Fleet Safety

A Guide to the 34-Hour Reset Rule

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The ELD mandate has been rolling out since 2012, with it taking full effect in 2019. However, it is a highly complex mandate, and many fleets still struggle with certain parts of it. However, it is crucial to fully understand the ELD mandate, as non-compliance can result in hefty fines and high CSA scores that hurt your fleet’s reputation in the community. One aspect of the ELD mandate that confuses many fleets is the 34-hour reset rule. We will explain this rule in full detail and break down what it means for managers and drivers alike. 

What is the 34-Hour Reset Rule? 

The 34-hour reset rule took effect in 2017 along with the rest of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s updated HOS regulations. It is a way that drivers can reset the workweek if they are getting close to their maximum number of hours allowed for their ‘On Duty’ or ‘Driving’ statuses. Remember that there are four HOS statuses possible: 

  • Off Duty: When the driver isn’t working. 
  • Sleeper Berth: When the driver is resting in the vehicle. 
  • On Duty: When the driver is doing something other than driving but is still working. This can include fueling, unloading, or inspecting. 
  • Driving: When the driver is driving. 

The driver can only have 70 hours in eight days or 60 hours in seven days of ‘On Duty’ or ‘Driving’ status. When drivers are nearing this limit, they can “reset” their workweek by taking a 34-hour break while in “Off-Duty” or “Sleeper Berth” status. Once 34 hours have elapsed in one of these statuses, they can resume working. 

The FMCSA chose 34 hours because it provides enough time for drivers to rest but still provides flexibility for trucking companies. This rule is not mandatory, but it is simply a way for managers to easily handle driver hours and drivers to get their breaks in. Not following the 34-hour reset protocol is not a violation of FMCSA guidelines. 

Where and When Can Drivers Take 34-Hour Breaks?

Drivers do not need to take their 34-hour breaks at home. In fact, for long-haul truckers, this is simply not possible. Drivers can take their breaks wherever they want, as long as they log them using the time zone of their home terminal. This means if your home base is in California, even if you take a break in Texas, you must log it in California time. 

The only additional provision applies to sleeper berth breaks. If a driver chooses to use a sleeper berth for their 34-hour break, they must use at least eight hours of their break in sleeper-berth. This does not have to be eight consecutive hours, but they do have to use eight hours overall. They are free to use the remaining 26 hours however they like. 

Changes to the 34-Hour Reset Rule

If you haven’t been keeping up with this rule, you may not be aware of the changes that have taken place since it was initially introduced in 2013. The 2013 version had two provisions that no longer apply: 

  • The 34-hour period must contain two periods between 1 A.M. and 5 A.M. to be valid. 
  • A driver is only allowed on 34-hour restart every 168 hours. 

After the Department of Transportation studied these provisions in practice, they found that they did not offer much benefit and decided to remove them. 

Start Using the 34-Hour Reset Rule with Azuga!

The 34-hour reset rule is a great tool for managing hours while keeping up with FMCSA regulations. Drivers can easily track their time from their Azuga apps on their phones and see how long they’ve been on duty and when it’s time to take a break. Managers can ensure that drivers follow the rule at the click of a button and easily follow up if they see any discrepancies. It’s vital to ensure compliance and to ensure that drivers get plenty of rest and time off of the road to refresh and re-energize. Make sure your drivers are staying safe with Azuga today!