The 8/2 Split Sleeper and the Future of Hours Flexibility

- Since the electronic logging device rule when into effect, it has highlighted another problem that many truck drivers simply “managed”; that is the lack of flexibility, especially when it concerns delays at shipper locations. But the ELD rule has generated renewed focus on areas of FMCSA regulations where change could occur, and on solutions already on the books to help with additional flexibility. One area of potential change that many are pushing for is in the 14-hour clock, which effectively caps any workday at 14 hours, regardless of how many hours a driver spent on the road or sitting at a shipper waiting.
That change will require a legislative solution, which is a possibility now that Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) has introduced a bill that would extend the 14-hour clock.

A second solution, albeit only a temporary and occasional option, is to utilize the 8/2 split sleeper rule. According to FMCSA, “Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.” Last week, Transportation safety expert and vice president of risk services for Reliance John Seidl detailed the 8/2 split sleeper berth provision and how it can be utilized to provide more flexibility for drivers. With the 8/2 split, Seidl said a driver could drive for 6 hours and then take a 2-hour off-duty break and then drive for another 5 hours. At that point, an 8-hour off-duty period would commence and, when combined with the 2-hour off-duty break, provide the 10 hours of equivalent off-duty time as required by FMCSA.

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