Fleet Management

FMCSA Seeks Comment on Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot

October 30, 2017

By David Cullen

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe
Photo: FMCSA
Photo: FMCSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now seeking public comment on its proposed pilot program to make more flexible the sleeper-berth provision within its hours-of-service rule for truck drivers.

FMCSA said the pilot program, if approved by the White House Office of Management and Budget, would “allow temporary regulatory relief from the agency's sleeper berth regulation for a limited number of commercial drivers who have a valid commercial driver's license and who regularly use a sleeper berth to accumulate their required 10 hours of non-duty work status.” 

The agency announced back in June its intention to launch the pilot. At that time, it said that during the study, participating truckers who regularly use a sleeper berth to accumulate their required 10 hours of non-duty work status would have the option to split their sleeper berth time within parameters specified by FMCSA. The agency also said that driver metrics would be collected for the duration of the study and that participants’ safety performance and fatigue levels would be analyzed.

FMCSA has pointed out that currently any interstate driver who operates a property-carrying vehicle equipped with a sleeper berth and who uses the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two, before returning to on-duty status.

By contrast, the pilot program would give participating drivers a temporary exemption from this requirement for consolidated sleeper berth time. The agency said that for study purposes, drivers would be allowed to split their sleep into no more than two sleeper berth segments.

In its Federal Register notice of its information collection request, FMCSA noted that details of the data collection plan for this pilot program are subject to change based on comments to the docket and further review by analysts and that participating drivers will drive an instrumented vehicle for up to 3 consecutive months.

At a minimum, the agency said it will gather the following data during the study:

  • Electronic logging device data, to evaluate duty hours and timing, driving hours and timing, rest breaks, off-duty time, and restart breaks.
  • Onboard monitoring system (OBMS) data, to evaluate driving behaviors, safety-critical events (or SCEs, which include crashes, near crashes, and other safety-related events), reaction time, fatigue, lane deviations, and traffic density, road curvature, and speed variability.
  • Roadside violation data (from carriers and drivers), including vehicle, duty status, hazardous materials, and cargo-related violations (contingent upon inspections).
  • Wrist actigraphy data, to evaluate total sleep time, time of day sleep was taken, sleep latency, and intermittent wakefulness.
  • Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) data, to evaluate drivers’ behavioral alertness based on reaction times.
  • Subjective sleepiness ratings, using the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale KSS to measure drivers’ perceptions of their fatigue levels.
  • Sleep logs, in which drivers will document when they are going to sleep, when they wake up, and whether they are using the sleeper berth. For split sleep days, drivers will record how and why they chose to split their sleep.

The agency added that “other information that may be needed, such as vehicle miles traveled (VMT), will also be collected through the participating carrier. Every effort will be made to reduce the burden on the carrier in collecting and reporting this data.”

FMCSA said the Office of Management and Budget must receive any comments on the agency’s proposed pilot by November 27, 2017, in order for OMB “to act quickly.”

All comments should reference Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket Number FMCSA–2016–0394.

Comments should be submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget and addressed to the attention of the Desk Officer, Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and sent either via: 1) electronic mail to [email protected] omb.eop.gov; 2) faxed to (202) 395– 6974; 3) mailed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Docket Library, Room 10102, 725 17th Street NW., Washington, DC 20503.

Related: FMCSA Proposes Split Sleeper Berth Pilot Program 


  1. 1. Joel Trent [ October 31, 2017 @ 05:47PM ]

    Returning to the old hours of service doing away with the 14 hour clock, and ELD would be a good start.

  2. 2. Jeff Rahn [ October 31, 2017 @ 06:05PM ]

    We as professionals know when we are tired and when we can drive. You really want to learn about the trucking industry and make a difference? Do away with mandatory ELD. Do a pilot program that allows us to drive when we can, sleep or rest when we feel the need. Letting us take breaks when we want also allows us to avoid rush hour traffic which makes the highways safer for all. We are adults and know when to sleep and to work just like all other citizens of this country.

  3. 3. Bill Helfrich [ October 31, 2017 @ 06:39PM ]

    I personally feel as a driver with 39 years and over 4 million accident free miles. That going back to the old 10/8 hours the roads will be a lot safer and might help the parking situation as everyone will not be racing to parking at the end of the day. I also understand that there is a lot more vehicles on the roads today but there would be a lot less half asleep truck drivers out there pushing themselves to race a 14 hour clock that is totally rediculous to start with.

  4. 4. Scott Taylor [ October 31, 2017 @ 07:39PM ]

    I've only been trucking for 20 years, but I agree with Bill Helfrich. The old 10/8 rules were better. The only good part of the current HOS is the 34hr reset. The rest of it needs scrapped. Let ELDs be optional, up to the carrier. Anyone who's been doing this for any real length of time at all knows when they're tired & it's time to sleep, just like when you're hungry it's time to eat. The old rules allowed for multiple breaks, whenever you wanted to take them, if you wanted to take them. That lack of time clock pressure let you do what felt right without being penalized by an artificially imposed (and shortened, if you take breaks during the day) work period.

  5. 5. Vincent Theel [ October 31, 2017 @ 09:15PM ]

    Allow for stoppage of the 14 hour clock.
    Allow split sleeper birth at drivers discretion.
    A lot of things can factor into fatigue.
    Weather, boring country roads and so on that have nothing to do with the amount of time you spent in the sleeper the night before.
    No driver should ever be penalized for getting rest. Period!

  6. 6. Paul [ November 04, 2017 @ 01:46PM ]

    I have no idea why they ask for input....it’s like Comey and the Hillary investigation...they already know the decision and all our input in the world is not going to change anything. The hours of service Ned to be more flexible and putting an ankle monitor (ELD) on me is just going to increase the pressure we already have. FMCSA....stop listening to the big company owned ATA and listen to the owner operators. For crying out loud, I KNOW WHEN TO SLEEP!! No black box knows better than me, get a clue!!!

  7. 7. Andy [ November 28, 2017 @ 08:34AM ]

    ELD's are not going away.....Start coming to that conclusion. Putting a comment on this page will do nothing for you. Write to the FMCSA, as it states in the article, and that might make a real difference. All the years of drivers lying on their logs have led us to the ELD mandate. All drivers need to start looking at what can be changed. Like this split sleeper. Or changing the HOS rules in all. We can all agree that 10 hours in the sleeper is not ideal. More flexibility needs to be built into the 14 hours of on duty time. Stop wasting your breath on the ELD mandate and figure out how you will work with it. Fighting change is a tougher road than adapting to it.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All