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Sleeper Berth Rules Explained For Your U.S. Property-Carrying CMV

In this article, I’d like to go in detail and explain the current sleeper berth rules with real-life examples for your 14-hour limit. There are 3 ways to get the required off-duty time.

Driver behind the wheel of a truck turning on a device.-1

Let’s start with the basics.

If you drive a truck that has a sleeper berth that meets the requirements of the safety regulations, you may use it to get the required off-duty time in three ways:

  1. You may spend time in your sleeper berth to get some, or all, of the 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time. When getting your 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time, what is most important is that you do not go on duty or drive during those 10 hours. At the end of the 10 consecutive hours of combined sleeper and/or off-duty time, your 11-hour driving and 14-hour duty-period limits would completely restart.
  1. You may also use the sleeper berth to extend the 14-hour limit. Any period in the sleeper berth of at least 8 consecutive hours does not count as part of the 14 hours and, therefore, allows you to extend the time during which you could use your maximum 11 hours of driving.
  1. You may also use the sleeper berth in a different way to get the “equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.” To do this, you must spend at least 8 consecutive hours (but less than 10 consecutive hours) in the sleeper berth. This rest period will not count as part of the 14 hours. A second, separate rest period must be at least 2 (but less than 10) consecutive hours long. This period may be spent in the sleeper berth, off duty, or sleeper berth and off duty combined. It does count as part of the 14 hours. It does not matter which rest period you take first. After you complete your second required rest period, you will have a new point on the clock from which to calculate your hours available. This new “calculation point” will be at the time you completed your first required rest period.


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Example

You come to work at 7:00 a.m. You begin driving at 10:00 a.m. and at 2:00 p.m. you spend 8 hours in your sleeper berth. At 10:00 p.m. you resume driving. Those 8 hours in the sleeper berth do not count as part of the 14 hours.

This means that you only used 7 of your 14 hours so far, and your 14-hour limit gets extended to 5:00 a.m. the next morning (original 9:00 p.m. limit plus 8 hours).

Your driving limit is still 11 hours and so far you have only driven 4 hours. That means you have 7 hours of driving time still available, allowing you to drive from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.

At 5:00 a.m. you take your second rest period, going off duty for 2 hours. That brings you to 7:00 a.m.

So let’s recap the trip so far:

Start Time

End Time

Activity

Hours Used

7:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

On duty/not driving

3

10:00 a.m.

2:00 p.m.

Driving

4

2:00 p.m.

10:00 p.m.

Sleeper berth

8

10:00 p.m.

5:00 a.m.

Driving

7

5:00 a.m.

7:00 a.m.

Off duty

2

 

How much time do you have available now under the 14-hour rule?

Since you met the requirement of getting the equivalent of 10 hours off duty in two periods (2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m.), you now have a new calculation point for figuring your 11 and 14 hours. Your new calculation point is at the end of the first rest period, which was at 10:00 p.m. Your new 14-hour period begins at 10:00 p.m. and ends 14 hours later, at noon the following day. During that new 14-hour period you are allowed 11 hours of driving.

From 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. you used 9 of the 14 “new” driving window hours and 7 of the 11 hours of driving time. Therefore, you now have 5 hours of driving-window time available during which you are allowed to drive 4 hours.

Because your 14-hour driving window ends at 12:00 noon that day, before you can drive a commercial motor vehicle again after 12:00 noon, you must have another rest period in the sleeper berth of at least 8 consecutive hours (if you are using the sleeper-berth exception). After that you must again recalculate how many hours you will have available. Your new calculation point will be the end of the 2-hour off-duty period you took earlier (7:00 a.m.).

Remember that you are allowed to do non-driving work after the 14-hour limit is reached, just no more truck driving (but the additional on-duty time would count toward your weekly 60- or 70-hour limit).

Each time you take one of the two required rest periods, you will need to recalculate the on-duty and driving hours available. You could continue using the sleeper-berth regulation and recalculating your hours available until you have 10 consecutive hours off duty. After 10 consecutive hours off duty, you have 11 hours of driving time and a 14 consecutive-hour driving window available again.

This regulation is found in Section 395.1(g).

Get Flexible With BigRoad

Our DashLink ELD takes the guesswork out the split sleeper berth provision. It allows drivers to easily switch into sleeper berth status and automatically records their available on-duty time. Learn more by requesting a demo below!

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