What is Sleeper Berth? Rules About Sleeper Berth for Drivers

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Congress passed MAP-21, or “Moving Ahead for the Future in the 21st Century”, to restructure highway tolling and safety in 2012, which included a provision for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to create a mandate for electronic logging devices (ELD). This mandate highlighted a problem within the industry: flexibility, specifically when it comes to delays. Thus, the arrival of the split-sleeper provision under the Hours of Service regulations was born.

The sleeper berth provision was originally established to create better driving habits and provide more flexibility for scheduling. But it’s a complex rule within HoS that continues to confound fleet managers and drivers. We cover everything you need to know about sleeper berth rules below.

What is Sleeper Berth?

The sleeper berth rule under the HoS regulations requires drivers to take a collective 10 hours of rest within a 14-hour period. They must also have two separate consecutive hours off, either in their sleeper berth or off duty. This seems simple enough, but the FMCSA added a new provision that allowed drivers to split their sleeper berth hours. The provision was a response to the need for more flexibility within trucking industry scheduling.

The provision began in 2003, allowing drivers to split their time into two breaks for a collective 10 hours. The stipulation was that each break had to be at least two hours long and be spent within the truck’s sleeper berth. However, these hours weren’t included in the 14-hour limit.

In 2005, the rule changed. Drivers still have to take two breaks adding up to 10 hours. But one of those breaks must be 7-8 hours. This enforces the recognition that drivers need to have at least 7 hours of continuous sleep in order to combat fatigue. The provision rose out of the increased number of accidents due to fatigue, which the ELD mandate further addresses. Drivers must still spend these hours in the sleeper berth, and it’s still excluded from the 14-hour limit. 

The Split Sleeper Berth Rule

The split sleeper berth rule isn’t exactly simple, specifically because taking an 8-hour break does not reset your daily hours. In order to reset your daily hours, you need to take a complete and consecutive 10 hours off-duty.

The 8/2 split or the 2/8 split is simply a provision, meaning it’s available to give drivers more flexibility to meet deadlines or delivery times. As mentioned, the split sleeper berth rule allows drivers to take two breaks. One of those breaks must be 2 hours, while the other must be 8. All of those hours must be spent in the sleeper berth. This differs from off-duty hours, which drivers can spend anywhere so long as their break adds up to 10 consecutive hours.

How Does the Split Sleeper Berth Rule Work?

To understand the split sleeper berth rule, it’s best to look at an example. Consider a driver on a long haul. The driver begins their day at 6 AM with non-driving warehouse work, beginning their 14 hours. At 7 AM, the driver gets on the road and drives until noon, a five-hour period. This consumes 5 of the driver’s 11 allotted hours. At noon, the driver takes an 8-hour break. This essentially pauses the 14-hour rule. At 8 PM, the driver resumes their work and continues for another 6 hours, which is all they have left in their 11-hour limit. The driver continues driving for another six hours, then takes a two hour break. After the two hours of rest are complete, a new 14-hour day begins at 8 PM.

When you use the 8/2 rule, your new calculation point for 11 and 14 hours is at the end of the first rest period. Once you reach the driving limits, you must be off-duty for a consecutive 10 hours.

Tracking Sleeper Berth Time

With the new ELD mandate, all fleet vehicles must have an electronic logging device for Hours of Service recording. An ELD device monitors vehicle diagnostics and engine run time to calculate HoS. The device collects this data, sends it via satellite into cloud-based software, which builds reports for each driver and trip. The equipment is simple and easy to use—the device links directly to your vehicle’s OBD-II port under the steering wheel.

ELD devices help keep you compliant and monitor your drivers. But why stop with a basic authorized ELD? Instead, invest in a high-performance telematics system that provides your fleet with so much more.

Telematics systems monitor vehicle diagnostics, driver behavior, idle time, and fuel consumption. Managers can also set HoS limits to flag any drivers approaching violation. You can also set maintenance alerts, create inspection checklists, and DVIRs. Driver records, vehicle warranties, and other information are centralized on the software for easier access and simplification of management. The system also tracks and trends vehicle and driver information to help you make data-driven decisions to optimize your fleet.

Certain telematics systems, such as Azuga Fleet, also include asset tracking to monitor equipment like trailers and storage containers. It helps to prevent theft, recover assets, and improve productivity.

Azuga telematics systems provide features such as route optimization, fuel card integration, idle time, and fuel consumption monitoring. Our state-of-the-art, cloud-based-software makes it easy to scale your business, improve productivity, stay compliant, and reduce costs.

Learn more about what fleet tracking can do for your business, at Azuga.