What is the New Sleeper Berth Rule?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) added a new sleeper berth rule in September 2020 with the hopes of reducing the risk of truck driver fatigue. However, with strict delivery deadlines for truckers, the big question is, “Is it working?” Read on to learn the facts surrounding this provision.
How the New Sleeper Berth Rule Aims to Combat Truck Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. To mitigate the risks, the new sleeper berth rule allows truckers to split their required 10-hour off duty period under the hours-of-service regulations as follows:
Drivers Carrying Cargo
Drivers carrying cargo can split their 10-hour off-duty period as long as one off-duty period is at least 2 hours (in or out of the sleeper berth) and the other is at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. All sleeper berth combinations must add up to 10 hours. When paired together, neither period will count against the maximum 14-hour driving limit.
Drivers Carrying Passengers
Drivers carrying passengers must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth and may split their sleeper berth time into two periods, but neither period can be less than 2 hours. All sleeper berth combinations must add up to at least 10 hours.
Since the sleeper berth provisions are relatively new, there is no recorded data supporting whether or not this new rule has lowered the number of truck accidents thus far.
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Due to a big rig’s large size and weight, smaller vehicles are no match for a truck accident. Not only can the injuries be severe, but the road to recovery can also be long and stressful. The financial strains on you and your family when incurring medical bills for treatments and therapies can also be overwhelming.
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