Driver

Driving and Off-Duty Time

Heavy vehicle drivers are required to comply with the requirements concerning driving and off-duty time and enter the information in a daily log.

What you should know

The rules governing driving time, on-duty time and off-duty time allow drivers of heavy vehiclesA road vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 4,500 kg or more, or a combination of road vehicles having a gross combination weight rating of 4,500 kg or more. The following vehicles are also considered to be heavy vehicles regardless of their GVWR: buses, minibuses, tow trucks, vehicles transporting dangerous substances requiring the display of safety marks. to have a minimum number of hours of rest before getting back on the road and to abide by the maximum number of hours of driving time.

Drivers who are tired pose a higher risk for their own safety and that of other road users.

Abiding by the hours of drivingThe period of time during which a driver operates a heavy vehicle while the engine is running. and off-duty timeAny period of time other than a driver's hours of service. reduces the risk of driver fatigue.

Vehicles covered

Drivers must comply with the rules governing driving time and off-duty time if they drive one of the following vehicles:

  • a road vehicle with a gross vehicle weight ratingA vehicle’s weight, including its maximum load capacity, according to the manufacturer’s specifications. (GVWR) of 4,500 kg or more:
    • trucks
    • road tractors
    • equipment transport vehicles (e.g. a crane mounted on a truck chassis)
  • combinations of road vehicles consisting of at least one vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 4,500 kg or more
  • tow trucks
  • vehicles transporting dangerous substances requiring the display of safety marks

Buses and minibuses

Drivers of buses or minibuses (other than those used for urban transit) must abide by the rules governing driving time and off-duty time, as thoses vehicles are considered heavy vehicles.

Exempted vehicles

Drivers and operators of the following heavy vehicles are exempted from the regulatory requirements governing hours of driving and off-duty time.

Heavy vehicles used for personal purposes

A heavy vehicle used for an entire day by an individual for personal purposes (other than commercial or professional ones). Examples:

  • a vehicle weighing 4,500 kg or more (pickup truck, recreational vehicle) that is used solely for personal purposes
  • a vehicle weighing 4,500 or more used for personal purposes for an entire day on Saturdays and Sundays (will be exempted on those days only)

A heavy vehicle used during part of the day by an individual for personal purposes (other than commercial or professional ones) is exempted for the first 75 kilometres travelled in a day, where the following conditions have been met:

  • the vehicle has been unloaded and trailers have been unhitched
  • the driver has recorded in the daily log the odometer reading at the beginning and at the end of the use of the vehicle that is used for personal purposes
  • the driver is not the subject of an out-of-service order

For instance, in the case of a driver who leaves the home terminal (establishment) at the wheel of a road tractor to return home, this driving time is considered to be off-duty for the first 75 kilometres travelled.

If the distance exceeds 75 kilometres, the time to cover this additional distance will be deemed driving hours.

Emergency vehicles

Examples of emergency vehicles:

  • ambulance
  • fire department road vehicle
  • response vehicle

A heavy vehicle used when required by an emergency service or in the event of a disaster

Tool vehicle

A road vehicle, other than a vehicle mounted on a truck chassis, manufactured to perform work, the work station of which is an integral part of the driver’s cab. Examples of tool vehicles:

  • grader
  • road roller
  • fork lift
  • back loader

Farm tractor and farm machinery

The farm tractorA tractor equipped with tires that is usually used for farm purposes, may or may not be authorized for road use and belongs to a person or corporation that owns or leases a farm and has farming as its primary occupation or is a member of an association certified under the Farm Producers Act. and farm machinery may be owned by:

  • a farmerA person holding a registration card for an agricultural operation issued by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec, or a person who is a member of an association certified under the Farm Producers Act.
  • a person other than a farmer who uses these vehicles solely for personal purposes

Farm trailer

The farm trailerA trailer with a net weight of 2,300 kg or less owned by a farmer and used primarily to carry farm produce or the equipment required to produce it. must be owned by a farmerA person holding a registration card for an agricultural operation issued by the Ministère de l'Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l'Alimentation du Québec, or a person who is a member of an association certified under the Farm Producers Act..

Bus or minibus used for urban transit

For the vehicle to be exempted, urban transit must be provided by a public transit corporation or under a contract with a public transit body, an inter-municipal commission or board, a municipality or group of municipalities.

Combination of road vehicles where each vehicle has a GVWR of less than 4,500 kg

The combination of vehicles is exempted, except for a vehicle combination transporting dangerous substances requiring the display of safety marks.

Vehicle with a GVWR of less than 4,500 kg transporting dangerous substances

To be exempted, the vehicle must not require the display of safety marks, and cannot be a minibus or a tow truck.

Straight-body truck with 2 or 3 axles

The truck must be used to transport the primary products of a farm, forest or fishery, if the operator of the truck is the producer of the products. For example, this person could be a potato grower who makes deliveries.

This exemption also applies to a vehicle that is used to return to a producer’s place of business; in which case the vehicle must be unladen or must only be carrying goods that go into operating the farm, forest or fishery.

Rules to obey

When planning a schedule, a driver must comply with several requirements.

14 previous days

A driver must have taken at least 24 hours of off-duty time during the preceding 14 days.

Cycles

A driver may choose to calculate his or her hours of driving and off-duty time based on a cycle of:

  • 7 consecutive days (called cycle 1)
  • 14 consecutive days (called cycle 2) Driving prohibition based on cycle

Driving prohibition based on cycle

Cycle 1 (7 days) Cycle 2 (14 days)

No driving is allowed after the driver has accumulated 70 hours of on-duty time over a period of 7 consecutive days.

No driving is allowed after the driver has accumulated:

  • 120 hours of on-duty time over a period of 14 consecutive days
  • OR
  • 70 hours of on-duty time without having taken at least 24 consecutive hours of off-duty time

Changing a cycle or reset to zero

To reset a current cycle, to begin a new one or to switch cycles, the driver must take:

  • at least 36 consecutive hours of off-duty time if he or she is following cycle 1
  • at least 72 consecutive hours of off-duty time if he or she is following cycle 2

After having taken this off-duty time, the driver begins a new cycle. The cycle is therefore reset to zero and the hours of on-duty time begin to accumulate again.

Work shift

A work shift is the time between 2 periods of at least 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time.

No driving is allowed if…

  • 13 hours of driving time have accumulated since the end of the most recent period of 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time
  • 14 hours of on-duty time have accumulated since the end of the most recent period of 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time
  • 16 hours have elapsed since the end of the most recent period of 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time

Day

A day is a period of 24 hours that begins at the time designated by the operator.

Daily requirements No driving is allowed after…

A driver must take at least 10 hours of off-duty time in a day as follows:

  • At least 2 of these 10 hours are not part of the required 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
  • These 2 hours may be split up into breaks of not less than 30 minutes.
  • 13 hours of driving have accumulated
  • 14 hours of on-duty time have accumulated

Special situations

Consult the publication entitled Driving and Off-Duty Time for Heavy Vehicle Drivers (PDF, 1.3 MB) to learn about the rules to follow in the event of:

  • daily hours of off-duty time are deferred
  • the splitting of daily hours of off-duty time in a sleeper berth
  • an emergency situation
  • poor driving conditions
  • travel on a ferry
  • troubleshooting
  • winter road maintenance

Daily log

A driver must fill out a daily log listing all hours of driving, on-duty time other than driving, and off-duty time.

The starting time of the log is also the beginning of the day.

Drivers who meet all of the following conditions are not required to fill out a daily log:

  • they operate within a 160 km radius of their home terminal
  • they return to their home terminal each day to take at least 8 hours of off-duty time
  • the vehicle they are driving is not covered by a permit for exemption from the hours of driving and off-duty time
  • the operator that employs the driver fills out registers (detailed or short)

Keeping the daily log and other documents

If the driver fills out a daily log, the following documents must be kept in the vehicle:

  • a copy of the daily logs from the 14 previous days
  • the daily log for the current day, completed up to the time of the last change of duty status
  • documents related to the trip, for example, fuel receipts, bills of lading and delivery receipts.

Transfer of documents

The driver has 20 days to submit the following documents to the operator:

  • the original copy of the duly completed daily log
  • supporting documents