Collegedale, TN-based McKee Foods Transportation LLC has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for an exemption from hours-of-service rules to allow team drivers to split their mandatory 10 hours of rest into two periods provided that neither period is less than three hours. Current rules governing split rest for team drivers require a rest period of at least eight hours with another two hours in the berth and/or off duty.

McKee told FMCSA that having the flexibility to switch with a partner allows each driver to take advantage of shorter time periods when they may feel fatigued. It also will result in a more flexible work pattern, allowing both drivers to perform warehouse functions together to reduce driver unloading time and improve maneuvering in the warehouse, McKee said.

The company identified some countermeasures it said would maintain safe operations if the exemption is granted:

  • Every week, all transportation operations shut down one hour prior to sundown on Friday until one hour after sundown on Saturday, resulting in a minimum 26 hour off-duty home time for all drivers in addition to two or three days home time during the week
  • All tractors are equipped with speed limiters
  • Drivers use EOBRs to track their duty time and HOS compliance
  • Drive time is reduced from 11 hours to 10 hours. Team drivers are limited to 10 hours of driving prior to completing their required 10 hours total in the sleeper berth
  • Behavior-based event data is monitored from the EOBR to enhance safety measures already in place to help reduce the probability of accidents on the road.

McKee’s exemption application also cites an FMCSA-sponsored study finding that when consolidated nighttime sleep is not possible, split sleep is preferable to consolidated daytime sleep.

The public has 30 days to comment on McKee’s request. For a copy of McKee’s exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov and search FMCSA-2014-0071.