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Split Sleeper Berth Information


Pre 2004 Hours of Service Rule.  Applies to USA Bus Drivers under new rules and to Canadian Rules before Jan 1, 2007, when new rules take effect in Canada.

-- Split Sleeper is one of the most confusing aspects of truckers logs, so here is another explanation that is as short winded as possible.  For Canadian drivers just substitute 13 hours where you see 10 hours for your 13 hour driving rule.

For simplicity I will only discuss the 10 hour rule.  Both 10 hours driving and 15 hour worked (Driving plus On Duty Not Driving) is subject to the split sleeper provision, because both of those rules are 'reset' with 10+ hours Off Duty.    The Hours of Service (HOS) i.e. 70hr/8day or 60hr/7day are not affected by split sleeper except for the hours worked as you drive and work.  HOS rules are reset with sufficient off duty hours to bring the 'available hours' to work on a given log day to a positive number of hours.  But HOS is a separate discussion.

Everybody understands the following:
If you Drive 10 hours then you must take 8, or more hours Off Duty before you can drive again.


See the figures below.

The split sleeper provision in the regulations allows the following:
You may break your 15 hours on-duty period into two 'pieces' by taking a Sleeper Berth period (2 hours minimum) before you finish a 10/15 hours period and then finish up the required 6 or more hours rest by 'making up' the hours in the sleeper so the total of the two Sleeper Berth periods total 8 or more hours.

Split Sleeper Example:
Drive 5 hours and spend 5 hours in the Sleeper Berth.  This allows you to be on-duty or driving an additional 5 hours before you must spend 3+ hours in the Sleeper Berth.  5 +5 hours Driving = 10 hours Driving.  5 + 3 hours Sleeper Berth = 8 hours Sleeper Berth.

If you continue this cycle of Driving and Sleeper Berth, you are now in what is called 'Split Sleeper mode' which is best explained by the direct quote from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) web site (see below) regarding split sleeper.  DDL handles split sleeper  mode automatically.

Quoted from the FMCSA web site:
"A NOTE ABOUT SLEEPER BERTH TIME: You should be aware that if you accumulate the required eight hours of off-time in the berth in two periods, you can drive again after the last of the periods of rest is completed. But you don't have a full 10 hours of driving time available. You must subtract the last period of driving time 5 hours, for example) from 10 hours. That means that you have 5 hours of driving time remaining. This subtraction rule holds true until the driver has had an eight hour block of time off-duty consecutively. Then 10 full hours of driving time are once again available."


Split Sleeper is a convenient way for team drivers to keep the truck rolling as much as possible, by taking turns driving and spending time in the Sleeper Berth.  Solo drivers will probably not find it as useful as it might first appear.

Another source for Frequently Asked Questions regarding logs:
FMCSA Logs - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - The 'Ins and Out's of Logs.

The last thing to consider is the situation where a driver gets a 10 hour rule violation when he is in 'split sleeper mode'.  Most inspectors require the driver to be 'out of service' for 8+ hours Off Duty to clear the violation.  Other inspectors only require the driver to 'make up the hours' as he would during normal split sleeper mode.   Example: if the driver already had say 5 hours 'credit' of Sleeper Berth time, then he only needs to be 'out of service' for 3+ hours.  DDL handles either 'interpretation' as a Settings option under the Audit tab.  DDL defaults to the more stringent 8+ hours Off Duty requirement which is the more common interpretation.  In CDL class, I learned the more lenient interpretation.

Combined4.jpg (63737 bytes)

Upper Grid shows a driver using 'normal' 10hr driving followed by 8hr Off Duty (or Sleeper Berth).
Lower Gird shows a driver using 'split sleeper' - 10 hr Driving 'broken' by 5hr Sleeper Berth and followed by 3hr Sleeper Berth thereby accumulating the required 8 hours off duty.

Both drivers start driving at 4:00 AM and both drivers are allowed to drive again at 10:00 PM.  The difference is the number of hours each driver is allowed to drive starting at 10:00 PM (10hr vs. the split sleeper driver with 6hr driving).  The split sleeper driver is in 'split sleeper mode'.

That is it.  I don't think I can explain it any other way...

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Copyright 1998-2011 Drivers Daily Log - Fritz Roland Bjorklund & Bruce A. Luebke.  All rights reserved.
Last modified: Wednesday April 13, 2011.