On January 14, 2021, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced they will be exploring further flexibility for drivers’ hours of service (HOS) by evaluating 6/4 and 5/5 sleeper berth split options in a newly proposed pilot program.

“Gathering more data on split-sleeper flexibility will benefit all CMV stakeholders.”

– FMCSA Deputy Administrator, Wiley Deck

Read the Agency’s notice of the pilot program here.


Background on the Split Sleeper Berth Pilot Program

The idea for a pilot program to study split sleeper berth is not new. In 2013, the American Trucking Associations and Minnesota Trucking Associations jointly proposed establishing a split sleeper berth pilot program, but FMCSA decided not to pursue this during the HOS Notice of Proposed Rule Making phase to see if they could receive data on 6/4 or 5/5 flexible sleeper usage during the process. Without seeing any data or studies submitted during the process, FMCSA has decided to move forward to evaluate impacts to drivers of providing further split sleeper flexibility.

Key aspects of the Split Sleeper Berth Pilot Program
  • Purpose of the pilot is to examine whether the regulatory flexibility related to additional split sleeper berth (e.g. 6/4 and 5/5) could improve driver rest and alertness.
  • Study group of drivers expected to be between 200 and 400 and come from small, medium and large carriers, as well as team drivers and owner operators. Drivers must be equipped with a sleeper berth, have a valid CDL and medical certificate. Drivers must also agree to the study procedures and data collection outlined below.
  • Carriers must also meet eligibility criteria, grant permission for drivers to participate in the pilot program and agree to comply with the pilot procedures and data collection.
  • Duration to comprise of a baseline period of 90 days using the current HOS regulations followed by a period of at least 6 to 12 months to collect data from driver participants operating under a temporary exemption from current HOS and allowed to split time as 6/4 and 5/5.
  • Pilot program data collection includes FMCSA providing systems and devices to participants for:
    • Driver record of duty status
    • Video-based monitoring system
    • Roadside violations data
    • Wrist actigraphy data to evaluate sleep and wake times
    • Psychomotor vigilance test data for driver’s behavioral alertness based on reaction times
    • Subjective sleep ratings to measure driver fatigue levels
    • Driver sleep logs
What actions can you take?
  • Decide if you want to participate by reviewing the eligibility criteria for the carriers and drivers. If you operate a fleet of drivers using split sleeper berth, then gauge interest from your drivers to see if they are interested in participating in the pilot program. Direct participation may help you understand how the added flexibility may impact your business and allow you to advocate for the changes you want to see with the split sleeper berth rule.
  • Provide comments to FMCSA when the notice of the pilot program is posted on the federal register. You’ll have 60 days to provide your comments about the pilot program and provide responses to the list of questions FMCSA asks.

Soona Lee

Director, Regulatory Compliance - North America
Soona Lee is responsible for understanding regulatory context and policies and technical requirements and translating them for development of the company's suite of compliance products.

More articles by Soona | About her 

Things to know about FMCSAs proposed Split Sleeper Berth Pilot Program

by | Jan 20, 2021 | ,

Share This