Instead of conducting a costly pilot program to investigate the safety of drivers who split their sleeper berth time, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) has stated they have enough data to support a proposed rule that allows drivers the flexibility to split the 10 hours they spend in the sleeper berth in ways they prefer.
The agency reports the 5,200 comments they received on the 2018 HOS advanced notice of proposed rule making represented “substantive and detailed responses.”
The current regulation requires drivers using the sleeper berth to take a minimum of eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, and an additional two separate hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of the two.
Daniel Horvath of ATA (American Trucking Associations) said, “There is data out there that shows a person generally needs seven to eight hours of sleep to be well-rested and non-fatigued. So, if any of those periods are less than that, FMCSA has got to have good data to justify that what they’re putting forward is legit and safe.”
Horvath added, “Having said all that, I think split sleeper is probably the biggest area where FMCSA can add flexibility without flat-out changing the 14-hour clock. If you allow a driver to use the sleeper berth for rest periods, I think that’s where the most flexibility can lie.”