The 34-hour reset is an important rule regulating the work of commercial truck drivers. As part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules, this reset dictates how many hours drivers must rest to be eligible to drive. It’s goal is to help ensure that workers are properly recovered and refreshed, enabling them to resume driving with full alertness.
The 34-hour reset for truck drivers is important to safety. Recent Lytx data shows that the most prevalent risky driving behavior is “late responses,” which can be correlated with sleep deprivation. Understanding exactly how it works is important as the regulation has undergone many recent changes and modifications. To help you learn about the hours on service (HOS) reset, let’s look at some of its most critical aspects.
What is the 34-hour reset rule?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates how long drivers can work, drive, and be on-duty during a day and week. Before you can understand the DOT 34-hour restart rule, you need to understand the 60/70-hour rule.
60/70-hour rule: Drivers may not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
The truck driver 34-hour reset is a way for drivers to reset their workweek and 60/70 hour clock by taking 34 consecutive hours off work, either spent off-duty or in the sleeper berth. After the 34-hour break, their weekly driving limit resets, allowing them to log driving hours without considering the hours before the reset.
The number may seem arbitrary, but it’s based on scientific research that shows drivers can take 34 hours to fully recharge. The goal of this reset is to reduce the number of fatigue-related fatalities on the road.
Where can drivers take this break?
Is the 34-hour reset mandatory? No, it’s voluntary. That being said, the 34-reset law helps regulate time off, as well as clearly establishes how the driver might qualify for the reset.
During a trip, drivers can either be:
- On-duty performing non-driving tasks
- Resting in their sleeper berth
These four activities are known as the four HOS statuses. It’s important to know which of these activities count toward the HOS reset.
The rule is designed to give drivers the required rest needed and the option of resetting their workweek clock to Day One, so they can begin driving again. For hours to qualify toward the 34-hour reset, drivers must spend them either off-duty or resting in their sleeper berth.
Provisions and updates
The rule was initially passed as a provision to hours of service rules in 2013, but Congress suspended the 34-hour restart rule in the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
These two 2013 provisions were eliminated:
- First, that the 34-hour reset must include two time periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m..
- Second, only one 34-hour reset is allowed in a 168-hour time frame (to limit the number of uses of the 34-hour reset, DOT originally instituted this law).
Technology to support and enforce the 34-hour reset
Using an ELD, 34-hour reset guidelines can be enforced since all driver activity is logged automatically. Having the right equipment and services, such as Lytx’s DOT compliance solutions, removes the hassle and friction of accurately logging hours.
Lytx’s compliance solutions integrate with the industry's top ELD providers, allowing you to track and audit all driver logs and supporting documents, regardless of format. Fleets can compile any type of file, from all providers, into a single platform. Within 24-48 hours of receiving your HOS data, it will be processed, audited, and submitted into your compliance dashboard. You can view data by specific regions, locations, terminals, fleet managers, and drivers. All logs are stored for the required six-month period and the system automatically updates to help you stay compliant, even as regulations change.
In addition to helping you stay compliant with regulations like the 34-hour reset and making logging hours much simpler, our solutions also give you a better understanding of your overall risk. Lytx’s driver safety solutions provide fleets with the information they need to decrease unsafe driving habits (such as drowsiness, distractedness, etc.) that tie to fatigue.
Who must follow the reset rule?
The 34-hour reset is not mandatory. As long as drivers comply with the other regulations, such as the 11-hour rule, 14-hour rule, and the 70-hour rule, they are not required to take 34 hours off at any time. For example, the 70-hour calculation is a rolling 8 days, so as hours drop off, the driver can work up to that amount.
However, the rule was put in place to make drivers’ lives easier, while allowing companies to better plan their employees’ work schedules.
With the help of the 34-hour reset, drivers can restart the driving cycle as necessary, while also getting the rest required to avoid putting themselves at risk.
Exceptions to the reset
Like most HOS regulations, there are exceptions to the 34-hour reset rule. For instance, if a driver uses the vehicle for personal conveyance, the logged time won’t count toward HOS as long as that time does not include the driver in on-duty status.
In short, if you’re nearing your 70-hour limit, or want to start a new cycle, you need to stop driving or performing on-duty activities to begin the clock reset.
Why choose Lytx
The 34-hour reset is a useful way to reset the driving cycle and comply with the DOT regulations. To make tracking hours easier, having the right services is essential.