Using the Split Sleeper Berth Provision on Your ELD
Calculating the Sleeper Berth Provision (SBP), most widely recognized as the “split sleeper” rule, has always been a challenge for many drivers. With ELDs getting more sophisticated and the recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service rule changes, many drivers are realizing that they either have been calculating the SBP incorrectly, or that they just do not fully understand how their electronic logging device calculates the time remaining in their 14-hour shift time when they are applying the rule.
Since EROAD works diligently to help both drivers and motor carriers in understanding how the FMCSA regulations work with our technology and compliance solutions, we thought it would be useful to review some things that a driver should consider when using the split sleeper rule (SBP) on EROAD’s ELD.
Sleeper Berth Provision Timing
To use the SBP, a driver must take a break of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth (SB), plus a shorter break of at least 2 consecutive hours, either in the SB, off duty, PC-off duty, or any combination of those, as long as both periods equal at least ten hours.
They can take the shorter 2+ hour break in any off-duty status combination before taking the longer 7+ hour break in the SB. However, doing so means this break will not stop the 14-hour shift timer on the ELD – at first*. These hours will be counted on the ELD as part of the driver’s 14-hour shift time until the driver has taken the longer 2nd break of at least 7 consecutive hours in the SB.
(*Note: If the driver gets pulled over before they have initiated or completed the 2nd break, roadside safety officials are supposed to give the driver the benefit of the doubt and add that 1st break period back to the driver’s 14-hour shift time. It is suggested that the driver always use the remarks section on their ELD to add “SBP break 1, SBP break 2”, etc. to help enforcement understand which part of the SBP cycle they are currently in.)
If they take the longer SB break of at least 7 consecutive hours first, the ELD will give that time back by adjusting the 14-hour shift timer on the ELD, even though the 2nd shorter break hasn’t yet been taken. If the driver does not follow up and complete their SBP cycle with the shorter break, (both breaks must equal at least 10 hours), that time spent in the SB that was given back will now be subtracted from the driver’s 14-hour shift time, potentially putting them at risk for several HOS violations.
The driver will still need to track their drive time both before and after their SBP cycle breaks to ensure they do not exceed their drive hours as well as their total shift time as the 14-hour shift calculation point will constantly be changing depending on how many total on-duty hours they have and what part of the SBP cycle they are in.
How the EROAD ELD calculates the Split Sleeper Berth
The most important thing to do for drivers to help them truly start understanding how to use the SBP on their ELD is to first train them on the new SBP rule. The FMCSA has created great new training documents for drivers.
After they have completed SBP rule training, next step is to get them to understand how their ELD calculates their 14-hour shift time.
Main points to focus on for training:
- EROAD’s ELD automatically calculates the SBP (cannot be turned off).
- Driver’s 14-hour shift timer may change and they may not understand why.
- If the longer break in the SB is taken first, the driver will see that time added back to their 14-hour shift timer before they have completed the SBP cycle.
- Make sure drivers know when to take the 2nd shorter break.
- If the shorter break is taken first, the driver will not see that time added back to their 14-hour shift timer until they have completed at least 7 hours in the SB (both breaks must add up to at least 10 hours).
- Train drivers to use the remarks on their ELD to mark SBP break 1, SBP break2, etc. to let enforcement know they are using the SBP so they get credit for the break.
- Drivers must track their drive time before and after their breaks.
- Drivers should know how to view the graph grid log and also how to email their logs to themselves in case they need to review and/or edit their logs.
All in all, with proper training and a little bit of patience, utilizing the SBP should be a much simpler undertaking with the added assistance ELDs provide. Reviewing the SBP and how it works on the driver’s ELD will be a win-win for everyone involved and should not only increase the use of this very helpful HOS rule, but also decrease the number of HOS violations from it being used incorrectly.
Safety & Compliance Manager
Susan is responsible for the development and execution of EROAD's robust training program in the U.S. With over 10 years’ experience in the regulatory environment, Susan brings knowledge from both carrier and driver perspectives. Susan’s main objective is bridging the gap between customers, product developers, enforcement and regulators to ensure compliance and safety is achieved quickly, easily and with lasting results.