FMCSA denies bid for restored split rest for teams

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has rejected a request that it reconsider the agency’s decision to eliminate most split rest in sleeper berths for team drivers. Meanwhile, FMCSA has granted a request from the American Trucking Associations for a rulemaking to consider whether a driver who is part of a team could record a two-hour period sitting in the non-driving seat of the truck as off-duty time if it were taken in conjunction with a consecutive eight-hour sleeper-berth period.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters filed a petition for reconsideration on FMCSA’s decision to treat team drivers the same as solo drivers in the Oct. 1 final rule, which requires that drivers spend at least eight hours in a sleeper berth if they want to use the sleeper berth to shorten the 10-hour consecutive rest requirement. In addition, another two-hour break would have to be taken during the work day, and that break doesn’t stop the clock on the 14-hour window for completing driving time.

“Although the sleeper-berth provisions of the 2005 rule will require most, if not all, team driver operations to revise their scheduling practices, the elimination of fragmented rest periods in the final rule ensures that drivers can obtain 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep during one sleeper-berth period,” FMCSA said in a letter to Teamsters General President James Hoffa. “This action provides drivers with a work/rest schedule that is more likely to prevent fatigue.”