UPDATED (2) -- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is working on a field test of alternatives to the current sleeper berth rule.

Last week the agency said the idea for the test emerged over a year ago when Administrator Anne Ferro called for proposals to help see if electronic logs and the latest sleep research could offer more safety and flexibility.

The National Association of Small Trucking Companies responded and now is working with the agency to plan a field operational test, the agency said.

The test will follow on earlier research that found that a split sleep schedule is preferable to consolidated sleep, although neither is as restorative as consolidated sleep at night.

The agency also said it will meet with American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on the issue.

The agency’s announcement came shortly after ATA and the Minnesota Trucking Association requested a pilot program to study the sleeper berth rules.

“It's our understanding that the agency is reviewing the ATA-MTA proposal and is also interested in working with other industry groups as part of this type of near-term research,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy regulatory affairs, in a statement.

An earlier version of this story may have given the incorrect impression that the ATA/MTA request prompted the test. That is not the case, as the timing of the agency’s initiative shows.

Updated 12/23/2013 to add reaction from ATA.



Oliver Patton

Oliver Patton

Former Washington Editor

Truck journalist 36 years, who joined Heavy Duty Trucking in 1998 and has retired. He was the trucking press’ leading authority on legislative and regulatory affairs.