Trucker comfort. What should be the ideal berth in the cabin?
The comfort of sleeping places in the cab often causes controversy among truck drivers, each talking about their own brand of heavy truck, and giving arguments for and against. In European practice, regulated sizes of berths in the cab appeared only in 1990, and since then the main truck manufacturers have either stuck to them or increased them in the direction of comfort.
The unofficial opinion of individual inspectors of inspection services is: the more comfortable the sleeping place in the cab, the more tempting the driver is to spend a weekly rest in the truck, which is prohibited.
However, comfort is certainly important, because drivers spend a huge amount of time in the cab. Therefore, some manufacturers present cabins that literally look like small apartments, and some craftsmen make real houses for truckers.
As for improving the sleeping place itself, small convenient details appear – lighting, important switches at arm’s length, speakers, and so on.
The evolution of the sleeper cabin and experiments are very interesting; at different times, manufacturers introduced different options. These included “balconies” above the cab with or without windows, and berths in the upper rear part of the cab (truck drivers were forced to climb there using a ladder), and slider cabs when, if necessary, the cab roof moved forward and two berths were formed at the top.
For example, the innovative Mexican cockpit of 1963, which was supposed to create a sensation, ended up not very impressive to users. Manufacturers made a “pot-bellied” cabin, the doors were convex and this increased the interior space, the driver could stretch his legs. The American company Corbitt has gone the furthest, placing a berth directly under the hood, above the engine.
Modern sleeping arrangements
As a result, the dimensions of beds in trucks of European manufacturers were essentially fixed thanks to the German regulation DGUV Regel 114-006. The situation was such that the European Commission set new truck dimensions in 1990, noting that semi-trailers could no longer be extended by the tractor unit. Germany made its own clarifications, which were reflected in the regulations. In particular, special attention was paid to sleeping places.
This document influenced German manufacturers, and then European ones – competition and a conscious approach to the convenience of drivers played a role.