New Research Adds to Hours of Service Mix

August 7, 2013

By Oliver Patton

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe
Photo: Jim Park
Photo: Jim Park

Just as the hours of service changes take effect, here’s new research on how the rules could affect operations and safety.

Two academics, Asvin Goel of Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, and Thibaut Vidal of MIT and the Centre for Research on Transportation in Montreal, studied how carriers can use route optimization to get the most out of their operations under the new rules.

In a separate study they analyzed the impact of the new 34-restart and rest break requirements, finding that they will reduce accident risk by up to 2% while increasing costs by less than 0.2%.

This cost assessment is significantly lower than others. The economist Nöel Perry, for example, believes the new rule will lead to a 2% to 3% reduction in overall industry productivity. Goel and Vidal also said that the risk of crashes could be cut by 5% if daily driving time were limited to 10 hours rather than the current 11. The cutback would increase transportation costs by less than 1%, they said.

“Our results indicate that in their regulatory impact assessment the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may have underestimated the safety benefit of reducing the daily driving time limit and overestimated the resulting cost increase,” the researchers said.

“It may well be that the net benefit of reducing the daily driving time to 10 or even 9 hours is positive,” Goel said.

This observation runs counter to what FMCSA found in its analysis. The agency considered cutting daily driving time to 10 hours, but decided not to because its cost-benefit analysis showed that 11 hours offered a greater net benefit than either 10 hours or nine hours.

But the work of Goel and Vidal may yet play into the hours of service debate, because the agency has said it is committed to conducting a comprehensive analysis of risk, hour-by-hour, and it does not consider the case for the 10-hour limit closed.

In the route optimization study, the researchers said they developed an algorithm that enabled them to compare carrier operations under hours of service rules in different countries.

“Our experiments demonstrate that European Union rules lead to the highest safety, whereas Canadian regulations are the most competitive in terms of economic efficiency,” they said.

“Australian regulations appear to have unnecessarily high risk rates with respect to operating costs. The recent rule change in the United States reduces accident risk rates with a moderate increase in operating costs.”

The optimization method also gives carriers a way to adapt their operations to changes in hours of service rules, they said.




  1. 1. Kevin J. Reidy [ August 08, 2013 @ 08:28AM ]

    I have come to the conclusion after extensive, exhaustive, massively researched, footnoted, annotated, and bullshitted study done by me that there are no two people doing the exact same study using the exact same data that can agree on any one thing in regards to the trucking business.

    These people are going do re-regulate this industry mercilessly until it is entirely broken.

  2. 2. Lee Lenard [ August 08, 2013 @ 09:47AM ]

    Kevin...Soo o right....why not regulate Florida Orange Growers based on how well orange trees grow in Canada! Drivers and companies got a real break when Joe Clapp re-wrote the HOS rules instituting the 34 hour reset. Everyone, even the buying public benefitted. Highway safety related to trucks and drivers became the best records in decades. This sets the transportation industry back at least 3 decades. Right now this is all rambling around at the lower management levels and agency/enforcement level. Give it one year until the Chief Executives and "Boards" of major distribution, manufacturing and logistic companies realize the cost and loss of efficiency these new rules force on this Nation and Wall Street will scream loud enough that someone in Washington will wake up!

  3. 3. rob [ August 08, 2013 @ 06:33PM ]

    How about we reduce driving hours to zero. That would ensure every carrier was completely accident free(bankrupt as well). Also I believe there should be a study on how many hours academic idiots work so they can be regulated to reduce their emissions as well. We need an HOS so asto reduce the amount of bs.

  4. 4. delrio [ August 12, 2013 @ 10:22AM ]

    what they need to do is jump in a truck and learn first hand the real effect of this new HOS regulations. and of course if you cut down the hours to 10 or 9 hours driving the accident rate will the crease but will be added on the following day. this people only know numbers not what realy takes place in the trucking industry. all this 34-hour restart is doing is costing us money.

  5. 5. Texan2dabone [ August 14, 2013 @ 07:02AM ]

    When they discuss reducing driving hours to reduce accidents, let us point out that most accidents occur during the first hour of duty. If they can eliminate the first hour alone, we may be onto something. The new provisions of two 1-5 periods severely limit the restart option, I will not sit 40+ hours for a reset unless paid for my time.

  6. 6. Amish Trucker [ August 14, 2013 @ 07:43AM ]

    Comparing the EU to the United States? I guess nobody has yet learned Just In Time works so well in Japan because the distance traveled from point A to B are often less than distance traveled in 1 state in the US. Just In Time only works in the US because carriers are required to maintain massive inventories of trailers to store product. Warehouse costs have simply been moved to Transportation costs and to justify the increase, carriers are constantly being pushed into lowering rates or the 3PL's constantly farm freight out to the cheapest bidder. Apples to Apples folks. Old Amish proverb.

  7. 7. Amish Trucker [ August 14, 2013 @ 07:59AM ]

    "By optimizing plans and schedules?" DOH! Why are you letting our secret out??? All along we just thought FMCSA was too dumb to think the trucking industry had any idea optimization was a viable solution to counter the effects of overregulation. If the big carriers and their big lobbies can't scream cost cost, what defense do we have left? Here is the thing. The big carriers with their massive customer databases and trucks flooding interstate highways do not make up the majority of the trucks on the road, according to registration information. Here is another secret. The carriers that do make up the majority and do not have economies of scale DEPEND on optimization to SURVIVE. They are optimized to the max. And the term supply chain is incorrect. It is a supply slinky because it is the carrier that is required to be flexible so that Production Schedulers and even 3PL's can pat themselves on the back and say "see how good my performance is." So be careful in who you determine has the ability to "optimize," because in the supply slinky, the ends are always fixed and when government tries to "fix" the middle, the slinky can't walk down the stairs.

  8. 8. Robert [ September 10, 2013 @ 03:22AM ]

    How the hell about this. If you do not drive you shut the fuck up this is bull. Ok now they want to cut our hours to reduce accidents. This is crazy who is going to stop that person that has been up all day worked all night. From getting behind the wheel. And hitting us. Ok say u cut us back to ten hours a day. Then let us drive all 7 days. How about lettin is drive 10 hours a day as long as we have a break in between shifts.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All