The transportation business means having to deal with the unexpected. Drivers regularly face delays that are out of their control and impede the progress of their trip.

Schedules are governed by a set of hours of service rules that must be followed. Drivers have a 14-hour window in which to drive a maximum of 11 hours and they must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving. A new work shift can begin after 10 consecutive hours of rest.

To deal with unexpected impacts to trip progress and enjoy greater flexibility, drivers can choose to split their rest period. This solution helps lessen the impact of detention at pickup and delivery, for example.

How does the sleeper berth provision work?

Drivers can split their mandatory 10-hour rest period into two distinct periods, provided that:

  • The vehicle has a sleeper berth that meets American regulation requirements
  • The two rest periods, when paired, total at least 10 hours
  • The shorter of the two rest periods is at least 2 consecutive hours long (in the sleeper berth, off duty, or a combination of both)
  • The longer of the two rest periods is at least 7 consecutive hours spent exclusively in the sleeper berth

When using the sleeper berth provision, the order of eligible breaks does not matter. The shorter break (2 hours or more) can be taken before or after the sleeper berth rest period (7 hours or more). Also, when paired, neither rest period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

How to use the sleeper berth provision

Day 1

Day2

Day 1

  • When paired, the 3-hour long period (A) and 7-hour sleeper berth period (B) total 10 hours of rest.
  • When combining on-duty periods before and after the 3-hour sleeper berth period (A), all driving and on-duty limits are respected.
    • 7 hours are spent driving and 2 on-duty (C & D).

Day 2

  • The split carries over to the next day, so sleeper berth period (B) from day 1 is used as the first block. Since it includes at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, the driver must rest for 3 more hours (off-duty, sleeper, or a combination of the two) (F) to be compliant.
  • When combining on-duty and driving periods before and after the 3-hour sleeper berth period (F), all driving and on-duty limits are respected.
    • 8 hours are spent driving and 4 on duty (E & G).

* It should be noted that if the driver rests for 10 consecutive hours, the next work shift resets.

The most frequent pitfalls when drivers split their 10-hour off-duty period

Pitfall #1

Not spending the long rest period in the sleeper berth

  • The long rest period must be spent in the sleeper berth for the split rest period to be compliant.
    • The longer of the two rest periods must be at least 7 consecutive hours spent exclusively in the sleeper berth.

Pitfall #2

The misconception that after one of the two qualifying rest periods, the work shift resets and you can drive 11 hours.

  • When pairing two rest periods in a split rest scenario, the 10-hour total is not the same as 10 consecutive hours of rest that reset the work shift.

What you should know about splitting rest periods in Canada

In Canada, when splitting your off-duty time, both rest periods must be spent in the sleeper berth. If you started a split in the USA, make sure you understand how the Canadian rule applies before crossing the border. Also, splitting conditions under federal regulations are different for a single driver than for a team of drivers.

Guide to Hours of Service in Canada

Conclusion

Late pickup and delivery, mechanical failures, and traffic jams can all be headache-inducing. When properly used, splitting rest periods can add flexibility to a driver’s day. It helps keep drivers happy and your trucks moving.

The best way to prevent violations when using the sleeper berth provision and abide by hours-of-service requirements is to use an electronic logging device (ELD). ISAAC’s ELD is third-party certified and makes driver compliance and workflows simpler.

The truck tablet keeps drivers connected with office staff at all times. It contains all the information they need to do their work. Favorite and location-based activities guide your drivers step by step. Logbooks are automatically updated according to driver activities to ensure perfect synchronization between logbooks and trip sheets.

Want to see ISAAC’s compliance solution in action? Watch our demo!

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Véronique Poirier
Compliance Support Specialist, ISAAC

Véronique Poirier is Compliance Support Specialist at ISAAC. She has been working in the transportation industry for the past ten years, during which she has served as a compliance officer. Curious and persistent by nature, Véronique has extensive experience in the world of over-dimensional transportation.

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