Bill would delay split-sleeper rule

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A congressional transportation leader’s bill would allow truckers to use the sleeper berth provision in the old hours-of-service rule until Jan. 1, 2006.

The new hours-of-service rule requires that split-sleeper berth time must include at least one eight-hour period, whereas the previous rule stipulated only that one of these times be at two hours. This new provision has been the least understood section of the new rule.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s latest hours rule became effective Oct. 1, with a phase-in period through Dec. 31. It stated it would pursue enforcement against “egregious violations” of the new hours rule, but indicated this 90-day period would be a time of “soft enforcement” of the new regulations.

“The trucking industry will not be able to retrain all drivers and adjust shipping schedules until the end of calendar year 2005,” H.R. 3943 reads.

U.S. Rep. Don Young introduced the bill Sept. 29. The Alaska republican’s bill was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and currently has 13 co-sponsors.