CRST petitions FMCSA for 7/3 sleeper berth split

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Wednesday, August 19, 2015

In the building swell of hours-of-service exemption requests, CRST Expedited has now petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption from the split-sleeper berth provision for its team operations.

The current hours-of-service regulations allow drivers to split 10 hours in the sleeper into two periods provided that one period is at least eight hours and the second is no less than two.

CRST Expedited is petitioning FMCSA for an exemption from the requirement and asking to be allowed to split the sleeper berth time into two periods totaling 10 hours – provided that neither period is less than three hours. That effectively would allow teams to split their sleeper berth time into a seven-hour stretch and a three-hour stint, as opposed to the required eight- and two-hour periods.

According to CRST Expedited’s exemption request, the company’s teams travel approximately 3,500 on an average week. The company also estimates that 75 percent of its drivers obtain at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty while on the road each week.

CRST Expedited says it operates 1,500 trucks on an average day with 3,000 drivers in team operations. If the petition for an exemption is granted, it would apply to those 3,000 drivers.

 “CRST states that many of their team drivers are newcomers to the trucking industry. Drivers have told CRST that driving an entire 10-11 hour driving shift is too long and that they want the opportunity to switch with a partner more frequently. According to CRST, having the flexibility to switch with a partner allows each driver to take advantage of shorter time periods when they may feel fatigued. Further, splitting the SB time for both team drivers would allow each driver to obtain sleep during critical nighttime hours, which would provide more restorative sleep,” the notice of the exemption states.

In bargaining for the exemption, CRST Expedited identified countermeasures it would take to “maintain safe operations.” These include reducing driving time from 11 to 10 hours; using electronic logging devices, speed limiting trucks to 65 mph and using trucks brought into service in 2015 that are equipped with collision-avoidance technology.

FMCSA will accept comments for 30 days beginning on Thursday, Aug. 20. Comments can be submitted electronically at regulations.gov to Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0261.

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