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Could Split-Sleeper Flexibility Help Prevent Truck Accidents?

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In 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a fellow comedian, James McNair, lost his life when they were the victims of a truck accident. The driver of the Walmart truck that crashed into Morgan and McNair’s vehicle had reportedly not slept for around 28 hours prior to the deadly wreck.

While there are laws in place to prevent truckers from getting behind the wheel without enough sleep, in some cases, truck drivers and trucking companies violate these rules to meet strict deadlines. This can include falsifying their logbooks, which help keep track of their driving and rest times, as well as violating hours-of-service regulations, which are in place to ensure drivers are always well-rested when they are driving.

A trucking company in Tennessee is seeking to employ a new safety measure to help prevent truck accidents. Per FleetOwner, Dillon Transportation LLC submitted a request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding split-sleeper flexibility.


Dillon Transportation’s fleet includes 103 trucks and 50 team drivers. According to FleetOwner, Dillon’s request to the FMCSA involves allowing its team drivers to split their required 10 hours of rest time into two periods. Currently, each driver must take a 10-hour break between driving shifts. Therefore, one trucker is on-duty for 10 hours while the other is off-duty during that time. Under Dillon’s proposal, instead of taking a 10-hour break, their drivers could choose between one of three break time splits:

  • 5 hours off duty/5 hours off duty
  • 3 hours off duty/7 hours off duty
  • 4 hours off duty/6 hours off duty

The truckers would be on duty for at least 3 hours and up to 7 hours between the two breaks. Dillon’s trucks are equipped with double-bunk sleepers, which means both drivers could break at the same time if they both needed or wanted to rest.

Dillon’s proposal would give its truckers the flexibility to drive for shorter periods if they are feeling fatigued without having to pull over to stop and sleep. This means they could still meet deadlines without engaging in unsafe acts, such as drowsy driving. The FMCSA granted a similar split-sleeper flexibility to another trucking company, McKee Foods Transportation, in March 2015.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Nashville truck accident lawyer Stanley A. Davis has been successfully fighting for 18-wheeler accident victims and their families throughout Davidson County and its surrounding areas since 1997.

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