WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has quietly scrapped the so-called split sleeper berth study in deference to the agency Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on changes to Hours of Service regulations.
The study, which was posted for comments in a Federal Register notice June 6, 2017, never got out of the starting gate.
The pilot program would have involved a limited number of commercial drivers who have a valid commercial driver’s license and who regularly use a sleeper berth to accumulate their required 10 hours of non-duty work status.
During the pilot program, participating drivers would have the option to split their sleeper berth time in configurations within parameters specified by FMCSA, those being any combination of split sleeper periods, totaling 10 hours, with neither period being less than three hours, allowing for the driver to use splits of three and seven hours, four and six hours, or two- five-hour periods.
This pilot program would have sought to produce statistically reliable evidence on the question whether split sleeper berth time affects driver safety performance and fatigue levels.
Currently, drivers must spend at least one eight consecutive hour period in the sleeper berth.
The agency made it known during the American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition that it would not conduct the study.
“There was simply no need for this study because of the ANPRM,” said David Heller, vice president of government affairs at the Truckload Carriers Association. “It would have taken a year to gather the data, then it would have to be analyzed and put out for comments.”
Meanwhile, Heller said, the FMCSA is under mandate to fast track the Hours of Service study.
The FMCSA website designed to publicly communicate aspects of the study has been taken down.
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