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FMCSA Proposes Sleeper Berth Pilot Program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently proposed a pilot program to split up the sleeper berth time. The new pilot program would give truck drivers more flexibility to ensure that truck drivers relieved ten hours off duty. Find out more about the sleeper berth pilot program and how it may impact truck driving safety.

How the New Sleeper Berth Pilot Program Would Work

According to the FMCSA, the pilot program would evaluate two options for drivers to divide their ten hours off duty in the sleeper berth. It would be a 6hr/4hr split or a 5hr/5hr split. Drivers would essentially operate for a baseline period of 90 days under this new program segment.

The FMCSA’s goal is to gather data that will help them support instituting sleeper berth flexibility greater than a 7hr/3hr split. The FMCSA’s data would consist of driver metrics, such as crashes, fatigue levels, caffeine consumption, duty status, and safety performance.

They want to allow temporary regulatory relief from hours-of-service (HOS) rules since they limit the number of drivers who can hold a commercial driver’s license and regularly use the sleeper berth. This could be beneficial for drivers since they aren’t currently allowed to use the sleeper berth to accumulate their required ten hours of off-duty time.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Oppose the Proposal

Advocates for the Highway and Auto Safety responded negatively to FMCSA’s sleeper berth proposal. According to advocates, they believe that the proposal will exacerbate the issue of driver fatigue since it won’t force them to seek rest outside of their truck. They also believe that this new proposal will only impact driver fatigue.

¬†Advocates President Cathy Chase said, “the proposed pilot program would eviscerate safeguards that enable drivers using a sleeper berth to have the opportunity to get consolidated rest...this continuous effort to cripple minimal safety measures is antithetical to FMCSA’s mission of implementing countermeasures that will reduce truck crashes and fatalities.”

Why Truck Driver Fatigue Is a Problem

Truck drivers are known for having overwhelming physical and mental exhaustion while living their life on the road. Studies show that driver fatigue is highly associated with truck collisions. Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous because it can lead to slower reaction times and reduce the ability to assess situations quickly. The U.S. Department of Transportation stated that nearly 4,000 people died in large truck accidents every year caused due to driver fatigue.

Below we have put together shocking fatigues about truck driver fatigue:

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that truck driver fatigue contributes to 40% of all heavy truck crashes.
  • The FMCSA estimates that the risk of being involved in a crash double from the 8th to the 10th hour of driving and doubles again from the 10th to the 11th hour.
  • According to FMCSA findings, over 750 people die, and over 20,000 are injured each year due to fatigued commercial drivers.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board study found that fatigue was a significant factor in 52% of 107 heavy truck crashes.

Experienced San Francisco Truck Accident Lawyers

Although it isn’t certain whether the FMCSA’s proposal will successfully reduce or worsen truck driver fatigue, it is still certain that truck collisions are still happening on our roads. If you or your loved one was injured in a truck accident, you are entitled to seek compensation for your loss.

Our team at Scarlett Law Group has years of experience helping those injured throughout California obtain the compensation they deserve after an accident. Let our team help you get the compensation you need to pay off medical bills, lost wages, and more.

Contact our San Francisco truck accident attorneys today at (415) 688-2176 to schedule a case review!

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