Sleeper time flexibility study could be in works as ATA requests, FMCSA says it’s planning

| December 18, 2013

TruckerTim0095 - sleeper - sleep hoursThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said it is currently planning a field study to gather more real-world data from a lab study conducted in 2010 and 2011 that concluded split sleep is OK for drivers, their well-being and their ability to safely operate.

The agency released a statement this week regarding the field study after the American Trucking Associations and the Minnesota Trucking Association jointly submitted a request for FMCSA to conduct a two-year pilot program to test the conclusions of the lab study, findings from which were released in January


Daytime sleep worse than split sleep, says FMCSA study

Sleeping during the day makes drivers sleepier and causes drivers to get less sleep than a consolidated sleep period at night and a split sleep ...

ATA submitted its proposal this week, and its President and CEO Bill Graves said the field study is the next step in gathering more data to support some flexibility in the sleeper berth requirements for truck operators. 

“The trucking industry wants FMCSA to take its positive, laboratory-based findings on the value of split sleep and try to repeat them in a real world field study,” Graves said. “Doing a pilot test using professional drivers in actual trucking operations could give the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration even more scientific data on which to base future improvements to the sleeper berth rules.”

In response to ATA’s request, FMCSA said in its statement plans for a field study like what ATA has requested are already in the works:

“More than a year ago, Administrator [Anne] Ferro put out a call for proposals to help the agency test if electronic onboard recorders and the latest sleep research could offer improved safety and flexibility. The National Association of Small Trucking Companies responded and we are now in the planning stages of conducting a field operational test to examine the safety benefits and impacts of flexible uses of the sleeper berth. We will also be meeting with ATA and OOIDA on the issue.” 

The proposal from ATA and MTA says data could be collected on driver behavior to detect fatigue, the psychomotor vigilance task to check driver participants’ reactions to stimuli, the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale, crash and incident data and drivers’ electronic logbooks.

That data could then be analyzed and plugged into statistical formulas to determine the differences between the pilot program participants who slept in a consolidated block at night and those who split their sleep. Click here to see the proposal submitted to FMCSA.

  • norman ott

    Sounds to me like some collage boys are gonna make a lot of money at our expense.

  • Jerry

    Cut to the Chase: Will the drivers exercise more by logging with split sleeper time Versus will drivers increase the fat % on the body mass index. i.e. increased neck size, increased risk sleep apnea. by not using split sleeper time

  • Bryan S

    I have been trucking 28yrs and can not beleave what has happened to this business. The idiots that running and setting rules have no clue about transportation.I found i had more rest and felt better and was able to do my job in a safer manner.

  • Keith Birmingham

    How many of the people that are deciding how truckers conduct their business have seen the inside of a truck, and lived the life of a (this does not mean taking a 3 day vacation to ride in a truck) trucker? How much money have we paid in their salaries for them to tell truckers how stupid they can be? The government alphabet offices say they are their to make life safer for all of us. But, name one thing they have done that did not put money in their pockets and grow government. Name one law, rule or regulation that does not cost you money.

  • jim

    I hate to say this that the woman Ferro has made a mess of us the trucking community and has made very big problems for us.We do need a Professional long time quilified driver in that top office that knows more about trucking and knows what we see,and do.maybe we can get things back they way they were.Bryan S.ya have one year up on me but I do agree with you on what ya said.

  • g

    Sure..this means we shouldnt drive at night…only sleep at night… pilot program..”gettin er done allright”…Kudos.

  • guest

    Gee most people know when they are tired and when they have gotten enuff sleep…need a “blue ribbon panel” for that?? How much $$ do these “studies”cost???

  • wing

    absolute fools running the country….tossed aside all the studies 2 years ago……so we can spend more money on the pilot program….for what drivers already know….rest when you need a break! WTF….and we keep putting up with this nonsense….next op to shut down…jan 2014 when med card rules will shut down the un- informed…everybody in the know ….SHUT DOWN …. with all the 1.36 million class 8’s shut down on that day…only one day…people will start screamin cause their babies ain’t gettin the milk!

  • mkmac

    In Canada we can split sleeper time as long as we show at least 8 hours in sleeper and 2 hours of off duty in the day or just 10 hours sleep for a total of 10 hours works great cause some times you not tired and 6 or 7 hours is enough. or a 3to4 hour nap then drive and sleep later, but you get to where your going get unloaded Etc……….

  • guest

    Another “pilot” program like the one now to allow Mexicans uphere to take our JOBS legally!! Used to be they snuck around illegally and took Jobs..Now the Pilot Program begs them to come here and take our freight and trucking jobs??
    Really destroying trucking industry quickly is what these stupid Cops are doing…Government Mooches. Job security for them to make MORE and MORE rules for THEM to enforce….legislating THEMSELVES more WORK to do…many get UNION Overtime and Dwarf a truck drivers pay……somebody getting fleeced??? strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.