Hours of Service

What is the Split Sleeper Berth Rule?

The split sleeper berth provision allows interstate CMV drivers to fulfill the required ten hours off-duty (found in Section 395.3(a)(1) of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) component of the HOS rules by splitting it into two periods of time provided certain conditions are met. 

This post explains the details of this provision.

What is the purpose of the split-sleeper berth provision?

The purpose of this provision is to provide drivers operating vehicles with adequate rest facilities (e.g., a sleeper berth) the flexibility to obtain needed rest while preserving time on the 14-hour clock.

What is a sleeper berth?

A sleeper berth is a compartment in a commercial motor vehicle meeting certain size, shape, and access requirements (found in Section 393.76 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) that allow a driver to obtain rest in the CMV. The sleeper berth is typically located directly behind the driving compartment and includes a bed along with other amenities.

How does the split-sleeper berth exception work?

The split sleeper berth provision allows drivers operating a CMV equipped with a sleeper berth to split their ten-hour off-duty period into two periods provided they meet the following conditions:

  • one rest period is at least seven consecutive hours and is taken in the sleeper berth;
  • the other is at least two hours and is taken off-duty, in the sleeper berth, or a combination of the two; and
  • the two periods, when added together, equal at least ten hours.

If the above conditions are met, neither rest period counts in the calculation of the 14-hour rule. The provision does not exempt drivers from other Hours of Service limits, including the 11-hour rule, the 14-hour rule, and weekly driving limits.

How is compliance with the rules verified?

Provided the conditions of the provision listed above are met, the easiest way to verify compliance with the rule is to add the on-duty and driving periods immediately before and after each qualifying rest period to ensure the operator has not driven more than 11 hours or and has not driven after having worked 14-hours.

When does the split sleeper berth exception end?

Once a driver has ten consecutive hours off-duty, spent in the sleeper berth, off-duty, or a combination of the two, the driver’s daily clock is reset, and he/she can resume traditional calculation of Hours of Service compliance.