GPS and Trucking — HOS (hours Of Service) Part 2

As Dave Barry is famous for saying, "I’m not making this up".  You may think part 1 of this series was complicated, but when you get into local commercial vehicle operations, you ain’t seen nothing yet: (Reference)

Summary of the 100 air-mile radius HOS provision in § 395.1(e)(1)

The 100 air-mile radius exception in Part § 395.1(e)(1) is an option to use time records in lieu of RODS on days when the driver meets the conditions of the exception, which are:

  • The driver operates within a 100 air-mile ( 115 statute miles) radius of the normal work reporting location, and
  • The driver returns to the work reporting location and be released from duty within 12 consecutive hours, and
  • The driver maintains time records as specified in the rule, and
  • The driver is not covered by the "non-CDL 150 air-mile radius" provision.

Summary of the Non-CDL 150 air-mile radius provision in Part § 395.1(e)(2)

Drivers of non-CDL vehicles (those vehicles not requiring a CDL, as defined in Part 383 to operate) who are operating within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location and return to their normal work reporting location at the end of their duty tour are now covered by separate HOS provisions. Drivers meeting these conditions are not eligible for the existing 100 air-mile radius provision in § 395.1(e)(1) or the current 16-hour exception in § 395.1(o), since those conflict with this new Non-CDL 150 air-mile radius provision. These drivers are required to comply with the following:

(a) The 11 hours driving, minimum 10 hours off-duty, 14 consecutive hour duty period, 60/70 hours in 7/8 days, 34-hour restart all apply.

(b) On any 2 days of every 7 consecutive days, the driver may extend the 14-hour duty period to 16 hours.

(c) There is no requirement that the driver be released from duty at the end of the 14- or 16-hour duty periods . The driver may continue to perform non-driving duties, which would be counted against the 60/70 hour weekly limitation.

(d) Time records may be used in lieu of records of duty status.

I’m particularly interested in this subject because nearly every day I talk to business owner who fall under one or both of these provisions and, in general, they have their necks stuck out a country mile.  Here’s some typical examples:

  • A company operates out of one city, say Colorado Springs and their drivers return to Colorado Springs virtually every night. 
  • Owner says, I have no need of anything to help me track miles and hours of service, my drivers don’t even need CDL’s (Commercial Driver’s Licenses) for my vehicles.

Fine, I reply, that probably puts you under the so-called 150 mile exemption, so how do you calculate compliance?  "Why, by the odometer", he replies with a look that tells me he thinks I’m not too bright.  Take a look at the map below and tell me how many areas he’s been excluding … or how many areas he might have broken the law in.  The first complexity here is, it’s not odometer mileage, it’s a radius of operation from the driver’s reporting point.

The turquoise circle is the approximate "150 mile" radius that can be used by the non-CDL vehicles.  Yes, just to be confusing the law uses the term "air miles" which actually don’t exist.  The proper definition is a radius in Nautical miles, so the "100 mile* rule vehicles can actually be 115 miles "as the crow flies" and the "150 mile rule" drivers can venture 172.6 miles from home station.

In case you’re wondering, lots of cities and little towns inside that circle that are going to show more than 150 miles on the odometer.  So if an owner gets too cautious and defines the rule in a way the law doesn’t, he could exclude himself from a lot of territory.

On the other hand, suppose he made trip to Fort Collins.  But on that day he just happened to use one of his vehicle that does require a CDL to operate.  Ooops.  Suppose it was a non-CDL vehicle, but it happened six months ago.  Would he be able to prove which vehicle went to Fort Collins and which ones didn’t on a given day?

How many hours did each driver spend driving on any given day, and were they driving a "100 mile" or "150 mile" vehicle.  The business operator is responsible for those records, and more.  Did each driver work not more than 14 hours before s/he stopped driving?  Did he work in addition to the 14 hours on given days and was that time counted towards his duty time for the 7 or 8 day maximum rules?  Did any drivers take the special 16 hour duty day exception?  Did they have the required 14 hour days or days off in between the 16 hour days?

I don’t know about you, but this stuff gives me a headache.  But the very operator who I’m talking about here has a branch in Grand Junction.  Does he send drivers there sometimes?  Yup?  Do they then use RODS (Logbook)?  "Oh, no, I don’t believe that’s over the 150 mile limit", is what he told me.  What do you think?

Folks, if you operate vehicles commercially, paying drivers to operate them, even if they are as small a passenger car (should they ever, even once in a while, carry goods), you better wake up.  A federal audit of you operation could really, really, really wreck your day.

Think seriously about GPS tracking your vehicles and make sure the system you select:

  • Keeps your data indefinitely (many don’t)
  • Gives you your data in a standard format (like Microsoft Excel) so you can ‘feed’ it to other tools
  • Positively identifies who drove which vehicle, when, because it’s the records of individual drivers that the law requires you to keep … and the law doesn’t seem that simple to me.

Is GPS Tracking Only For CSI Sleuths?

Came across a pretty interesting and useful service/smart phone app the other day while I was perusing the usual semi-useless plethora of “Angry Birds” and other time-wasters most people waste their smart phone time with.

It’s called See It Ship and it’s simple in execution but masterful in scope.

Here’s a few facts you might think about to get an idea of why I call this ap “masterful”

There will soon be a mobile device for every prson on the planet … 2015 or so by current projections.

Most of those mobiles come with GPS tracking built in, or available as an add on.  Thus most delivery vehicles already are equipped (or can be very easily) equipped with GPS tracking … even bicycle messengers and foot del;ivery persons.

See It Ship
GPS for Brand-Building Instead of CSI

Most customers/clients who are waiting for deliveries have more thna apassing interest in knowing where their inbound shipments are and when they are likley to arrive.

Most shippers have way more than a passive interest in where their outbound shipments are.  Especially because they aren’t going to get paid until the shipment is delivered in many cases.

Most companies mouth words about “customer care” and “client communication”, but truth be told, dealing with call after call about “where’s my stuff” is a big pain in the nether regions and produces absolutely no direct revenue.

Most CEO’s and other small business owners “say” they want to “build their brand”, and frankly it’s hard to make any argument against establishing one’s company as an industry leader.

Bottom line is, one deleivery truck and one supplier often look suspsicously like another … any wonder UPS has spent a fortune on being recognized around the world as “Brown”?  I mean what does “Brown” have t do with shipping?  Not much exceot that people in Indiaand China know what it means, as well as in the USA.

Most managers who have invested in GPS tracking seem to have been watching far too many CSI shows.  It seems to many that the only thing GPS is good for is catching errant drivers doing somehting wrong.  Now don’t gte me wrong, this needs to be done … but …

What if there was a good use for GPS that:

  • Made you clients feel nformed and special
  • Gave everyone in the shipping hain insight with nothing more thna an iPhone
  • Showed off the timely performance of your best drivers.
  • Reducved overhead and continulay distractions fo you customert service staff
  • Helped build your brand as aleader in your paticlular field
  • And was already deplyed across most of the world as was essentially free to use (wihtin the US, anweay)
World you want to know more about a system like that?
Well now you already do.  Just go to See It Ship and learn more

Can GPS Tracking Pay For Itself In Vehicle Idling Savings Alone?

Many of us have heard the phrase “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”, or words to that effect.  The first documented source I can find is: IDLE HANDS ARE THE DEVIL’S TOOLS – "Idleness is the root of mischief. This maxim has been traced back to Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Melibee’ (c. 1386).

Idling vehicles are even worse that idling hands, (although here are some interesting examples of what your employees are probably doing while you aren’t watching) … and in today’s world where we are “Triple Challenged” by the global recession, the high cost of fuel and the growing awareness of our need to protect our planet, idling vehicles has got to stop .. we need to do something now, today.

Unlike a lot of things we “know” we are supposed to be doing but can’t because they cost to much, or the technology isn’t there yet, GSP Fleet Tracking Systems can stop excess idling cold .. and pay for itself with reduced idling alone.

My GPS Tracking blogging colleague Rob Donat runs a great company in Arizona where he’s had astounding success in selling GPS Fleet Management via GPS into the notoriously light market of the past few years.

Here’s a great report he just published on how much money is being wasted with excess vehicle idling and how fast a business can end the problem with a great ROI.

You can (and should) read more about idling and the rest of the fascinating things Rob’s company,GPSInsight is doing here, but I’ve extracted this to show you Rob and the rest of us who know what really is going on in the fleets of America can do to put their money where their mouth is:

Decrease from 20% to 5% idling over 3 months

… The full report shows all the particulars & shows very clearly the effects of both using GPS Insight as well as managing the drivers to stop idling:

Decrease from 20% to 5% idling over 3 months

Note that this is only one of our thousand customers, and only 234 vehicles. I like the fact that GPS Insight truly is helping our customers make a big difference both in terms of saving fuel money, and the environment.

Another report shows that they have saved roughly TWO THOUSAND IDLING HOURS across their fleet of 234 vehicles by eliminating that 15% idling (based on 13,000 hours driven in the past month). With fuel costs plus wear & tear easily costing $5 per hour, they’ve seen a $10,000 PER MONTH savings, which is $42 per vehicle. We charge them $32.95.  So they make $9 per month just by reducing idling, and now they have all the other benefits of GPS Insight for free – efficient dispatch, proof of delivery, proof of driver hours worked, reduction in speeding, theft recovery, and so on.

Plus they’re not pi$$ing on the planet anymore…

Take a minute to let this sink in.  In my years of selling and servicing these systems the most common excuse I have hard time and time again is “We can’t afford it.”

Well the truth is, you can’t afford NOT to use GPS tracking equipment to mange your fleet.  It doesn’t cost money, it makes you money.  If every delivery truck, school bus, snow plow,coach or taxi you have out there in your fleet brought you in an additional $9 a month profit, what would that do to your bottom line?

And the idling issue is only the tip of the iceberg of business problems you can save with GPS Fleet Vehicle Tracking equipment.

About the Magellan Roadmate GPS

Ferdinand Magellan was the first explorer to circumnavigate the globe. He did so under the Spanish crown in the 16th century. Since that time, the name Magellan has stood for navigation far and wide. Is it any wonder that there is a firm for global tracking services, therefore, named Magellan? Is it any wonder that the Magellan Roadmate series includes prime features for easy navigation and easy use?

Ferdinand Magellan was the first explorer to circumnavigate the globe. He did so under the Spanish crown in the 16th century. Since that time, the name Magellan has stood for navigation far and wide. Is it any wonder that there is a firm for global tracking services, therefore, named Magellan? Is it any wonder that the Magellan Roadmate series includes prime features for easy navigation and easy use?

The Magellan Roadmate series consists of several models of handheld GPS devices for the North American continent including the United States. Each one has ease of use through their interactive displays that are so simple to understand, you really don’t even need to read the directions! The common features include six million points of interest (POI). With these points, you can click on the icon and the GPS will give you directions, including which exit to take, as well as other helpful information about the locations. POIs include gas stations, hotels, ATMs that are searchable by category, name, and city or nearest to your position.

Other features are listed below. The home icon lets you select any location as your home base. QuickSpell is a Magellan Roadmate GPS system feature that checks your spelling as you type, and can quickly search addresses and POIs. SayWhere is a text-to-voice feature that can provide street names and step by step directions to get you to your next location. SmartDetour and Auto re-route are two of the best features to help you avoid heavy traffic, construction, or road closures. The Magellan Roadmate helps you navigate around these frustrating situations, and will re-evaluate your route to keep you on track, even as you turn off the original route. Auto NightView is a great feature that automatically adjusts the LCD screen brightness and color for optimal viewing in low light settings. All Roadmate GPS systems have address books available so that you can save repeat information for future trips. This way, you avoid having to repeatedly search for the same POI.

There are a number of other great features that aren’t common to all models. As an example, the Roadmate 1430 has a useful tow truck icon to indicate your exact location so that tow trucks can get to you quickly and easily in case of an emergency. The 1430, 1400, and 1200 models also feature 2D and 3D views for enhanced route visualization. Every Magellan Roadmate comes standard with detailed and accurate maps for every country in North America, plus Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and pinpoints your location precisely to within 3 meters in real time. Each unit has rechargeable batteries that last for up to three hours before the next recharge. The Magellan Roadmate GPS creates customizable travel routes, and some models can hold as many as twenty locations at one time!

Users love the flexibility and grand detail received in using these sleek little compact GPSs, especially since you can take them anywhere! You can also attach it to your windshield or dash with accessories that comes with. There is a volume adjustment so you can hear around noisy situations, and the level will come back down when it becomes quieter. Additional maps are available for download for the UK and European countries, as well. For everyday life, excursions into traffic or your own little epic adventure, the Magellan Roadmate GPS is a fantastic buy!

About the Author:

Use of Public Transit is Soaring — ITYS

For years now as city mayors and mangers rode to work by themselves in their BMW’s and Cadillac’s, that transit is going to be the salvation of your city — if it can be saved, that is. You read it here first. Now read what USA Today has to say ..

Use of public transit is soaring.

Transit agencies had record or near-record ridership in the first three months of the year, thanks to high gas prices, a mild winter and, in one city, the Super Bowl. By Joe Raedle, Getty Images Mass transit systems around the nation have seen a spike in ridership. Mass transit systems around the nation have seen a spike in ridership. At least a dozen communities set records for the number of people riding buses, trains and light rail, even though some cut service because of tight budgets, according to the American Public Transportation Association. More people returning to work helped, says Michael Melaniphy, the association’s president and CEO.

Public transportation use up across the nation in 2011

He says ridership on what’s called:

  • Heavy Rail — subways and elevated trains — increased in 14 of the 15 systems that have such transit.
  • Light Rail — streetcars and trolleys — rose in 25 of the 27 cities that have it.
  • Buses — 34 of 37 large cities saw increases in ridership.

"It’s nationwide," Melaniphy says. The result: fuller trains and buses straining the capacity of systems….

So why are you reading about this on a blog about GPS tracking system,s and technology?  Simple.

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of operation on these systems is the role GPS tracking can play in absolute bottom-line savings.

Sure. customer service is nice, but when the chips are down, as when you have to move more and more people with the same strained resources, GPS tracking should be one of the first places to look to improve your bottom line.

We in the industry have known this for years, but it’s surprising how many senior managers still think that GPS tracking is an excess cost that they can’t afford.  In fact, it pays.

GPS and Trucking — HOS (Hours Of Service) Part 1

Here’s another installment in the mini-series on why American trucking executives should pull their head from the sand and start maximizing the bottom line with GPS.

If you’re John Q. Public reading the mail here you may not even know what HOS represents.  If you’re a trucking manager you probably think of it as a nuisance.

Basically the US Federal Hours Of Service rules govern when a driver can and can’t drive.  In simplistic form they dictate that a driver can work 14 hours a day and be off for 10 … but oh my goodness it’s ever so much more complicated than that.

Here’s a great presentation I came upon courtesy of the Nebraska State Patrol.   look it over and then reflect on how well you think you can manage a trucking business just by sitting at a desk and relying on paper reports on an irregular basis,  Nebraska State Patrol Training Brief

Got that all committed to memory now?  Are you willing to risk fines of up to $11,000 per day per driver in violation?  And in some cases even criminal prosecution?  See here and here and here for just a few examples.  Notice that in addition to guilty please in a federal felony case one of the owners was ordered to pay more than a million dollars in fines and restitution.  Got that much headroom on your business errors and omissions policy?  Of course, many insurance policies don’t cover intentional criminal acts anyway

Want to think over something a lot cheaper and more reliable than insurance?  You can put a very accurate passive GPS tracker on your vehicles for less than $600 each and absolutely no monthly cost.  It would unalterably show when the vehicle is moving, sitting at idle or shut off.  Get hit with a charge of violating or letting your drivers violate the HOS rules and this could be a life saver.  Not to mention the fact that it would be continually monitoring the use of the vehicle, unauthorized idling time, speeding, taking free roads and charging you for tolls and any of 10,001 other ways you could be losing money.

If you want to spend a dollar a day you could get all that information real time.  Save 45 minutes of excess idling each day and the unit is paid for.  Get one extra delivery per month by managing driver’s hours more effectively and you’re making money hand over fist … and most GPS tracking users find they make an extra delivery per week, or more.

So would it cost, or would it pay?

Another Sad Story Chapter — From Boston, Who Once Had This problem Solved

Back in 2007/2008 the city of Boston found they had a tremendous problem with “rouge snowplows”.  Both city-owned vehicles and vehicles hired for plowing from independent contractors were:

  1. Not where they were scheduled to be
  2. Not where drivers said they were when queried on the radio.
  3. Not plowing city roads and property when they were charging the city for the time.
  4. Or, (a biggie), “working” on the lcock for the city while they were off plowing private drives and parking lots for “under the table” cash.

Wirh a great deal of reluctance  the leadership of the city decided to actually hold their employees accountable by requiring all snow plowing vehicles to be equipped with and tracked by GPS fleet tracking software.

A valiant step in the right direction … one which not only saved the city money, but resulted in much better snow plowing service to the citizens (who, of course, are ACTUALLY the bosses of the city).

Sadly it seems though that some, either ignorant, corrupt or else just plain uncaring leadership who arbitrarily decided that some city plows didn’t need to be tracked.

No GPS in stolen plow

GPS Tracking saves money for ALL fleetsGPS tracking devices — Boston’s first line of defense 
against double-dipping snow-plow drivers — were never installed in trucks owned by the city parks department despite a 2008 tech upgrade that put the abuse-busting trackers in hundreds of public works vehicles, officials admitted yesterday.

The lack of trackers in parks department trucks came to light after the Herald asked why there was no GPS device in a plow stolen Thursday night from Franklin Park in Dorchester and found early yesterday in Mattapan.

“The parks department has felt there was no pressing need for that,” office spokeswoman Jacqueline Goddard said. “However, we’re looking at it now.” (My emphasis)

Watchdogs say it doesn’t make sense to put trackers in some city-owned trucks and leave others to roam free.

“Any time you have an opportunity to remove any tempt­ation, it’s a great thing for the taxpayers to have that utilized,” said Matt Cahill, 
executive director of the Boston Finance Commission. “We’ve got the software, we’ve made the capital investment into the hardware.”

Cahill said without GPS, the only thing keeping parks-department plow drivers from slipping away to a side gig is “a very involved manager.” …

And that line alone may be the saddest example of management “Missing the Point” of using GPS tracking.

Managers should indeed be involved.  But they should be involved with actual management, not running around chasing after unruly drivers like a hapless substitute teacher who has lost control of an unruly reform school class.

One guy apparently is devoted to “counting trucks” … only when one seems to be missing, of course.  I guess in the summer he counts lawn mowers and string trimmers.

That isn’t “management” folks.  It is, instead, a senseless waste of both the manager’s talent and the taxpayer’s dollar.

Can we do a bit better in 2013, Folks?  Maybe?  Please?