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FMCSA proposes pilot program to flex CMV drivers’ sleeper berth splits

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Photo: Grafissimo /iStockphoto

Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing a pilot program that would allow certain commercial motor vehicle drivers to split sleeper berth time while still complying with hours-of-service regulations, according to a notice published in the June 6 Federal Register.

For the program, CMV drivers who regularly use a sleeper berth would be allowed to divide their 10 hours of off-duty time into two separate sleeper berth splits of no less than three hours.

Current rules direct CMV drivers to “take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate period of 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two, before returning to on-duty status.”

FMCSA is seeking about 200 drivers who are at least 21 years old to participate in the pilot program study for up to 90 days. The agency said it intends to determine the effects of splits on drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles.

“The pilot program would also collect driver identification details and data on sleep, safety-critical events (SCEs), subjective sleepiness ratings, and behavioral alertness,” the notice states. In addition, drivers would be required to complete alertness tests at predetermined intervals.

Comments on the pilot program are due Aug. 7.

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