Will truck drivers use the brand new break up sleeper management from HOS?

As Tuesday of this week came and went, truck drivers benefited from the changes to the Working Regulations (HOS). One major change is the exception for a shared sleeping area.

The change on Tuesday is technically not new in the HOS regulations, but rather an addition to the existing rule. Previously, drivers could use a shared sleeping space exception in an 8/2 split. The new option adds a 7/3 split.

It is unclear how many drivers have previously used the scheme, and it is even more uncertain how many will use the new option.

“If the driver is properly trained on the split break exception and is using an ELD (Electronic Logging Device) that has split logging built into their rule set, the likelihood that the driver will make a mistake and get a quote is pretty low. ”Tom Bray, transportation industry consultant at JJ Keller & Associates Inc., told FreightWaves this summer. “In other words, using an ELD with the split-logging exception can prevent violations if a freight forwarder allows their drivers to use the flexibility of split-logging.”

Drivers using the split could “take their required 10 hours off duty in two periods, provided that one off (whether inside or outside the sleeping area) is at least two hours and the other is at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeping car” , announced the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Both periods cannot be counted towards the 14-hour driving window. Many drivers didn’t benefit from the 8/2 rule due to its complexity, but adding a 7/3 option can be more tempting. However, this could further confuse drivers who previously struggled with 8/2 split compliance.

Annette Sandberg, CEO of TransSafe Consulting and former administrator of the FMCSA, told FreightWaves that the new rule adds complexity for drivers.

“The new shared sleeper is even a bit more complicated than the previous rule, mainly because a driver doesn’t have to factor in the long layover time or the shorter break in their daily 14-hour calculation,” she said.

ELDs should have been programmed to change, Sandberg said, but “every ELD manufacturer likely has their own mindset about how they would notify a driver of a violation or how their hours are calculated.”

In a 2018 webinar, noted security expert John Seidl explained how the 8/2 split could be used, and the same theory applies to the 7/3 split. According to Seidl, a driver who starts his day at 7 a.m. would start his 14-hour clock. Using an hour on duty with no driving time would shorten the 14-hour window, but not the 11-hour driving time. The driver leaves at 8 a.m. and drives until 1 p.m. He has now used five hours of the 11-hour drive and six hours of the 14-hour cycle. At this point, the driver takes an eight-hour break in the sleeping car. This time recorded in the sleeper effectively stops the 14-hour clock. At 9 p.m., the driver sits back in the driver’s seat and has six hours of free driving time and eight hours every 14 hours. The driver can drive for six hours until 3 a.m.

The OOIDA Foundation explains how to use shared sleeping space provision

FMCSA continues to explore ways to make split sleeper deployment more beneficial to drivers. In August, the agency published a planned pilot program for Split Duty, in which the participating truck drivers have the opportunity to pause their 14-hour driving windows with off-duty times between 30 minutes and three hours. This is a separate initiative from Tuesday’s changes.

Sandberg found that potential problems drivers might encounter with the new changes include compliance issues if a driver relies on an ELD to manage hours and the device manufacturer has either not programmed the changes or programmed them incorrectly. Second, drivers who do not have a place to sleep will not be able to use the split sleeper provision even if they are on the road for days.

“I suspect some drivers will just try to record the time as a sleeper even though they don’t have a place to sleep,” she said. “In addition, with the new sleeping place rule, you cannot try to extend your 14-hour day [when] the longer of your two breaks is ‘off duty’. The longer of the two breaks must be in the bunk. “

Sandberg said drivers and hauliers should request specific documentation from their ELD providers to understand how their systems calculate the rules and how to warn the driver of a possible violation before it happens. Hauliers need to make sure all drivers are trained in delivery, she added.

“I’ve always said it’s always better when you get a solid 10. to take [hours] off duty and then you don’t have to worry about making a mistake and getting decommissioned, ”said Sandberg. “However, I understand that this new regulation will help drivers who are on the move to rest with the shorter break and then still get the rest they need with at least seven hours in the sleeping car.

“The big thing is, if a driver wants to use the new rule to extend their 14-hour window – make sure the longer break is in the sleeper and the two breaks add up to 10 hours,” she added. “You still can’t go over 11 hours of driving time and watch how your driving time is calculated within that 14-hour window.”

Click here to see more FreightWaves articles by Brian Straight.

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