2020 has thrown a lot of challenges – hurricanes, forest fires, protests, and let’s not forget that nasty virus that happens to be going around.

What’s the latest challenge? FMCSA’s newly revised Split Sleeper Berth Provision (SBP) rule.

First off, the old SBP hours of service rule was confusing enough – drivers could break up the 10-hour required rest period into 2 separate periods of 8 and 2 hours, excluding only the longer 8 hours in the sleeper berth (SB) period from the 14-hour shift time. The challenge for drivers was trying to figure out when their 14-hour shift time reset as they got the longer SB time “added back”.

Enter the new SBP rule, unleashed by FMCSA onto the trucking industry on September 29, 2020:

Sleeper Berth Provision – Modifies the SB exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7 hours of that period in the berth combined with a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside the berth, provided the two periods total at least 10 hours. When used together as specified, neither qualify period counts against the 14-hour driving window.  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-of-service


Challenges with the new SBP rule:

  • Drivers must figure out how much time they get back from the shorter off-duty /SB period as well as the longer period as both are now “added back” to their 14-hour shift time.
  • If the shorter break is taken first and the driver has not completed the 2nd longer break, the driver has to understand that the shorter break may still show on the 14-hour shift time until it has been paired up with the longer break in the SB.
  • If the driver takes a 10-hour break in the SB, that time can now be used as part of a SBP cycle, which adds multiple different combinations that were previously unavailable.


Making SBP work for your fleet

Drivers can use the compliance counters on their ELD to assist them in understanding their 14-hour shift time/re-calculation point. If the counters are confusing, drivers can always use the graph grid view of their logs as the counters are not required per the ELD Mandate.

EROAD’s ELD uses the same logic as FMCSA’s eRODS and will not “add back” the shorter break time until the longer 2nd break period in the SB has been completed. Drivers can rest assured that enforcement has also been trained on this logic, giving the driver the benefit of the doubt when they are in the process of completing a SBP cycle, even when the shorter break has been taken first.

Those short breaks that used to be a waste of time can now be paired with not only up to but even over 10-hours in the SB. Having more split combination options available should offer drivers a lot more opportunity to get proper rest and down-time while not sacrificing their schedule, pocketbook or safety.

Overall, as long as drivers are well trained on the new SBP rule and have their routes planned effectively, they should get more flexibility throughout their day. The key is to navigate the art of the SBP!


To learn more about the split sleeper berth provision watch our deep dive webinar with CVSA: https://www.eroad.com/resource/understanding-the-most-challenging-new-hos-rules/

The Art of the Split Sleeper Berth Rule

by | Oct 20, 2020 | ,

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