More carriers are saying HOS compliance isn’t enough when managing driver fatigue.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third of a three-part series on combating driver fatigue. Other stories in this series address technologies for managing driver fatigue and electronic logs.
Since converting to electronic logs – a process that began in January 2009 – C.R. England no longer is missing between 7 and 10 percent of its logs, as was the case when the company was using paper. The company’s out-of-service rate also dropped 75 percent last year.
But rather than limit the benefits of this technology to compliance, the nation’s largest refrigerated carrier also began to feed hours-of-service data into its load optimization platform. This advanced technology matches drivers to loads and identifies opportunities to swap or relay loads should drivers unexpectedly run out of hours while en route. C.R. England saw increases in both asset utilization and on-time service.
The Salt Lake City-based fleet also began feeding electronic HOS information into an advanced risk management platform. This technology uses predictive modeling to determine safety and fatigue scores for each driver. The scores are displayed in applications that load planners, dispatchers and driver and safety managers use on a daily basis. The company eventually may use the safety and fatigue scores as one of the criteria for matching drivers to loads, says Mark Fillmore, director of accident prevention.
As the final installment in a three-part series on managing driver fatigue, CCJ examines how fleets like C.R. England are using technology to go beyond mere compliance with HOS rules. For some carriers, managing driver fatigue is central to daily operations in both planning and executing loads.
Dispatch systems and electronic logs help both fleets and drivers plan more effectively and reduce fatigue. But these technologies by themselves leave the decision up to the driver as to when and where to obtain rest. Some fleets also take into consideration factors other than drivers’ HOS as part of managing the risks associated with fatigue.
“I am more worried about a driver that has been inactive too long as opposed to the driver that is working himself or herself to exhaustion – we just do not allow that scenario as part of staying compliant,” says John Coppens, vice president of operations for Little Rock, Ark.-based Maverick Transportation.
Maverick has a diverse fleet of flatbed, temperature control, bulk tanker, glass and machinery transport operations. All drivers returning to work after six consecutive days off are flagged automatically by management software and are considered out of service until a fleet manager has spoken with the driver and determines he is ready to return.
Maverick’s fleet and safety managers also are starting to monitor drivers’ work schedules to look for abrupt changes that might indicate fatigue. Drivers typically start their 10-hour break between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., but a traffic delay or customer service requirement might cause a driver to start his break at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m. instead.
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