Does the 34-Restart Rule Even Exist?!


34 hour restart ruleWild rumors have been swirling around the trucking industry after it was revealed that the bill which rolled back the restrictions on the 34-hour restart provisions may have put the restart rule itself in jeopardy.

The Truckload Carrier’s Association (TCA) reports that since the clause which governs the restart provisions in the FAST Act “contains no language to direct our industry on a restart provision, then there is no restart provision to abide by…”

This has set off alarm bells all over the industry, and the American Trucking Associations, TCA, and multiple other trade groups are sending out notifications to their members about the possible impact, but most are urging carriers not to change the way they do business since the oversight will more than likely be fixed before the lack of an ‘official’ restart provision can become an issue.

Regardless of the probable fix, industry groups like the ATA are still taking action to make sure that truck drivers across the nation don’t risk losing the ability to use a 34-hour break to ‘restart’ their week.

According to the ATA, the issue came to their attention when members of Congress informed them that DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx was interpreting the highway bill language “in a troubling way.”

The bill states that the DOT cannot reinstate the previously suspended provisions to the restart rule unless their study into the impacts of those provisions show “statistically significant improvement in all outcomes related to safety, operator fatigue, driver health and longevity, and work schedules,” then the rules cannot go into effect.

We previously thought the bill meant that if that happens, the old restart rule provisions would still apply, allowing drivers to take a 34-hour break to reset their work week. Instead, the bill might actually mean that if the new provisions don’t go into effect then, as the TCA puts it, “there is no restart to abide by.”

It should be noted that many public safety advocacy groups have wanted to do away with the 34-hour rule entirely, limiting truckers to a certain number of hours of driving based off of a calendar week rather than off a week of work.

According to Overdrive on Tuesday, ATA Press Secretary Sean McNally said:

“The glitch in the legislative language has the potential to put this safety rule [the restart itself] at risk. ATA is both disappointed and troubled by this development, and is working with key members of Congress to address the problem to ensure that the trucking industry can continue to deliver America’s goods safely and efficiently.”


Source: truckinginfo, fleetowner, overdrive, overdrive, ccj, ttnews

Image Source: pixabay

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37 comments. Add a comment.

      • says

        The point of the article, supported by quotes and citations from multiple sources of legal analysis, is that no one knows. It’s tied up neat and pretty with a bow on top for you in paragraph 2:
        The Truckload Carrier’s Association (TCA) reports that since the clause which governs the restart provisions in the FAST Act “contains no language to direct our industry on a restart provision, then there is no restart provision to abide by…”

        Snark less, read more.

  1. Ross Chapin says

    Being able to reset for 34 (canada 36) hours means we, the drivers, get a “weekend” to have a game of golf, enjoy the family if we are home, go fishing, work that hobby etc. A lot of freight traditionally moves over a weekend, meaning being away from home. Our “weekend” becomes our restart. Another whip to the back if we loose our required free time, which most of the drivers manage quite well now, to their advantage.

  2. Steve says

    No offense to all the morons in the DOT, but they don’t have to enforce a lack of a 34 hour restart. They can look at logs or e logs and say, yeah that looks ok, or, you need a break. They don’t have to enforce every idiotic rule. Well, unless of course there’s revenue to be made.

    • Rob says

      Rules are the only things the dot can go by. They can’t just make up their own. That’s the problem wih this country. Everyone thinks they are above the law. I personally believe the government needs to get their nose out of a lot of things that have nothing to do with highway safety like the half hour break but dot have only the rules to go by. If 34hr restart is no longer there, they cannot allow it and we have to work off of 70hr/eight day all the time until it’s a rule again. 34hr restart makes so much more sense though.

  3. James says

    Either way it’s the only way to get your full 70 back. Not sure what they are talking about. You either run on a recap or do a reset. There’s no need to limit us on 1 reset per calendar week though. 34 hours off are 34 hours off whether you do it once a week or 3 times during a week. You can still contact your safety department and have them switch which reset you want to go by as long as you aren’t breaking any other rules.

  4. Becka says

    I agree with James. We have thought the exact same thing. If you take 34 hours off, you’re rested from seeing the road, rested from the demands of the job and just plain, rested. That alone, is good for the driver and the industry. It is additional safety. When our company said you can not do two resets a week (which we asked about bcuz we had to sit that long waiting on a messed up load) we were upset we couldn’t use it. We had a rest on hometime, but before the seven days was up, we were sitting. We thought it would be nice to ‘refill’ our hours. But they said its not allowed. We thought, 34 hours off is 34 off. If it’s about safety, how can they say that it’s unsafe to rest more?

  5. Becka says

    By the way, we are not teams. My husband drives and Im studying to be a diesel mechanic. I spend a lot of time on the road with him. So in my post when I say we, its only one driver. Thought I should mention we aren’t team drivers.

  6. No means no says

    Ok….. So how does this affect the Tracy Morgan/Walmart crash or does it? Also, if you’re getting back enough hours where is the need for the 34 hr restart. If you want to take it do so, if not keep rolling.
    Are we to understand this rule cannot be enforced now?

  7. John says

    What? you mean we are supposed to get a 34 hour break when? Take it from a driver, the problem, is not with the drivers, they want to make money but not in the face of danger, Shippers and recievers are the main problem. When a driver has to sit for several hours waiting to get loaded or unloaded, that time has to be made up somewhere. We dont get paid to sit, and trying to sleep while a forklift is driving in and out of your trailer is almost impossible, or waiting for someone to come banging on your door to tell you its your turn to load, or they are finished or your paperwork is ready. I dont know any driver that has actually had 32 hours off, away from their truck with no responsibilities. it get swallowed up elsewhere, so whats the use of having a rule?

  8. Will says

    Matbe we should all just take a week off. at the same time, while they try to pull their heads out. I bet public pressure would get us a nice clear rule before the week was out.

  9. Matt Wayer says

    To make it easier for all involved they should eliminate the hours of service regulations as they are,PERIOD!!
    They should give a set amount of miles we can drive per day with a 10hr break afterwards,and a 50mi parking buffer.
    They should also give so many miles per a 7day week to drive,with a 34hr break after,and a 50mile parking buffer.
    This would be fair across the board,and be easy for both the driver,and DOT to keep track of.

  10. Andrey says

    As a Canadian driver makes no sense to me the 34 hour reset. A work day for “regular workers” is mostly 8 or 12 hours. Which fits nicely into a 24 hour day. The 34 hour reset pushes you back 2 hours every time you use it. At any point that you take a reset in Canada of 36 hours, you’re reset for another 70 hour cycle. What am I missing? I don’t think time is on the metric or US system. Our work shift is maximum 13 hrs driving, 1 hour on duty not driving, with 10 hrs off duty, 2 hrs of which can be used throughout the work cycle in .05 hour increments or greater to be counted as such. 15 minute breaks do not count towards off duty hours. A solid 8 hrs off duty must be completed. I find the American rules very confusing. I’ll keep trucking north of the border, have fun trucking south of the border boys and, good luck!

  11. EZmule says

    It would not have helped Tracy. The driver did not rest when he was off. There only needs to be one law. That’s already a law. Don’t drive fatigued. There are countless drivers who wreck because of fatigue, that are running legally. No rule or law can make sure that a driver doesn’t drive fatigued or make sure that he/she gets enough rest.

  12. Infosaur says

    Only thing stranger than this revision is how this article reports it.

    As a weekday driver does this mean I must now roll over my previous weeks? Constantly?

    Wait a minute, with out a restart how can we ever get hours? Work for 70 hours then take 8 DAYS off?!?

    Ah well, it’s not like DOT will ever see my logbooks anyway. Their doing SUCH a good job making sure drivers are fluent in English (somebody cite the rule here)

  13. Anon says

    Can we just get rid of the 70 hour rule? Causes me way more headaches and time spent twiddling thumbs than its worth. Who even cares? Im sure they will just keep adding obscurities to justify themselves, just like the DEA raising concern about stoned dogs. In a few decades they wont need human drivers anymore anyways.

  14. Steve says

    How about we all join together, say to hell with the DOT, and be a self-policing organization? Without us, America shuts down. Plain and simple. Let’s see what happens when we come together and chart our own way. We can start by overruling the DOT. Simply make them a null and void organization. Then turn our focus on our own. Clean out the riff raff. Get the no-English speaking drivers off our roads. Change the way kids are allowed to enter into our arena. Make it mandatory that they spend 2 years over the road with an elder to make sure they understand our hierarchy, and they learn and agree to abide by our self governing rules concerning driver courtesy.

  15. JP says

    Make a pull over a sleep law.. This DOT system is only in place to keep the big shots in there high paying jobs.. Make rules for Four Wheelers make more sense.. Its all BS

  16. Steven Evans says

    My opinion freight doesn’t move or pay worth a crap so drivers are getting plenty of rest. BUT of course some ppl will use this like a bug up the kiester. However hours of service is not the problem. The problem is freight rate and all the greedy ppl who have their hands business taking all the money out of it. Shops are expensive. Parts are expensive. Fuel prices unstable but getting better. The bottom line is the mark up of everything in this industry even the snacks and meals are high. Now all those restaurants w/ the dollor menus, tst please. Their high too and unhealthy. Then you give drivers a hard time about their weight. That’s another story it self. All these rules is nothing more than another political stunt for votes. Anyway, their not going to stop messing us around until drivers fight back.

  17. Keith says

    If the idea of “public safety” and “safety of the driver” are truly the driving goal of the hours of service regulations – the original reset rule was (and is) good legislation. The original 14 hour rule was also good legislation as it allowed an extension of 2 to 4 hours if logged as a “nap” in the sleeper berth. The idea that 11 hours of driving must be completed in that 14 hour window forces many drivers to push when a 2 hour nap would be far safer to finish that last 100 mile stretch. It would be nice if they understood the trucker life before they tried to legislate it.

    • J.d says

      Yes we should but that cannot happen by us drivers if anyone has the power to do that it would be the truck company owners. And they are all to greedy and to busy kissing the governments butt so they can keep getting there money for putting people to work

  18. Lawrence Neuser says

    Here is something a little off the beaten path, they should require any large motorhome to run electronic logs. Since electronic logs requires no paper it should be easy. Some motorhome owners drive too many hours. Commercial drivers should not be the only ones held accountable in keeping roads safe.

  19. Dave says

    They need to go back to the 10 an 8 rule it was better and drivers could take breaks whenever they needed. It was much safer on the roads without idiots trying to push out 11 hours straight because the law doesn’t provide time out for a nap or just to stretch. We had freedom to be actual drivers instead of the government trying to make us robots.

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