Sleeper berth rules could be changing in the future. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) is launching a pilot program to allow partcipating drivers more flexbility in how they use the sleeper berth provision. Read more to find out what they plan to study and how the results could affect your drivers.
What The Proposed Changes Are
Landline Magazine reports that the FMCSA is looking to recruit 200 drivers to partcipate in a pilot program that would allow drivers to split their sleeper berth time. Partcipating drivers would be able to split the sleeper berth provision in any way, as long as there was no split shorter than 3 hours. As noted by Landline, this means drivers could potentially split their time into 7 and 3 hours, 4 and 6 hours, or 5 and 5 hours. In addition, Go By Truck reports that partcipants will be a part of the study for 90 days.
What does this mean for your drivers? If the results of the study show a decrease in fatigued driving in the partcipants, it's likely the FMCSA will change their current sleeper berth rules. This means your drivers could eventually have more flexbility in choosing how they split and use the sleeper berth provision. This would be beneficial to drivers looking to bypass unfavourable driving conditions by going on their break.
Why Consider the Change?
The FMCSA conducted a study in 2010 and 2011 comparing different sleep conditions: consolidated nighttime sleep, consolidated daytime sleep, and split-sleep. Study results revealed that split-sleep was better for drivers than consolidated daytime sleep as the daytime sleep actually resulted in less overall sleep. The FMCSA also notes that they are considering the change because drivers have requested more flexbility with the hours than the current sleeper berth provision allows.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Currently, drivers can use the sleeper berth provision to reset their hours if they take all 10 hours at once. Alternatively, drivers can spend 8 hours in the sleeper berth to extend their drive time and on-duty time, as the time spent in the berth doesn't count towards to the 14-hour limit.
Lastly, drivers can also split the required 10 hours into two. The FMCSA states: "Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two."
In other words, drivers can only spilt their sleeper berth time into two periods, with one of the splits being at least 8 hours long. This is the split the FMCSA might change. Currently, the provision leaves drivers with limited flexibility in how they can take their break, potentially causing drivers to take their breaks at inconvenient times. Please note this applies to property-carrying drivers. Passenger-carrying drivers have a little more flexibility with the sleeper berth provison as they are able to split the time into two periods as long as none of the splits are shorter than two hours.
See Drive Time in a Glance
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