The impact of the new hours of service (HOS) rules will affect fleets productivity differently -- as much as a 19 percent loss for some carriers – according to Don Osterberg, VP-capacity development and safety for Green Bay, WI-based truckload carrier Schneider National.

“I think the impact is going to be variable – it will depend on freight characteristics and the type of trucking operation involved,” he told Fleet Owner. “Therefore, we believe there will be a range of impact on trucking productivity, between 2% to 19%.”

Osterberg stressed that fleets and shippers can do all the route re-engineering and freight modeling they like to calculate the impact of the new HOS rules that go into effect next year, but none of it will matter unless they focus on the human element involved.

“We have to keep in mind as we deal with HOS changes what the impact will be on the driver – that’s the critical part,” he said.

“For example, you may solve transport and delivery time issues, but if through that process you cut the number of nights a driver is home per week – say from five under the old rules to two under the new ones – you’ll lose that driver,” Osterberg explained. “So fleets have to keep the human behind the wheel in mind as they make their adjustments.”