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How many miles do truckers drive a day on average?

A Schneider Driver Instructor behind the wheel of a semi-truck.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

Truck driving is synonymous with long stretches of road and many hours behind the wheel. But exactly how many miles do truckers drive a day? Keep reading to find out. 

What is the average number of miles driven by a truck driver per day? 

On average, truckers drive around 400-600 miles a day. That being said, a driver’s miles vary drastically based on what type of driving job they have. 

Local drivers drive in a smaller area, such as a city or a state, and get home every day. Because of this, they can expect to be on the lower end of that 400-600-mile range. Local drivers spend much more time driving in cities and tend to have more stops along their route, resulting in fewer miles covered and less overall time on the road. 

These drivers cover large areas of the country and are often out on the road for days or weeks at a time. These drivers can expect to be on the upper end of the 400-600-mile range. Regional and OTR drivers spend most of their time on the interstate and often have fewer stops to make, meaning they typically rack up more miles each day. 

The freight drivers' haul can also impact how many miles they drive per day. With a job that typically requires manual loading and unloading, such as tanker, flatbed and some dedicated roles, drivers will naturally spend less of the day on the road and more time on their feet.  

What determines the limit of how many miles truckers drive a day? 

While there isn’t a specific limit on the miles a trucker can drive a day, the number of hours they can drive is determined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.  

The main HOS regulations to know are: 

  • 11-hour rule: Drivers cannot drive more than 11 hours following 10 hours of off-duty time.
  • 14-hour rule: Drivers cannot drive after reaching the 14th consecutive hour following 10 hours of off-duty time, regardless of the composition of those 14 hours.
  • 30-minute break rule: If more than eight hours of driving time have passed without a 30-minute interruption in driving status, drivers must take a 30-minute break from driving.

You can learn more about these rules with our complete guide to HOS regulations. 

What else can impact how many miles truck drivers drive a day? 

Based on Hours of Service rules, drivers can drive up to 11 hours per day. However, 11 hours of uninterrupted highway driving just isn’t realistic for any driver.  

A day in the life of a truck driver consists of a lot more than just driving. During the course of a day, drivers also spend time: 

  • Taking breaks.

Some of these tasks only take 10 minutes to complete, while others, such as loading and unloading, can take up hours of a driver's day. 

It’s also important to remember that a trucker’s driving isn’t all done on the interstate. Even OTR drivers spend time on roads with slower speed limits to get to their destination.  

Even while on the interstate, truckers often deal with delays during their drives that impact their speed and how many miles they travel. Common delays are due to: 

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Schneider Guy loves the "Big Orange." He's passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He's been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he's excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through "A Slice of Orange."

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