McKee Foods: Split Sleeper Berth Hours Granted!

McKee Foods received the flexibility of split sleeper berth hours for drivers: Exemption extended by four years! The private carrier of snack maker McKee Foods appealed for an exemption in split sleeper berth hours for their drivers and it has been granted for next four years. This waiver allows the snack maker to split their 10 required sleeper berth hours into segments.

This March, FMCSA granted the facility for McKee and allowed its drivers to use either 4/6, 5/5 or 3/7 splits to address the federal law of required 10 sleeper berth hours per day. The extension which is applicable until March 2020 comes pursuant under FAST Act.

The waiver is only applicable for those McKee drivers who

  • Use electronic devices
  • Are limited to 10 hours of driving per day  and
  • Have at least 26 hours of off-duty home time from Friday to Saturday night

Before granting such exemption, FMCSA did its own research that shows truck drivers who use split sleeper berth periods do not show any unsafe driving habits or aren’t prone to greater levels of fatigue. The comparison was done with those who kept 10 consecutive berth hours. Besides, a report of 2013 which was made final by the agency was also cited before the approval of split sleeper berth hours for McKee’s drivers.

After seeing the agency’s approval of McKee’s exemption another carrier, CRST Expedited made a similar request to FMCSA for its team drivers. In order to get that flexibility, CRST is willing to make similar concessions made by McKee. According to the carrier, its drivers

  • Will use ELDs to track hours
  • Will be limited to just 10 hours of driving time
  • Will maintain 65 mph speed limit for tractors
  • Will use vehicles equipped with collision mitigation systems.

The agency’s present 14-hour rule is very rigid. It’s preventing drivers from stopping their on-duty clock once it starts each day. On the flipside, that same rule creates a bar on split sleeper berth flexibility. While current HOS rules being one of truck operators’ biggest grumbles, truckers have said that allowing sleeper berth flexibility would ease that particular regulatory burden.

FMCSA has already released a document stating the plan for another study on split sleeper berth flexibility. This is great news for truck operators & carriers!
Read more here!

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