FMCSA Drops Split Sleeper Berth Pilot Program


Transport Topics --- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has dropped its plans for a 12-month split sleeper berth pilot program designed to collect real-world data on the safety of drivers who split their sleeper berth time in a variety of ways.

The agency has said it has enough data and research to support consideration of a proposed rule that could give drivers the flexibility to split the 10 hours they spend in the sleeper berth in the manner they prefer, within limits.

The agency’s current regulation requires drivers using the sleeper berth provision to take at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty or any combination of the two.

FMCSA said the more than 5,200 comments it received in response to last year’s hours-of-service advanced notice of proposed rulemaking represented “substantive and detailed responses.” The agency said that recent research indicates that the total amount of sleep in a 24-hour period is more important than accumulating sleep in just one period for mitigating fatigue. FMCSA-sponsored laboratory studies also have shown benefits from splitting sleep.