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Truck Driver, HOS, trucking, hours of service, Truck Driving, ELD Compliance, sleeper berth rules, HOS Exemptions, Sleeper Berth

How to Leverage the New U.S. Sleeper Berth Rules (2020)

I have been asked about how to interpret the new U.S. Sleeper Berth Rules, so I have included for your convenience a few examples to assist you to leverage this new U.S. hours-of-service (HOS) rule.

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 two 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.

2. With the recent U.S. HOS changes, you may also use the sleeper berth to extend the 14-hour limit.

Any period in the sleeper berth that is a qualifying rest of at least 7 consecutive hours as the ‘long rest’ 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.

The requirement is that you must also take a second qualifying rest of at least 2 consecutive hours as the ‘short rest’, which also will not count as part of the 14 hours. If you meet the above requirements, you are able to extend the time during which you could use your maximum 11 hours of driving.

This qualifying ‘short rest’ can be either in or out of the sleeper berth but must be at least 2 hours long.

The total of the two qualifying rest periods did not change with this U.S. amendment and therefore continues to be a minimum of 10 hours off-duty.

It could be 7 + 3 = 10 hours.
It could be 7.5 + 2.5 = 10 hours.
It could be 7.75 + 2.25 = 10 hours.

It could be a combination of all of the above partial hours, but it must be a minimum of 10 hours of qualifying rest. It also does not matter which rest period you take first.

Let’s begin by making the assumption that you started your 'Day 1' with a fresh clock, with 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time, or you have taken a 34-hour cycle reset.

None of the four break periods in the two examples below count towards the 'Sands of the Hourglass' 14-hour driving window.

You must now look at either side of the qualifying rest periods to see if the driver has complied with the maximum 11 hours of driving and the 14-hour driving window.

Example 1 - Driver uses a 7/3 Qualifying Rest Split

Seven to three split.

Look at the time from midnight to 7 a.m. as the first active period for On-Duty-Not-Driving (ODND) and driving.

You get 1 hour of ODND from midnight to 1 a.m.

You get 6 hours of driving from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. for a total of 7 hours of ODND for the first active period.

You don’t count the first qualifying rest between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. against the 14-hour window, as this is a qualifying rest period of 3 hours of off-duty where the 'Sand of the Hourglass' valve is closed.

You then resume counting the second active period for driving an ODND from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This is 2 hours of ODND between 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., followed by 5 hours of driving between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. for a total of 7 hours of ODND for the second active period.

The total of the first active period for driving (6) + the total of the second active period for driving (5) = 11 hours of driving.

The total of the first active period for ODND (7) + the total of the second active period for ODND (7) = 14 hours of ODND.

The second qualifying ‘long rest’ period starts from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. midnight.

The total rest period is in the sleeper berth for 7 hours.

The total of the first qualifying ‘short rest’ period (3 hours off-duty) + the total of the second qualifying ‘long rest’ period (7 hours in sleeper berth) = 10 hours of total rest.

Therefore, this driver is able to legally use the example under the new HOS Sleeper Berth Rules.

Example 2 - Driver uses a 8/2 Qualifying Rest Split

Eight to two split.

You look at the time from midnight to 7 a.m. as the first active period for ODND and driving.

You get 1 hour of ODND from midnight to 1 a.m.

You then get 6 hours of driving from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. = 7 hours of ODND for the first active period.

You don’t count the off-duty between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. against the 14-hour window, as this is the first qualifying ‘short rest’ period of 2 hours of off-duty, and the 'Sands of the Hourglass' valve is closed.

You then resume counting the second active period for ODND and driving from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This is 1 hour of ODND from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., followed by 5 hours of driving from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by 1 hour of ODND from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., for a total of 7 hours of ODND for the second active period.

The total of the first active period for driving (6 hours) + the total of the second active period for driving (5 hours) = 11 hours of driving.

The total of the first active period for ODND (7 hours) + the total of the second active period for ODND (7 hours) = 14 hours of ODND.

The second qualifying ‘long rest’ period starts at 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. midnight.

The total rest period is in the sleeper berth for 8 hours.

The total of the first qualifying ‘short rest’ period (2 hours off-duty) + the total of the second qualifying ‘long rest’ period (8 hours in sleeper berth) = 10 hours of total rest.

Therefore, this is also compliant with the new U.S. HOS Sleeper Berth Rules.

This just becomes a continuing rolling clock for the driver to use, with the off-duty and sleeper berth times combined as qualifying rest periods, and with the active time before and after these qualifying rest periods to not exceed 11 hours of driving or 14 hours on-duty.

The only other calculation you have to be aware of is to make sure you take the requirement time off to comply with the 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days, depending on what cycle you are running.

This regulation is found in Section 395.1(g).

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