Today’s Pickup: FMCSA to run split-sleeper pilot

Kenworth sleeper

Good day.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a pilot program on truck driver split-sleeper berth time and hot it affects driver safety performance and fatigue.

Under the proposal, published in the Federal Register today, FMCSA seeks 200 participants for the program, which would begin following a 60-day comment period. The study would last for three months. Truckers would have the opportunity to split their 10 hours of non-duty work status under FMCSA parameters.

Driver data, safety performance and fatigue would be analyzed. Drivers can split their sleeper berth time in two segments.

“Current regulations allow drivers to use one 10-hour period, or splits of nine and one hours or eight and two hours,” said FMCSA. “Drivers operating under the exemption for this study would be allowed to use any combination of split sleeper periods, totaling 10 hours, with neither period being less than three hours, allowing for the driver to use splits of three and seven hours, four and six hours, or two five-hour periods.”

Daily rest requirements will still need to be met. FMCSA is also looking for information on whether the data collection is burdensome for carriers and drivers and how the data collection efforts should differ for team drivers.

Did you know?

During the 72-hour International Roadcheck, which began today, an average of 15 trucks or buses will be inspected every minute in North America.


“For 30 years, inspectors have been removing unsafe drivers, vehicles and motor carriers from our roadways, and acknowledging safe vehicles with the application of a CVSA decal to vehicles that pass a roadside safety inspection.”

- Julius Debuschewitz, CVSA president

In other news:

Entry-level driver training goes live

An oft-delayed rule that specifics what type of training new truck drivers should undergo has finally gone into effect. (Transport Topics)

How do you value the largest truck makers?

Truck manufacturers, such as Daimler Trucks, could have a lot of value to shareholders. But many are part of a larger company. Could that change as investors seek new opportunities? (Wall Street Journal)

Mergers and acquisitions picking up

The last year has seen a rise in the number of mergers and acquisitions among transportation providers, and it is being driven by a positive outlook for future. (Heavy Duty Trucking)

Freight matching slowing down

The Uber-for-freight concept might be a hot social media topic, but the growth on freight matching services has slowed. (Fleet Owner)

Insurance holding truckers back

Rising insurance payouts are causing a significant rise in insurance premiums, and that is hurting small and independent truckers, who are finding it harder to locate affordable policies. (

Final Thoughts

FMCSA’s split sleeper berth pilot program is long overdue. Evidence suggests that forcing drivers to drive when they are tired only creates a bigger safety hazard. Allowing drivers to sleep when they need it would, presumably, result in more rested drivers and safer roads. This program will hopefully determine whether that is true.

Hammer down everyone!


Brian Straight

Brian Straight has covered the U.S. trucking and transportation community for more than 10 years, winning numerous regional and national editorial awards, including a Jesse. H. Neal Award. Prior to working on FreightWaves, Brian spent 10 years at industry trade magazine Fleet Owner, and prior to that managed daily newspaper editorial operations.