In July 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a significant revision to the HOS regulations. These regulations apply to property carriers and drivers– among them is the sleeper berth exception.
Truck drivers are allowed to split on-duty time by using split breaks. In order to do so, a driver must have had one period equal to at least eight hours or more in the sleeper berth and a separate period of a minimum of two or more hours which may be either off duty, in the sleeper berth, or a combination of the two. Confusing? Yes. But the point of this is to make sure drivers get enough down time/sleep so they’re not falling asleep at the wheel, and possibly causing crashes.
Truckers: to get some or all of the 10 consecutive hours of off duty time, you may spend that in your sleeper berth. At the end of those 10 hours, your 11 hour and 14 hour limits are then completely reset.
Time in the sleeper berth can also be used to extend the 14 hour limit, since any period in the sleeper berth of at least 8 consecutive hours does not count as part of the 14 hours. Therefore, that time allows you to extend the time during which you could use your maximum 11 hours of driving.
There’s also what’s commonly known as the “split sleeper berth” rule, whereas you spend at least one of the two required rest periods in your sleeper berth with at least 8 consecutive hours in there, but less than 10. This won’t count against your 14 hour duty clock. Then, the other separate rest period needs to be at least 2 consecutive hours long and can be spent in the sleeper berth, off duty, or sleeper berth and off duty combined. This 2 hour period will count against the 14 hour on duty limit. It doesn’t matter which rest period you take first. After you complete your second required rest period, you will have a new point on the clock from which to calculate your hours available. This new calculation point will be at the time you completed your first required rest period.
Bottom line: truckers need proper rest and sleep in order to do their job to the best of their abilities.