Sleeper compartment behind driver's compartment in a modern semi-trailer truck

A truck sleeper or sleeper cab is a compartment attached to the cabin of a truck used for rest or sleeping.

OriginEdit

The word "sleeper" references a sleeper car which is a railroad car with sleeping facilities for passengers travelling overnight. In the USA, in 1967 the Department of Transportation (DOT) was created. Through the Office of Motor Carriers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, DOT oversees a wide range of requirements such as braking standards, driver licensing standards and their maximum work hours, and the overall safety fitness of interstate carriers.

 
Early (1933) sleeper cab bed

New limits set for drivers on their maximum number of hours worked created a requirement stating a driver may work a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. These safety regulations required drivers to find a place to rest once they reached their maximum number of allotted hours. Many drivers chose to sleep in the cab or cabin of their trucks rather than pay for a road side motel. Truck manufacturers took notice of this and began developing trucks with extended cabs to provide a sleeping area for drivers. Similar regulations apply in Australia[1][2][3] and in other parts of the world.

Sleeper cabinsEdit

 
Modern sleeper cab interior

Sleeping berths came into use as early as the 1920s, but they were often unsafe and uncomfortable.[4] They nonetheless allowed owner-operators to spend months at a time on road, often driving in teams of two (one drove while the other slept).[4] With this successful formula, drivers began making requests to truck manufacturers for larger and larger sleeping cabins. Manufacturers began catering to owner operators who requested greater luxury. Sleepers were initially developed without comfort in mind at 18" to 24". They quickly grew to 36" to 48" with long haul drivers in mind. Their size came to be regulated in the US in the 1950s but length restrictions were removed in the 1980s.[4] Custom truck sleepers vary in size in modern trucks from 36" to the massive 230". Custom sleepers come equipped with many of the amenities of modern RVs. By 2000, approximately 70 percent of new trucks manufactured in the US included sleeper berths.[4]

ReferencesEdit