The U.S. Dept. of Transportation announced a “Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program”. This allows truckers to split their off-duty sleeper berth time as they choose.
According to the The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) notice, 240 participating drivers will be “allowed to use any combination of split sleeper periods, totaling 10 hours.” This replaces the 10-hour block or 8/2 split under current Hours of Service regulations. Using this control group, the agency will gather information from ELDs, monitoring systems like video recorders, and roadside inspections, as well as other tests designed to test the wakefulness of the truck driver, such as wrist actigraphy (a method of monitoring rest/activity cycles) and psychomotor vigilance tests (measures how fast a person reacts to a visual stimulus like a blinking light).
Drivers record subjective sleepiness ratings in their sleep logs.
Then, the agency uses the information to determine if the change is safe to roll out on a larger scale. In addition, the FMCSA opened the proposal for public comments and many drivers chimed in with support.
“Been a driver for over 40 years now. Up until the latest changes, I used those kinds of splits for sleep and or a nap to miss rush hour traffic,” trucker Mark D said of the study. “This is definitely a step in the right direction. Currently the HOS rules penalize a driver for taking a break during the day. The ability to split the sleeper berth advocates for the driver to break when he/she needs the rest. This avoids the penalty of losing work time.” truck driver Michael Gehl commented.”