July 1, 2015

The how, when, and why of using the 34-hour restart rule vs. the recapture rule may be crystal clear to you. If so, this “refresher” is not for you. However, with the July 1st Hours of Service rules changes now in effect, it seemed like a perfect time to confirm what has and to answer the question “when is the 34-hour restart mandatory?”

Starting fresh with the 34-hour restart rule

Whether you’re operating on a 60/7 or 70/8, the 34-hour restart resets your weekly hours.

To do that, you must be off-duty for a minimum 34-hours—and to qualify, your restart must include two 1AM – 5AM rest periods. Additionally, you may only use it once every 168 hours from the beginning of your last restart.

Want to take advantage of the 34-hour restart rule? Then, that off-duty stretch must include two 1AM-5AM periods.

When you’ve successfully completed your 34-hour restart, you can then spring back into action on your now new Day 1. Meaning, you no longer need to factor in the on-duty hours you logged during the previous seven or eight days.

Remember, while the 34-hour restart rule allows you to reset your weekly hours—you’re not required to use it.

You can also regain those critical on-duty hours using a recap.

Regaining hours with the recapture rule

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario…

Chuck Norriz hauls freight for a national martial arts supplier, and he must adhere to the 70-hour/8-day rule. That means he can’t exceed 70 hours of on-duty time in eight consecutive days, including today.

Let’s say he drove just under 10 hours a day for seven days in a row, and let’s say he logged a total of 69 on-duty hours of his available 70 in that time frame.

When midnight rolls around, the hours he logged on Day 1 drop off—we’ll say 9-1/2 hours—and he recaptures them. He can then add those newly recaptured hours to the one unused hour from the day before.

That means he now has a total of 10-1/2 available on-duty hours to get that new supply of black belts to martial arts retailers along the west coast.

The only thing that can stop Chuck Norriz? Chuck Norriz. Well, that and HOS rules.

What does all of this mean for you?

If you (or your dispatcher) are master planners, you may go months before you have to take a 34-hour restart. In fact, if you’re really good, you may never need to use it.

Like we said, the 34-hour restart isn’t mandatory.

It’s simply a tool you can use if the recap won’t give you enough hours and you need to front-load time for the days ahead.