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13.6 Calculating Your Hours When Using The Split Sleeper

Now let’s dig a little deeper into the rules of the split sleeper as we try and grasp how they work. We have established that the split-sleeper provision will not fully reset our 11 and 14-hour limits. So what happens to those limits? This is probably the most misunderstood portion of this provision. It is misunderstood because it is confusing. We will try to break it down so we can all grasp the powerful effects of this intriguing HOS provision. We can assure you that top-tier drivers all across the country use these provisions to increase their productivity and their income. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be among them, enabling yourself to be the best you can be at this rewarding career.

There are a few things you have to keep in mind when using the split-sleeper-berth rule. We’ve covered this already, but here is a simple review:

  • One break must be a minimum of 2 hours, and the other break must be a minimum of 7 hours.
  • When you combine the two breaks they must total at least 10 hours.
  • The longer of the two breaks must be logged in the sleeper berth.
  • Neither break period counts against your 14-hour clock.

Example #1:

Okay, let’s dig into an example or two to see if we can wrap our minds around this fascinating rule. Remember that you do not fully reset your 11 and 14-hour clocks with the split sleeper. You will reset specific times, and these examples are to help you understand how to calculate your hours when using the split-sleeper-berth rule.

This first example assumes the driver involved just finished a 10-hour break and has fully reset his 11 and 14-hour clocks. Here is an example of our first trucker’s logs.


Our driver started his day at 0200 (2:00 a.m.) He performed a 15-minute pre-trip inspection, and then proceeded to drive at 2:15 a.m. He drove 5 hours and 45 minutes, arriving at his consignee at 0800. His appointment was for 0830, so he is 30 minutes early. He backs into the door they’ve assigned him and logs 30 minutes of on-duty time. Then he decides to switch his logs to sleeper berth and take a little rest while he is waiting for them to unload him. He gets a full 2 hours of rest before he has to log back on duty to get his paperwork signed and check out with security.

Now, he drives for 1 hour and 15 minutes to his next shipper’s location. Unfortunately they are not ready for him, but they will allow him to park on their property until they can get his load ready. He parks and logs himself onto the sleeper berth line. It’s a good thing he does too. They take a lot of time to get his trailer loaded. Finally he is loaded at 2000 (8:00 p.m.). He logs himself back on duty, checks his load and gets his paperwork before starting his drive. Finally, he needs to know how many hours he has to drive.

Here is how that works: He got the first half of his split sleeper done when he took the 2-hour break at his consignee. His original 14-hour clock was to expire at 1600 (4:00 p.m.) because he started his day at 0200 (2:00 a.m.). The rules say that neither break counts against the 14-hour clock, so that changes the time his 14-hour limit runs out. He took 2 hours off, so that extended his 14-hour limit to 1800 (6:00 p.m..)

Then, he took the second half of the split sleeper while waiting to be loaded at his shipper. That gives him a total of 10 hours off duty when he combines those two breaks. This allows him liberty to drive again, but he needs to know how many hours he can use now. Since the 8-hour break he took doesn’t count against his 14-hour clock, we need to know how many hours were left on his 14-hour clock when he started that 8-hour break. That’s simple - he started it at noon. We know that he had 6 hours left on his 14-hour clock at noon. His first break had extended his 14-hour clock to 1800 (6:00 p.m.). Therefore he will still have 6 hours left after the 8-hour break. That 8-hour break does not count against his 14-hour clock. His new 14-hour clock expires at 0200 (2:00 a.m.).

But wait, there’s more!

We need to know how many driving hours he has now. That is what his 11-hour clock represents. If you look at his logs above you will see that he started his day at 0200. He has driven a total of 7 hours before starting his second half of his split-sleeper berth. That is what he has used from his 11-hour clock. Then you can see that he has used up 8 hours of his 14-hour clock. That is the combined total of on duty and driving time. Those hours are used up. What remains will be used in our new calculation.

Remember the 2-hour break did not count against the 14-hour clock. That moved his 14-hour clock from expiring at 1600 (4:00 p.m.) to expiring at 1800 (6:00 p.m.). When he began his second break he had 6 hours remaining on his 14-hour clock and 4 hours remaining on his 11-hour clock. After he completes that second break, there is a new calculation.

We now must add in the time he gets back for taking a total of 10 hours with his combined two breaks. He gets back the total of the time he used prior to his first break. Can you remember what he did? He started at 0200 (2:00 a.m.). We come up with a total of 45 minutes on duty when we combine his pre-trip inspection and the time he used while checking in and finding his door at his consignee. He also had a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes drive time. By adding his driving time and his on-duty time together, we come up with a total of 6.5 hours to be added to his 14-hour clock.

After his second break he will have 6.5 hours to be added on his 14-hour clock and 5 hours and 45 minutes added on to what remains of his 11-hour clock. The 5 hours and 45 minutes of driving time will be added to his remaining 4 hours, giving him a new total of 9.75 hours for his 11-hour clock. The 6.5 hours from the start of his day to the point where he started his first break, is added to the 6 hours he had remaining. Giving him 12.5 hours on his 14-hour clock, which means his new 14-hour limit expires at 8:30 a.m..

Multiple-Choice Questions:

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