Hours of Service

What is the 34-Hour Restart Rule?

The 34-hour restart rule is part of the larger federal Hours of Service rules that apply to property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.  

This post explains the 34-hour restart rule, why it matters, and how it could benefit commercial drivers and motor carriers.

The 34-hour restart rule

The 34-hour restart rule allows CMV drivers to restart (or reset) their weekly work clock after taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.  

There are two weekly work clocks that CMV drivers could work under — 60 hours in any 7-day period, or 70 hours in any 8-day period. Based on its operations, the carrier decides which work clock applies to its drivers. After reaching that amount of work time (60 or 70 hours), the driver may not drive.   

When a driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty (one day plus an additional 10 hours), it resets their weekly work clock to zero hours.  As a result, the driver starts his/her next workweek with a fresh 60 or 70 hours of available work time.

What is the purpose of the 34-hour restart rule?

The purpose of this rule is to provide drivers with the option of taking a lengthy period of off-duty time during, or at the end of, a workweek.  This allows drivers to address cumulative fatigue that builds up over the course of several working days.  

The rule provides two benefits:

  • It helps to reduce a driver’s cumulative fatigue, and
  • It resets the weekly work clock allowing drivers to be as productive as possible during the next workweek.

Is the 34-hour restart rule mandatory?

No, the 34-hour restart rule is purely optional. It is not mandatory.  

The rule is just one way a driver and his/her motor carrier can manage driver fatigue and Hours of Service compliance.  

Depending on the operations of the company and a driver’s preference, the use of the 34-hour restart rule may be the best way for a driver to reset his/her weekly work clock and get back to driving quickly.

Must the 34-hour restart be taken at the driver’s home?

No, the 34-hour restart rule does not specify where the lengthy off-duty period must occur.

A driver can take 34 or more consecutive hours off-duty in any location he/she chooses (at home, at a hotel while on the road, in a sleeper berth, at a friend’s house, etc.).