It’s a time of transition in the trucking industry. As the deadline for the ELD mandate grows closer, a few potential issues with the current Hours of Service (HOS) regulations have come to light — and lawmakers are considering adjusting some of these regulations in order to adapt to the changes.
The most recent potential revision to the HOS regulations is geared toward giving drivers more flexibility with their rest periods. It’s called the Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program, and according to the FMSCA website, the goal is to “conduct a pilot study to demonstrate how split-sleep in conjunction with the North American Fatigue Management Program could be used to improve driver rest and alertness.”
The DOT is moving forward with a pilot program to test the feasibility of this potential revision. Two-hundred and forty drivers will be studied over a period of three months. The participating drivers will be given the ability to split their 10-hour off-duty period into segments (like 5-5, 6-4 or 7-3). The agency will use a variety of technologies like ELDs and monitoring systems to gather data that will help them determine the impact on driver fatigue and alertness.
Not all drivers are on the same sleep/rest schedule; therefore, drivers have long desired more flexibility regarding their rest time. With the option to split their sleeper berth status time, they would have more control over when they decide to take breaks. Because the FMSCA is determined to minimize driver fatigue, this could be a step in the right direction for driver safety.
The proposal for the study was first issued in June, and the FMCSA officially announced its intention to file the research plans with the Office of Management and Budget for approval. Once approved, the agency will move forward with the study.
Want to submit a comment to the FMCSA about the Flexible Sleeper Berth Pilot Program? Click here.