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FMCSA 34 Hour Restart Rule-Your Guide to Understanding

Date of publish: 02/24/2022
Author: Katie Dobrogorskaya

34 Hour Restart Rule Guidelines

In July 2013, the FMCSA implemented the 34-hour reset guidelines for drivers to maintain safety standards throughout a 60-70 hour workweek. Over time, these guidelines have changed. The last significant change occurred in 2015 when the FMCSA altered two rules. Previously, drivers were required only to allow one 34-hour reset for every 168 hours. A 34-hour reset can occur anytime in the middle of the workweek, as long as the 34 hour period contains two segments between 1 am and 5 am. 

What is the 34 Hour Restart?

The 34-hour reset rule follows the guidelines set in place by the FMCSA with the Hours-of-Service regulations. Many drivers need to reset their 60-70 hour clock quickly, and following the 34-hour reset rule is the quickest way to do just that. This rule allows drivers to take their 34 hour time period in the sleeper berth and off-duty. 

Is the 34-hour restart mandatory?

While the 34-hour reset rule is the recommended guideline for a safe driver reset, it is not mandatory. The required rest period for drivers is wholly based upon employer requirements. 

How to avoid a 34-hour restart?

There are three primary exceptions to the 34-hour reset. These three exceptions do not count towards a driver’s HOS logs. Understanding how to record driver hours correctly will help employers determine when a 34-hour reset is necessary for drivers. The three primary exclusions from driver’s HOS logs are Personal Conveyance, Short-Haul Drives, and Yard Moves. 

Personal Conveyance is considered an off-duty time for drivers. Personal Conveyance is utilized when drivers are using company vehicles for personal transportation. While the drive time will still be recorded, it will not contribute to the HOS and count in determining if a 34-hour break is required. 

Short-Haul drives include any drives happening within a 100 air-mile radius. Drivers that stay within the 100-mile radius may be eligible to track hours rather than miles, meaning they are not required to follow the HOS regulations. 

Yard moves are one of the driving categories the FMCSA has outlined as an exemption from the HOS rules. If drivers are moving vehicles to a different location within the yard or job site, this drive time does not contribute to the hours logged and won’t impact a driver’s available work time. 

Can you use personal Conveyance during a 34-hour restart?

Personal Conveyance is considered “off-duty” time for drivers. Due to this classification, any time spent logged under personal Conveyance can be counted during the 34-hour restart. 

How to do a 34-hour restart:

Drivers must utilize their ELD to maintain accurate records of all driving codes to determine when a 34-hour reset may be necessary. The 34-hour reset does not have to take place at a driver’s home, as many believe; instead, it can take place anywhere that is convenient. Within the required off-duty and sleeper-berth times, two periods must be logged between 1 am, and 5 am. 

How often do you have to do a 34-hour restart?

According to the Hours-of-Services guidelines established by the FMCSA, a driver may not work for more than 60/70 hours in a 7 or 8-day time span. This guideline is in addition to the 14-hour driving limit after ten consecutive hours off-duty. Once a driver reaches the 60/70 hour mark, a 34-hour reset must take place to restart the workweek.

34 Hour restart example:

If a driver follows the 60/70 hour rule and works the allowed 14 hours for five straight days, the driver will have been on duty for the allowed 70 hours and not drive again until after the consecutive eight-day period. However, if the carrier company will enable drivers to utilize the 34-hour restart provision, the driver’s time clock would automatically reset to 0 after taking the 34 hours of required off time. Each time a driver completes a 34-hour restart, their 7 or 8 day week begins again. 

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