FMCSA wants to analyze additional split sleeper options

January 14, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a pilot program that will evaluate split sleeper options of 6/4 and 5/5.

Doing so, the agency would be looking at the possibility of providing truck drivers more flexibility within the hours-of-service regulations. In September, a final rule went into effect that provided additional flexibility in four areas. Among the changes, the final rule allowed a split sleeper option of 7/3.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had pushed for options of 6/4 and 5/5 to be included in the changes, but FMCSA decided not to move forward without data supporting the additional split.

Now, FMCSA plans to start a pilot program that could acquire that data.

“FMCSA continues to explore ways to provide flexibility for drivers, while maintaining safety on our roadways,” FMCSA acting Administrator Wiley Deck said in a news release. “This proposed pilot program will provide needed data and feedback for the agency to use now and in the future. Gathering more data on split-sleeper flexibility will benefit all commercial motor vehicle stakeholders. We encourage everyone to review this proposal and provide their public comments.”

As part of the pilot program, participating drivers would have the option to split their 10 hours of sleeper berth time into two periods, provided that the two periods provide a combined rest amount of at least 10 hours in length. When operating under the pilot program exemption, drivers would be expected to split their sleeper berth time into two periods such that neither period would be less than four hours. However, drivers would be free to choose whether or not to operate under the exemption based on their schedule. Interested carriers and drivers would be asked to apply to FMCSA for acceptance in the pilot program.

The notice is expected to publish in the Federal Register soon. Once it does, the public will have 60 days to comment. LL

TBS

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.