News

Hours of Service (HOS)

Dr. Mary C. Holcomb
Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management
Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management
College of Business Administration
University of Tennessee
mholcomb@utk.edu

Mr. Dean Vavalides
Logistics Analyst
Pilot Flying J
Dean.Vavalides@pilottravelcenters.com

Background

Changes to the current Hours of Service (HOS) Rule took effect in July 2013. The new regulation was established to increase transportation safety related to commercial motor vehicles (CMV). As noted by its name, HOS specifies the amount of time a CMV driver can operate this type of vehicle in any given day or week. Over the years, many organizations have debated highway safety, arguing for stricter policies and procedures on the trucking industry. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among Americans 1-34 years old. Of these crashes, the DOT estimates that commercial motor vehicles are involved in one out of every eight traffic fatalities (FMCSA, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts, November 2011). Data from the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety report that large trucks are involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes at twice the rate of passenger vehicles (The Dangers of Large Trucks, 2005). These facts are some of the compelling reasons why the federal government has been engaged in constructing and implementing policy to increase highway safety. One of the outcomes of these efforts was the creation of HOS. The regulation was aimed at decreasing the amount of CMV accidents due to driver fatigue.

In addition to the benefits that have resulted from the regulation, previous research has shown there have also been some negatives. Primarily, these include increased transportation costs and decreased transportation efficiency resulting from the HOS demands for more driver break time. Because drivers have less hours to accomplish the same amount of work, excess capacity is demanded, which lowers productivity and ultimately leads to higher costs for both the carrier and shipper.

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