accumulating 60 on-duty hours in 7 consecutive days if the motor carrier does not operate CMVs every day of the week; or 70 on-duty hours in 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates CMVs every day of the week.  (49 CFR § 395.3(b)(1)-(2); 49 CFR § 395.5(b)(1)(2))

  • When operating in Canada, under Cycle 1, no driving may be done after accumulating 70 on-duty hours in 7 days; under Cycle 2 no driving may be done after accumulating 120 on-duty hours in 14 days. (SOR/2005-313 - Section 26 – Cycles; Section 27 - Cycles) 
  • When operating in Canada under Cycle 2, drivers are not permitted to drive after accumulating 70 hours on-duty without having first taken 24-consecutive hours of off-duty time. (SOR/2005-313 - Section 27 – Cycles) 
  • When operating in Canada, all drivers must take at least 24-consecutive hours of off-duty time in any 14-day period. (SOR/2005-313 - Section 25 – Cycles)

Q14: Will a Canadian commercial driver be able to split their off-duty time in the sleeper berth when operating a CMV in the United States?

A14:  Yes. However, the U.S. rules require one period in the sleeper of at least 8 consecutive hours.  The other period of the split must be at least 2 hours of either sleeper or off-duty time. (49 CFR § 395.1(g))

Q15: Will a U.S. driver be able to split their off-duty time in the sleeper berth when operating a CMV in Canada?

A15: Yes, single drivers may split at least 10 hours into two periods in the sleeper provided neither period is less than 2 hours.  (SOR/2005-313 - Section 18: Splitting of Daily Off-Duty Time – Single Driver). Team drivers need only split 8 hours into the two periods provided neither of which is less than 4 hours. (SOR/2005-313 - Section 19: Splitting of Daily Off-Duty Time – Team of Drivers)

Q16: Are there HOS regulations in the United States or Canada that allow a driver to reset a maximum duty time-period?

A16: In the United States, drivers transporting property may restart their 7 or 8-day duty period if they take 34 or more consecutive hours of off-duty.  (49 CFR § 395.3(d))

  • In Canada, a driver’s duty hours may be reset to zero if:
    • they take 36-consecutive hours of off-duty if operating under Cycle 1 (SOR/2005-313 - Section 28 – Cycle Reset – Off-duty Time) or
    • they take 72-consecutive hours of off-duty if operating under Cycle 2. (SOR/2005-313 - Section 28 – Cycle Reset – Off-duty Time)

Q17: In the Canadian HOS regulations, it refers to deferral of daily off-duty time, what is it and how does it work?

A17: The Canadian HOS regulations allow a driver, who is not splitting their off-duty time in the sleeper berth, to defer having to take up to 2 hours of their daily off-duty time from one day to the following day if:

  • The off-duty time deferred is not part of the mandatory 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time;
  • The total off-duty time taken in the 2 days is at least 20-hours;
  • The off-duty time deferred is added to the 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time taken the second day;
  • The total driving time in the 2 days does not exceed 26 hours; and
  • There is a declaration in the “Remarks” section of the daily log that states that the driver is deferring off-duty time and clearly indicates whether the driver is driving under day one or day two of that time.  (SOR/2005-313 - Section 16 – Deferral of Daily Off-duty Time)

Q18: What is the conversion to statute miles for the 160-kilometer radius of the home terminal exemption in Canada, and the 100-air mile and 150-air mile exemptions in the United States?

A18: 160-kilometers equals 99.41 miles

  • 100-air miles equals 115.08 miles
  • 150-air miles equals 172.6 miles

What are some key differences between the Mexican and U.S. HOS regulations?

The following FAQs are based on regulations in effect on October 9, 2018.   On June 28, 2018, Mexico published NOM-087-SCT 2-2017 which updated Mexico’s HOS requirements for commercial drivers.  The updates to the HOS requirements take effect Aug. 28, 2018.  Additional FAQs will be added after the effective date of Mexico’s new regulations.

Q1: When operating in the United States, should a Mexican driver continue to operate under the Mexican HOS regulations?

A1: No. A Mexican commercial driver must comply with the U.S. HOS regulations (49 CFR part 395) when operating in the United States. Drivers must also ensure that they comply with the HOS rules in Mexico when they return to Mexico.   

Q2: When operating in Mexico, should a U.S. driver continue to operate under the U.S. HOS regulations?

A2: No. A U.S. commercial driver must comply with the HOS regulations in Mexico when operating in Mexico. Drivers must also ensure that they comply with the U.S. HOS rules (49 CFR part 395) when they return to the U.S.

Q3: Must a driver from Mexico have a record of duty status available for inspection when operating a CMV in the United States?

A3: Yes, a driver from Mexico is subject to the same record of duty status requirements as any other driver operating in the United States.  (49 CFR § 395.8)

Q4: What is the maximum driving time a CMV driver of property may drive in the United States?

A4: 11 hours in a 14-consecutive hour duty period after having 10-consecutive hours off duty.  (49 CFR § 395.3(a)(3))

Q5: What is the maximum driving time a CMV driver of passengers may drive in the United States?

A5: 10 hours after having taken 8-consecutive hours off duty.  (49 CFR § 395.5(a)(1))

Q6: What are the requirements for driver to have in their possession in the CMV copies of their records of duty status when driving in Mexico and the United States?

A6: A driver operating in the United States must retain in their possession and available for inspection while on duty their daily records of duty status for the current day and the previous 7 consecutive days.  (49 CFR §  395.8(k)(2))

  • A driver operating in Mexico must retain in their possession and available for inspection their previous 7-days along with the current day.  (See Reglamento de Transito en Carreteras Federales, Titulo Tercero, Capitulo II, Articulo 62 Bis.)  The motor carrier is required to prepare logbooks in print or electronic media to be shown to the competent authority and must be kept at the minimum for two years.  (See NOM-087-SCT-2-2017, Paragraph 8.5)

Q7: Are there HOS regulations in the United States or Mexico that allow a driver to reset a maximum duty time period?

A7: In the United States, drivers transporting property may restart their 7 or 8-day duty period if they take 34 or more consecutive hours of off-duty.   (49 CFR § 395.3(d))

  • In Mexico, currently there are no HOS reset provisions.

Q8: The United States has record of duty status exemptions associated to air miles.  Does Mexico have a similar exemption?

A8: No, Mexico does not have record of duty status exemptions based on air miles.

Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Submit Feedback >