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While searching to learn about Canada's new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, I read Tom Nightingale’s excellent article (LQ, Volume 9, Issue 4).

As a professional driver, maximum productivity is the target I endeavor to achieve. This means my equipment and my valuable time is utilized as efficiently as possible.

My career began in 1979 and I have seen many changes in the transportation industry during that time. The technological advances in today’s equipment make trucks safer and more efficient than ever. Clean-burning fuel efficient engines, better roads with higher speed limits and bigger trailers, not to mention driver comfort, all add up to a level of efficient utilization unimaginable 25 years ago.

The new HOS regulations are not an impediment to productivity and neither were the old regulations. It is abundantly clear that if drivers logged their time at a shipper or consignee legally –which means in most all cases, “on duty-not driving”–the old 15-hour rule would have meant no measurable difference compared to the new 14-hour rule. Under either set of regulations the ultimate limit to equipment utilization is driver fatigue. Until technology creates trucks that drive themselves, the human link will be the weakest.

Mr. Nightingale hit the proverbial nail on the head at the end of his article. “Those who have been using the driver’s time to offset internal inefficiencies...” are the words that Tom used to describe what is in truth, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to productivity in the transportation industry. For all the improvements in equipment and driver education, that is one area that has changed very little.

Many drivers are needlessly delayed waiting to load, unload and/or in one of the worst displays of exploitation, forced to re-stack palletized or slip-sheeted freight. By choosing to log any or all of this time as “off duty” or “sleeper berth” the driver gave up any chance there was for regulating this abuse.

I have great hope the new HOS regulations will curb the unfortunate practices that have developed over the years. My optimism is reserved as I see the change as painfully slow.

If the new HOS regulations save just one life, they will have paid a dividend worth more than any amount of money. That is, I believe, the primary objective.

As an added benefit to making the roads safer, the new rules should have a profoundly positive effect on productivity. It will, nonetheless, take time, as many will be resistant to change.

Jim Billups
Fergus Falls, MN

The Logistics Institute
(Toronto) and LQ

This noted is an excerpt of an Email from John Hurst, Hewlett Packard, to Victor Deyglio, president of the Toronto-based Logistics Institute

..Since I moved over to Compaq, and now HP, I have had one of my key staff, Paul Owens, obtain his P. Log and now another key person, Jenny Ho, start this program. In fact, Jenny just attended your Ethics module last week. My interest in writing is to once again stress my support for the program and its influence on the people once they come from the sessions.

Secondly, my boss, Thomas Day, (Director, NA Logistics Operations Hewlett-Packard Company) just in from the USA was very impressed with what you have developed and what we have here in Canada, especially, in the publication, Logistics Quarterly (LQ). He was ready to take my copy of the latest issue. However, I wouldn't let him, but wondered if you could put Tom on the distribution list for future issues. Tom was impressed by the quality of the articles.

John Hurst
Manager Transportation & Customs, Hewlett Packard Canada. Co.

“LQ is the Harvard Business Review of Logistics magazines.”

Suzanne Broadbent
Kuehne & Nagel

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