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?