Hours of service
This section provides an overview of the basic rules. All the details of the hours-of-service requirements are contained in the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario Regulation 555/06.
The hours-of-service regulations apply to drivers of the following types of vehicles:
- Commercial motor vehicles having gross weight or registered gross weight over 4,500 kilograms
- Buses, school buses and school-purposes buses
Exemptions to hours-of-service regulations
Drivers of the following types of vehicles are not required to comply with the hours-of-service regulations:
- Commercial motor vehicles, other than buses, having gross weight or registered gross weight of not more than 4,500 kilograms
- Commercial motor vehicles leased for no longer than 30 days by an individual
- Commercial motor vehicles, operated under dealer or service permits, that are not transporting passengers or goods
- Commercial motor vehicles operated under the authority of In-Transit permits
- Two- or three-axle commercial motor vehicles transporting primary farm, forest, sea or lake products
- Pick-up trucks, being used for personal purposes, which have a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of 6,000 kilograms or less
- Tow trucks
- Motor homes
- Municipal buses operated as part of a public transit service
- Buses used for personal purposes without compensation
- Vehicles being used by a police officers
- Cardiac-arrest vehicles
- Vehicles engaged in providing relief in emergencies
- Ambulances, fire apparatus, hearses or casket wagons
The rules define four categories of duty time for commercial vehicle drivers:
- Off-duty time, other than time spent in a sleeper berth
- Off-duty time spent in a sleeper berth
- On-duty time spent driving
- On-duty time, other than time spent driving
On-duty activities include driving, as well as performing any other activities for the operator, such as: inspecting, cleaning or repairing your vehicle; travelling as a co-driver (not including when in sleeper berth); loading and unloading the vehicle; waiting at inspections for unloading or loading to be completed; or because of an unforeseen occurrence such as an accident.
These four categories are used to determine the minimum off-duty hours required and the maximum on-duty hours allowed for commercial vehicle drivers.
- Daily requirement
footnote 1Some exceptions apply; refer to Ontario Regulation 555/06
- A driver must have 10 hours off-duty in a day.
- A driver cannot drive more than 13 hours in a day.
- A driver cannot drive after 14 hours on-duty in a day.
- Mandatory off-duty time
- After a period of at least eight hours off-duty, a driver cannot drive more than 13 hours.
- After a period of at least eight hours off-duty, a driver cannot drive after having been on-duty for 14 hours.
- After a period of at least eight hours off-duty, a driver cannot drive after 16 hours has elapsed.
- Cycle requirement
- An operator shall designate a cycle for the driver to follow.
- There are two cycles available, a seven-day cycle or a 14-day cycle.
- In a period of seven consecutive days, a driver cannot drive after having been on-duty for 70 hours.
- In a period of 14 consecutive days, a driver cannot drive after having been on-duty for 120 hours. Drivers following this cycle shall not drive after accumulating 70 hours on-duty without having taken 24 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
- On any day, all drivers must have a period of at least 24 consecutive hours off-duty in the preceding 14 days.
- Cycle reset/switching
- A driver may only switch the cycle they are on if they start a new cycle.
- To start a new cycle, a driver on the seven-day cycle must take 36 consecutive hours off-duty.
- To start a new cycle, a driver on the 14-day cycle must take 72 consecutive hours off-duty.
- Daily log requirement
A daily log may be handwritten, computer-generated or made by means of a recording device. The daily log must contain the following information:
- The driver’s name
- The date
- The name of the driver’s co-drivers, if any
- The start time of the day being recorded, if the day does not start at midnight
- The cycle that the driver is following
- The odometer reading at the start of the day
- The number plate of each commercial motor vehicle to be driven and each trailer
- The name of the operator
- The address of the driver’s home terminal and of the principal place of business of the operator
- Graph grid as illustrated in Form 1 of the regulation (not required for Recording Device)
- The start and end times for each duty status during the day
- The location where the driver’s duty status changes
- The total time spent in each duty status during the day
- The odometer reading at the end of the day
- The total distance driven by the driver
- The driver’s signature
Daily log exemption
A driver is not required to keep a daily log if the driver:
- Drives the commercial motor vehicle solely within a radius of 160 kilometres of the location at which the driver starts the day
- Returns at the end of the day to the same location from which he or she started
- Only works for one operator that day
If a driver is not required to keep a daily log, the operator shall keep a record for the day showing:
- The date, driver’s name and the location where the driver starts and ends the day
- The cycle that the driver is following
- The hour at which each duty status starts and ends
- The total number of hours spent in each duty status
These rules will help keep Ontario’s roads safe by allowing commercial drivers to get the rest they need in order to safely operate their vehicles. For more details about the hours-of-service requirements, visit the MTO website at www.mto.gov.on.ca, or refer to the Highway Traffic Act at www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.
By the end of this chapter, you should know:
- The concept of defensive driving
- How to steer in forward, reverse and while turning
- The meaning of “off-track” and where to position your vehicle on the road
- The importance of sharing the road with other road users especially small vehicles, farm machinery, cyclists and pedestrians
- The concept of right-of-way and common situations where you must yield to other road users
- The rules for hours of service
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