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Commercial Driver Overtime Violations

Working as a commercial driver in Ohio comes with a unique set of employment rules and regulations. Your employer must abide by special laws, including various exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that apply to commercial drivers. If you have reason to suspect that your employer is violating overtime laws that apply to you, consult with an unpaid overtime attorney about how to protect your legal rights.

What Are the Federal Laws Regarding Commercial Driver Overtime?

Overtime refers to working more than 40 hours in a single workweek. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to pay time and a half, meaning 1.5 times the amount a worker typically gets paid in an hour for every hour worked over 40 hours in a week. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Some employers are exempt from traditional overtime laws. Many commercial truck drivers, for instance, fall under the Federal Motor Carrier Exemption. This provision states that certain people who are employed by motor carriers (as defined in 49 U.S.C. Section 13102), including drivers, are exempt from overtime pay requirements.

Under this exemption, employees who are considered motor carriers or drivers are not entitled to overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in one workweek. The rationale behind this is that the common carrier industry often requires irregular hours and long-distance travel, which can make it difficult to properly track overtime pay and compensate truck drivers.

Can an Employer Require a Commercial Driver to Work Overtime?

Yes, a company can require its commercial drivers to work overtime as part of the job. However, this is subject to certain limitations and regulations under federal law. For example, there is an hours-of-service rule enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

This rule prohibits the following:

  • Driving more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty for property-carrying drivers, or 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off-duty for passenger-carrying drivers.
  • Driving beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on-duty following 10 consecutive hours off-duty (property-carrying drivers), or the 15th consecutive hour following 8 consecutive hours off-duty (passenger-carrying drivers).
  • Driving more than 60 or 70 hours within 7 or 8 consecutive days.

In addition, commercial drivers are required to adhere to special sleeper birth provisions and take 30-minute driving breaks after they have driven for 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute break. As long as employers adhere to these federal regulations, they can require commercial drivers to work overtime, including on weekends.

What to Do if You Suspect an Overtime Violation as a Commercial Driver in Ohio

Trucking companies and other employers in Ohio do not have to pay commercial drivers 150 percent of their typical hourly wages for overtime hours worked if the worker qualifies as an exemption, such as drivers who transport cargo across state lines and drivers of vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 lbs.  

It is important to realize, however, that not all commercial drivers are exempt from overtime pay requirements. The exemption only applies to commercial drivers who meet the specific criteria outlined by the Department of Transportation and the FLSA. If your employer is legally required to pay you overtime but has not done so, contact a wage and hour attorney in Ohio for a free case evaluation.