Dr. Mary C. Holcomb
Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management
Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management
College of Business Administration
University of Tennessee
Mr. Dean Vavalides
Pilot in command J
Changes to the current Hours of Service (HOS) rule came into effect in July 2013. The new rule was established to increase the safety of commercial vehicle (CV) related transportation. As the name suggests, HOS specifies how long a VMC driver can drive this type of vehicle in a given day or week. Over the years, many organizations have debated road safety, calling for stricter policies and procedures for the trucking industry. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 1 and 34. Among these accidents, the DOT estimates that commercial vehicles are involved in one in eight fatal accidents (FMCSA, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts, November 2011). Data from the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety reports that large trucks are involved in multi-vehicle fatalities twice as many as passenger vehicles (The Dangers of Large Trucks, 2005). These facts are some of the compelling reasons why the federal government is committed to developing and implementing policy to increase road safety. One of the results of these efforts was the creation of HOS. The regulation was intended to reduce the number of VMC accidents due to driver fatigue.
In addition to the benefits that have resulted from regulation, previous research has shown that there are also downsides. These are primarily increased transportation costs and decreased transportation efficiency resulting from HOS demands for more driver break time. Because drivers have fewer hours to complete the same amount of work, excess capacity is required, which reduces productivity and ultimately leads to higher costs for the carrier and shipper.