Unless the Canadian government changes its ‘split sleeper’ rules, Canadian drivers could be at a competitive disadvantage to U.S. drivers when the Hours of Service regulations become effective in January, according to the Owner-Operator's Business Association of Canada (OBAC).

OBAC has called upon the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and Transport Canada to introduce a ‘split-sleeper´ exception to the proposed revisions to Canada’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The ‘split-sleeper´ exception would allow drivers to obtain the requisite 10 hours of daily rest in two intervals rather than in a single period of at least eight consecutive hours.

While OBAC basically supports the current Canadian proposal, it recognizes the inherent incompatibility with the American rules. Those rules contain a split-sleeper exception, giving American drivers an added measure of flexibility on cross-border trips, OBAC officials said.

From a competitive standpoint, Canadians could be hurt by the lack of downstream enforcement of the Canadian rules by American facility-audit teams. They certainly will not be enforcing Canadian rules, while Canadian facility auditors will be acutely aware of the potential for a violation on a cross-border trip, and thus likely to vigorously enforce the rules at the facility-audit stage. That threat, real or perceived, will leave Canadian drivers and owner-operators struggling with the need to comply versus the need to remain competitive with their southern counterparts.