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The Mysterious Split Sleeper Berth Rule

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Old School's Comment
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I wanted to make a post on how knowing and understanding the HOS rules can help you in your quest to be one of those "top producers" that dispatchers love to work with. We talk a lot in here about trip planning and tools that help you on your journey, like the Atlas, or the GPS, but sometimes one of the most obvious tools that you can leverage for success is looked upon as restrictive and limiting to our ability to make a decent living, and that is the HOS (Hours Of Service) rules. I still remember the day when my trainer literally threw our Qualcomm down into the floor of the truck and started uttering curses and blasphemies about how the HOS rules were keeping him from making any money. I had the most unusual experience of being more of the teacher than the student when I was with my trainer, and on this particular day I had to teach him about the split sleeper rule. It was the answer to his dilemma, and after more than ten years on the road, he still didn't know the first thing about how it worked.

I'm not going to go into all the mental gyrations it takes to explain the thing, I merely want to give you an example of how I used it this week so that you can see the benefits of it. Hopefully I can arouse your interest in this mysterious and mostly misunderstood rule, enough to get you to go through the logs section of High Road Training Program and work your way through it yourself. Or, if you are just lazy, you can ask Errol, he's our resident math teacher.

I run a dedicated flat-bed for SAPA, the world's largest producer of aluminum extrusions, and most of my loads have multiple stops. My first load this week was an 1,847 mile load from Delhi, Louisiana with three stops in De Smet, South Dakota, then one stop in Farmington, Minnesota, and the final in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

One of the keys to success in this business is to get yourself unloaded early. A day early puts you way ahead of the game, in that it gives you more time to run another load, but another factor about unloading early is that you always want to try to unload early in the morning while still having hours on your clock so that you can be available for another load. If you get unloaded, but have no hours left for the day, you are going to have to go sit at the truck stop for ten hours, and maybe even all through the night also until you can get dispatched on another load. But... if you are consistently showing them that you understand how this little dance is danced by getting yourself unloaded early in the day and still having plenty of hours left to run with, then they will consistently have you pre-planned ahead of schedule so that you can keep those wheels turning.

I said all that to explain to you why I do certain things out here, and anytime I can put a plan together that unloads me a day early and early in the morning with hours to spare, I do it. My dispatcher has gotten so accustomed to me doing this that I don't even think I would need to communicate it, but I do always keep him posted on my progress. There are always factors that can interfere with your plans, but knowing the rules can sometimes help you deal with those variables.

Continued...

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Here's this week's scenario... I got assigned this load. but really didn't have the necessary hours to do it properly since I was on re-caps. So I took a 34 hour re-set after accepting the load. I could have taken off with it, but I was going to be short on hours when it came time to go from De Smet to Farmington, and it would have thrown the whole thing off. By taking the re-set I had all kinds of hours, but I would have to leave a little late to get to De Smet. I was able to get to De Smet something like one o'clock in the morning the night before my first delivery. I parked on my customer's property, and got unloaded that morning, but had to wait until eleven a.m. (mandatory ten hour break) to start rolling to my next two stops there. That put me getting to Farmington around 8:45 that evening, too late to get unloaded. I stayed at a truck stop not far from my customer. This customer actually shares a street with a residential area, so I don't spend the night here because I think it is just not a good thing for me to sit near those folks houses with my diesel engine idling all through the night.

Okay, so I'm up at 6:45 doing my pre-trip, on the road at 0700, and pulling into the customer at 0745. I'm unloaded and on my way to Grand Rapids, Michigan by 0850. I want to be there first thing in the morning, get unloaded and have hours to roll, and it is almost 600 miles away. But there's a problem - you probably already know what it is - I am going to hit Chicago right at about 1700, and it is going to be a real mess!

What do you do? I'll get hung up in that traffic, burn up my clock, and end up being much later than my dispatcher is expecting. He already has something lined up for me, and I could very well jeopardize not only the load, but also the hard earned trust I've gained from him. Split Sleeper Berth Rule to the rescue! Here's what I did...

I drove until roughly three p.m. and got myself to the Pilot at exit 322 on I-94 just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I bedded down for eight hours and woke up at 2300, did my pre-trip and was on my way at 2315. Took 94 south, then got on the Skokie Hwy and rolled right through Chicago around one in the morning, unscathed and unhindered. That gave me enough time to get to the Tulip City Truck Stop in Holland, Michigan at about 3:45 in the morning with maybe ten minutes left on my eleven hour clock. But I don't have to spend ten hours in the sleeper, now I can spend two hours in the sleeper, and Voila, I have about seven hours to work with now.

I get up and only have to drive about 45 minutes to my consignee , and I am unloaded by 0715, and on my way to the next victim!

Keeping those wheels turning is sometimes more about knowing how to manage it all than it is about keeping your foot mashed to the floor. Get your brain wrapped around some of this stuff, and you will unlock the mysteries of success out here.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Adam B.'s Comment
member avatar

So I never figured out what happens when you complete the 2 hour sleeper berth and complete the split. Do you gain a full 11 then?

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Nope, it's complicated. Well, not really, it is kind of like fifth grade math, but I'm going to refer you to High Road Training Program for the math lessons. Every time we try to explain it in the forum it comes out about like trying to explain Per Diem - it just starts getting all convoluted.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Partagas's Comment
member avatar

Thanks OS - That's a great example and you explained it we'll.

I remember reading on one company's website a while back - and for the life of me can't remember which one - that they don't allow their drivers to use the split sleeper rule (assuming I read it right). Are there allot of companies like that? Can the Qualcomm be set to disallow it? Seems like a great tool to have in your HOS toolbox.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
I remember reading on one company's website a while back - and for the life of me can't remember which one - that they don't allow their drivers to use the split sleeper rule (assuming I read it right). Are there allot of companies like that? Can the Qualcomm be set to disallow it? Seems like a great tool to have in your HOS toolbox.

I have definitely heard of some companies that don't allow it to be used, but I am not sure how wide spread that is. I'm not sure of all the reasons, but one of them is that people don't really understand it so they use it improperly. I can see that happening on paper logs, but with the e-logs the Qualcomm does all the calculations for you. Folks could still get themselves in a bind I guess, because you need to know what is going to happen before the Qualcomm actually shows your available hours. It is possible they could miscalculate and then still be short on hours. I assume the Qualcomm can be set to disallow it, because it has a lot of variable settings.

When I went through a private truck driving school I remember asking the lady who was teaching us about logging our hours about the split sleeper berth rule. She was a former driver of twenty years, mostly with Celadon. She looked at me with a surprised look, as if she was shocked I even knew there was such an animal, then she blurted out, "The reason I haven't tried to teach you guys about the split sleeper is because it is too #*!@ hard to understand, and I don't want to confuse you at this point."

By the way, my dispatcher loves the fact that I know how this thing works. I use it fairly regularly if it will help me be more productive. He reviews our hours on a regular basis, and I will often get a text from him saying something like, "I love the way you are managing your time out there - the way you are managing your logs is a thing of beauty!"

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks OS - That's a great example and you explained it we'll.

I remember reading on one company's website a while back - and for the life of me can't remember which one - that they don't allow their drivers to use the split sleeper rule (assuming I read it right). Are there allot of companies like that? Can the Qualcomm be set to disallow it? Seems like a great tool to have in your HOS toolbox.

On a lot of the QC's I hear about - it gives you the split AUTOMATICALLY (even if you don't want to run it that way).

JJ Keller's site has an explanation, that's at least somewhat as confusing as anyone else's.

Taking the slip as an 8/2, is a lot easier to calculate than a 2/8.

Basically, as an 8/2 - if you have 8 hours OD/Sleeper - your 14 hour clock FREEZES at the point you started your break. So if you drive 3 hours, took an 8 - you would have 8 left on your 11 and 11 left on your 14 - because BOTH CLOCKS STOP at the start of the break.

If you took the SECOND 2 HOUR BREAK (to complete the split) then BOTH CLOCKS ARE AT ZERO AT THE END OF THE FIRST BREAK. So, in the above example of driving 3 hours before the first split - where you had the 8/11 left on your clocks - you would GET BACK THAT 3 HOURS at the end of the 2nd break.

Where this is useful, is if you get STUCK at a drop/pickup for an extended period of time - your 14 hour clock is BURNING the entire time. You stay for whatever ADDITIONAL TIME you need to, to make it a full 8, and you get that 8 back on your 14 clock.

This assumes you STAY OD for the entire time at the stop - and most QC's allow you to edit your last "change of duty status".

QC's that automatically do the splits, can confuse the he11 out of drivers - who all of a sudden end up with MORE TIME than they thought they had, forcing them to re-calculate their trip planning. It's EVEN MORE FUN if you're "running on re-caps", and get hours back after midnight while you're driving.

Rick

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Fatsquatch 's Comment
member avatar

Thanks OS - That's a great example and you explained it we'll.

I remember reading on one company's website a while back - and for the life of me can't remember which one - that they don't allow their drivers to use the split sleeper rule (assuming I read it right). Are there allot of companies like that? Can the Qualcomm be set to disallow it? Seems like a great tool to have in your HOS toolbox.

Interstate doesn't prohibit drivers from using the 8/2 split, but they do prefer that we only use it when absolutely necessary. Why? Two reasons. First, so drivers don't miscalculate their hours and end up screwing themselves and potentially causing a service failure. Second, for driver safety to help ensure drivers get adequate rest and aren't driving fatigued. There are times, though, where you just gotta do what you gotta do, and they understand that, which is why it's still an option.

Today, for example, I'm taking a load out of Foster Farms in Livingston, CA that delivers at the Wally World in McCarran, NV at 0530 tomorrow. My scheduled load ready time (preloaded) was 1900, but because I showed up at 0900 they had me stick my empty in a door for a live load...which took 6 hours. Because I started my clock at 0230, my 14 hour clock is just about dry, but if I sit here for about another 90 minutes now, I'll have plenty of hours to run the load across to the final, park in the dirt across the road from the DC until about 0430, and then creep across the road slowly enough that my QC doesn't trigger and finish out a 10 hour break while they're unloading my trailer. Why am I doing it this way? Because my next load will be waiting for me at our drop yard in French Camp, CA around 1100, and I'll need hours to get there and get rolling with it. If I were to take a full break here and then run straight over, more likely than not I'd end up not having enough hours left to even get to French Camp by the time Walmart was done.

As OS said, these are the sort of things that get you noticed in a good way.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Patrick C.'s Comment
member avatar

Since Rickipedia came to the rescue no need for me to go into all the details. I prefer doing a 2/8 split but that is just me.

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok, as a student who has a month before heading off to a company, I'm not fully wrapping my head around this just from the thread. I do however want to have a full understanding how best to manage my time out there so here's a question before I waste a bunch of time studying this. My wife and I are going to be running as a team, is this applicable for teams or is it something that will just never be a factor for us?

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