Many truck drivers fail to acknowledge how to use the split sleeper provision to their advantage. It is designed to make them more productive and safer drivers on the highways. When first introduced it gave drivers the option to split their driving hours into periods of 2 and 8 hours each.
On June 1, 2020, the FMCSA added a new adjustment to the split sleeper rule. Now truckers have the option to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods of 2 or more hours, and 7 or more hours in the sleeper. The latter period must be at least seven hours of rest. The shorter period must be off duty and may be spent shopping, preparing a meal, or calling home for example. When combined, the 2 periods must add up to at least 10 hours and restart a driver’s 14 hours on duty day. That means a driver can then start a new shift of driving to reach a pickup or delivery, making him or her more efficient and satisfying customers.
Long periods of driving contribute to driver fatigue that may result in deadly crashes. Breaking up those long drives using the split sleeper rule works to save lives and reduce liability expenses for truck owners and fleets. It makes good sense when properly applied and results in increased savings by avoiding Hours of Service (HOS) violations. It can be effectively used to break up a driver’s day by taking a chunk out of the drudgery of driving all day long.
If a driver is pulled in for a roadside inspection having had only a single off duty period, the driver would qualify for the split sleeper rule and if all other findings are good, should not be cited. The off-duty periods can be taken in any order as long as they add up to 10 hours or more for the shifts. This works well for long haul drivers when route planning and scheduling.
Splitting the sleeper berth rule enables a driver to plan their trip more effectively and to arrive at planned destinations in a timely fashion. For drivers who work in team operations, it can work very well if both drivers use the same split schedules.
The split sleeper option is something that all drivers need to get their heads around. It is an extremely progressive idea from the FMCSA and can benefit truck drivers and other traffic on the highways with increased safety. Use it to make your trips more effective and make your days pleasant. Let it make your career more enjoyable and satisfying. Motor on safely with the split sleeper rule.