Trucking fleets could save at least $150 million in annual operational costs and 2.3 million driving hours if provided additional hours-of-service flexibility.
Those were the findings of a new study from the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI).
“No two trips are the same; even with identical origins and destinations,” ATRI said in the report. “The opportunity for a driver to adapt to changing conditions and congestion levels throughout a day is critical, and could be greatly enhanced with the addition of flexible sleeper berth rules to the current HOS regulations.”
The study comes a week after the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration opened a public comment period regarding several potential changes to the existing HOS rules.
ATRI focused on a congested 40-mile stretch of urban highway in Atlanta. Using GPS data, it compared the current split rest break of 8 and 2 hour increments, with a more flexible 6 and 4 hour split.
The research showed the time it took to travel the route ranged from a low of 40 minutes to over 90 minutes during rush hours, a more than doubling of driving time and related operational costs.
Expanding that out to a larger 585-mile trip, the driver could avoid congestion, and save 45 minutes. Similar results were also found for 7/3 and 5/5 split scenarios, ATRI said.
ATRI said if only 25 trips per day avoided congestion, truckers would drive 4,700 fewer hours annually. For a fleet with 25 trucks, savings would be over $300,000 per year.