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New Split Sleeper Berth Rule

The sleeping area regulation is a hours of service rule that dictates how commercial vehicle drivers can use their free time, including how they can divide that time and how breaks relate to other duty and driving time regulations. This may explain – at least in part – why regulators and technology experts are hearing that the new 7/3 split is slow to take hold in the trucking industry. Even on Internet forums, where truckers complain about their topics of the day, questions about the 7/3 split are common. The ATA`s petition died after the agency said it lacked the data to maintain a new rule, and some sleep studies have shown that drivers need at least seven hours of sleep to be fresh. In 2020, the FMCSA changed this rule with one of the changes related to an order called the Sleeping Place Determination. Today, 70% of new trucks have berths, according to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). Drivers can use these berths to sleep when not behind the wheel so they can return to the road rested. Under the new rules, drivers can divide berth time in several ways, such as 8/2, 7/3 and 7.5/2.5. The only requirement for the way they do it is that both pieces must be at least 10 hours.

These numbers apply only to carriers; Passenger airlines must continue to adhere to an 8/2 split. Drivers can divide sleep time into two periods, provided that no period is less than two hours: this article gives an overview of the specifics of the sleep place rule and how it works in practice. Drivers who choose to use split berths must spend at least eight hours in the berth and can divide the berth time into two periods, provided neither lasts less than two hours: However, the survey also showed that drivers and companies have not yet fundamentally changed their schedules to take full advantage of the 7/3 splits. Lee said. Is your fleet navigating through the FMCSA COVID-19 HOS emergency suspension? Read our FAQ to find out what the new rules are, if they apply to your fleet, and how you can adapt your operations to stay compliant. Or learn more about the FMCSA Final Hours of Service Rule, released on May 14, 2020. “On the plus side, the new division gives drivers more flexibility when they are stuck. Now they can enjoy the shorter time spent in the bunk and now they can actually stop their watch when they turn around and take a place to sleep. The reason for all this confusion? This is largely due to a change introduced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to the determination of the sleeping place – the divided berth rule.

This rule, which allows a driver to extend a period of duty by splitting the 10 consecutive hours of rest prescribed by the sleeping seat layout, is complicated because it affects some of the ways in which hours of operation rules generally work. In addition, split berth time continues to be a manual process for drivers, although many other aspects of HOS have been automated to make it easier to use. You can also use the sleeping area in other ways to get “the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours of rest.” To do this, you need to spend at least 8 consecutive hours (but less than 10 consecutive hours) in the bunk. This rest period does not count within 14 hours. A second separate rest period must be at least 2 (but less than 10) consecutive hours. This period may be spent in the berth, outside the place of service or sleeping and outside the combined service. It counts as part of the 14 hours. It doesn`t matter which rest period you take first. After completing your second required rest period, you will have a new point on the watch from which you can calculate your available hours.

This new “calculation point” is located at the time you have completed your first required rest period. Neither the 5/5 split period nor the 6/4 split period would count towards the driver`s 14-hour driving window, the FMCSA said. Both breaks can be taken in any order, and when the 2/8 hour period and the 8/10 hour period are over, the 14-hour driving window is restarted from the end of the first tilting shift of the sleeping car, but only after the end of the second shift.