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Sleeper Pilot Program on Track for 2016

October 28, 2014

By Oliver Patton

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Should a driver have to spend a full eight hours at a time in the sleeper? Photo: Peterbilt
Should a driver have to spend a full eight hours at a time in the sleeper? Photo: Peterbilt

It will take another year to launch a pilot program to see if drivers can safely split their sleeper berth rest time.

The contract to conduct the 90-day study will be let in December, but the project will have to be cleared by the Office of Management and Budget, and the administrative preparations will take at least until January 2016, said Martin Walker, chief of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s research division.

The agency is undertaking the pilot at the request of carriers and drivers who want more flexible sleeper rules.

The current rule says drivers who use the sleeper berth must take at least eight consecutive hours in it, plus two separate consecutive hours either in the berth, off duty or any combination of the two.

American Trucking Associations and other industry groups have been pressing the agency to make the rule more flexible, and in response the agency started work on the pilot program about a year ago.

Walker, in remarks Monday to the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee in Alexandria, Va., said the study aims to test the premise that greater flexibility will reduce driver fatigue.

The agency wants to collect data on 200 drivers.

The sample will be divided among carrier size and types of operations. It will include 50 small carriers with up to 50 trucks, 50 medium carriers with up to 500 trucks and 50 large carriers. It also will include 25 owner-operators and 25 team drivers, Walker said.

The agency will work with industry groups to solicit and screen drivers through a website. Drivers who are accepted will be trained in the North American Fatigue Management Program, which teaches the science of fatigue, treatment of sleep disorders and driver wellness.

Once the program is under way, drivers will be monitored and data will be collected through a variety of automated technologies.

Their driving behavior will be tracked through onboard monitoring systems, including electronic logs. They also will complete a psychomotor vigilance test twice a day, and will wear actigraph watches to track sleep patterns, heart rate and physical activity.

Other data will include the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, roadside violations, crashes and surveys to gather driver opinions.

“The point is to find a way to give drivers more flexibility if possible,” Walker said.

Comments

  1. 1. Cliff Downing [ October 29, 2014 @ 04:56AM ]

    Amazing. We split sleepers for over 70 years and now they need a study to see if it is feasible again. Always another way for government to blow the taxpayer dollar. While it is argued, drivers were more unsafe in the past doing such things, it is rarely taken into account that trucks themselves were not as safe as they are today. When you factor out the advancements in technology put into trucks for safety, split sleeper berth more than likely is barely a blip on the radar of safety.

  2. 2. Jeff [ October 29, 2014 @ 08:35AM ]

    Cliff while I agree with most of what you said, I think the point is to lighten up the criteria as it is now and go back to, hopefully, the way it use to be, i.e. the 5 and 5. Which worked well for solo's and teams. This or something like it is needed to offer the driver flexibility. Likewise I hope that from all of this research will allow the driver to take a break at shipper/recv'rs and not count against his 14 hour clock. Now, we have seen how the feds do with studies, not a very good scorecard,

  3. 3. Jeff [ October 29, 2014 @ 08:40AM ]

    Cliff while I agree with most of what you said, I think the point is to lighten up the criteria as it is now and go back to, hopefully, the way it use to be, i.e. the 5 and 5. Which worked well for solo's and teams. This or something like it is needed to offer the driver flexibility. Likewise I hope that from all of this research will allow the driver to take a break at shipper/receivers and not count against his 14 hour clock. Now, we have seen how the feds do with studies, not a very good scorecard,

  4. 4. shawn moore [ October 29, 2014 @ 03:02PM ]

    look- quit regulating every possible situation to stop -or slow down crashes... all you gotta do - is come up with with shuttle sytem in every state for drivers to drop or pick up instead of running so many states- or stop this logging crap ---give us the load and when its gotta be there and let us do our job in our own way, to stop the crashes and fatigue, and things you all come up with - doesn't make sence... a lot of problems I see is cars texting and driven, which causes many problems on the road. this ban to text and drive is a joke- I see sate troopers do the same.. yet they do what they want anyways- speeding etc. but I say just quit regulating every thing- obvisiously not one of you all drive truck, but your quick to come up with a fix. so many said in few words, but what you all come up with aint fixing the problem, just makes our job harder.. and that e log deal- why would you want a driver race against the computer clock... makes bad choices... and this govern speed to 55 to 68 mph, lets just cause more bad choices when one gotta pace 20 plus trucks that cannt do speed limit... come on- go drive truck for a few years. then youll see what is. you wont see this sitting in a office.

 

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