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Trucker seeks FMCSA okay for 5/5 sleeper berth split

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently accepting public comment on a truck driver’s request for regulatory relief from Hours of Service (HOS) rules related to sleeper berth requirements.

According to a February 23 notice from the FMCSA, truck driver Matthew Killmer asked authorities for an exemption from HOS regulations to allow him to split his sleeper berth time into two five hour periods in order to obtain the required ten hour rest period.

Killmer reasoned that an industry-wide 5/5 sleeper berth split would provide more safe truck parking opportunities by increasing parking turnover. He also argued that the increased sleeper berth flexibility would result in better rested drivers.

Killmer also argued that the 5/5 split would “help the Commercial Vehicle Operator utilize their time/proper rest much more effectively when accounting for lost time due to weather, detention time at shippers/receivers or repairs. Thus, streamlining the flow of goods in a more efficient, safe, and timely manner.”

Killmer requested the exemption for himself and other truck drivers.

The FMCSA is accepting public comment on Killmer’s request through March 27, 2023.

So far, 191 public comments have been received, many of which are in favor of the 5/5 split option.

The addition of this option to divide up time can prove to be advantageous to the driver in terms of productivity. Frequently, shipments can take a considerable amount of time to both load and unload, resulting in the driver becoming weary. This division of time allows the driver to recuperate, should there be hours available, and continue their progress on the up-coming shipment,” commented Ralph Bryant.

A 5/5 sounds great. 1. It’s hard to get a full 8 or even 6 hours sleep on the road. I often wake up in sleeper berth. As well as finding a safe convenient place for parking duty that split. It would also help compensate the driver for unforseen weather/traffic situations as well. You have my vote as a YES,” said Morris Silverstein.

As a fleet Safety manager, I fully agree and support changes to the sleeper birth split rules. Drivers should be allowed more flexibility of the 5/5 and 6/4 split birth. This will allow our drivers to rest better and be more alert. Most drivers also don’t sleep the full 10 hours. Please approve the requested changes,” wrote Miller Expedited Freight.

If you would like to submit a public comment to the FMCSA, you can click here to get started.

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