Why considering Hours of Service (HoS) rules can deliver more accurate ETAs & keep drivers safe on the road

Posted: 31 August, 2021 | By Arne Seele

Every day, billions of miles are driven transporting goods* and all of these journeys will have a shared objective of making deliveries on time and to a precise location. They will also have an important commonality with respect to HoS. 

HoS refers to the maximum length of time drivers are allowed to remain on duty, based on driving times, break times and working legislation. It is enforced to guarantee that drivers take the necessary breaks during their journey, in order to recharge so that they can remain awake and cognizant when driving.

Why should HoS be a business-critical consideration?

One of the most compelling reasons for drivers to adhere to HoS regulations is that it reduces the risk of accidents. In a recent report from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), it was found that driving fatigued may be responsible for 1 in 5 of all road accidents and up to a quarter of serious and fatal crashes. Meanwhile, road safety campaigners, Think!, estimate that 40% of sleep-related accidents involve large commercial vehicles such as lorries/ trucks.*

These figures are especially alarming in light of the advances made in planning solutions that now provide full visibility of the entire journey, incorporating essential rest breaks for drivers along routes. However, some fleets still rely on whiteboards and spreadsheets for planning, which is highly inefficient and means HoS breaks are more likely to not be taken into account.
Blog Image 1 Final reduced 912x512Another important reason why HoS should be considered is to deliver on business commitments. Companies try to provide the most accurate ETAs to recipients, but as there are so many unforeseeable events that can occur on the road, ETAs can quickly change.

Some drivers are also given the flexibility to choose where they will stop along their route, and in these instances, when a driver does deviate from a pre-planned route and decides to stop elsewhere, the risk of violating HoS regulations and missing delivery windows increases. 

Using a commercial navigation solution, such as Trimble MAPS, allows drivers to choose the most ideal, time-efficient route which ensures any service level agreements (SLAs) can be met. Drivers can adjust to situations in real-time and decide when they think it's appropriate, but more importantly safe, to take a break at a rest stop. Based on driver action, the ETA will re-calculate accordingly to ensure both customer and fleet management have accurate and reliable information on the current status of their goods.
There are standardised HoS rules and regulations across the UK and Europe following the AETR agreement, but these rules do vary slightly in North America. However, due to the seriousness of such aforementioned statistical evidence, HoS regulations worldwide are specific and inflexible, and must be strictly adhered to. Any carriers operating commercial vehicles (or drivers transporting goods) who violate HoS guidelines could face heavy financial penalties depending on jurisdiction. 

For instance, on British roads the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) can impose fines on drivers of up to £1,500*, and in the US, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can hand out fines to both driver and carrier ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation. In some circumstances fines can even exceed $75,000 if the particular violation involves hazardous materials.*

How to avoid costly HoS violations

  1. Accurate trip planning - ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the legally needed HoS stops for drivers during the whole journey.

  2. Suitable HoS locations - Using a tool that will find and suggest safe, suitable truck service stations for every identified HoS stop along routes, and which will prevent drivers from stopping in dangerous areas lacking the essentials they need to effectively rest and refuel.

  3. Provide HoS Break flexibility - Allowing the driver to choose whether or not to take the break at the suggested location.

Are you planning routes for long-haul movement of goods?

If you want to maintain fleet-wide legal compliance, safeguard drivers and provide customers with reliable and accurate ETAs whilst considering local HoS rules, it may be worth getting in contact with us. 

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