According to the US Hours of Service restrictions1, a driver can be on duty2 a total of 14 hours with a required 30-minute break. Of the 810 remaining minutes, 660 minutes (or 11 hours) can be spent driving, which leaves 150 minutes for other activities, such as pickup, delivery, idling, etc. However, in a recent study by BB&T1, an average of 390 minutes (6.5 hours) of the 660 minutes of available drive time is actually spent driving. Where does the rest of the time go?

There are many time-consuming activities that take up a driver’s 14-hour day that don’t include driving, such as preparation time, fueling up, personal time (meals/breaks), paperwork and shutting down for the day. Add to this the time spent loading/unloading trucks, dwell time/idling at gates, parking issues, etc. and drivers have even less time for driving.

How much more time is lost if the driver has to drive through a school zone when school is letting out? Or a major league game is taking place in a downtown area that causes major congestion – how much time would the driver lose just sitting in traffic? What about a major festival or street parade? There are a tremendous amount of things that can happen during a driver’s day to slow him down. Unfortunately when a driver starts his day, regardless of whether he stops for an activity, he is not considered “off duty.”

How can the efficiency of drivers be enhanced? By using a route planning system like Paragon’s, the efficiencies of drivers can be improved by:

  • Optimizing routes and schedules so that total planned mileage and driving time is reduced.
  • Agreeing on time windows for deliveries so that dwell times and idling will be reduced.
  • Utilizing rush hour tools to add times when traffic will increase so that the planning software can choose route combinations that avoid congested areas. Rush hour profiles can be also added to certain road links or cities or regions.
  • Clustering delivery areas with greater density of delivery drops to shorten routes and improve efficiency.
  • Smoothing driver workloads so that every driver is given a similar level of work.
  • Utilizing multi-tripping logic for drivers who could complete more than one trip per day. This will allow you to minimize the number of drivers required by combining trips efficiently while adhering to planning constraints.
  • Avoiding road closures resulting from major public events by introducing route deviations at specific times of the day, week or month by truck type.

Paragon provides tools to help transportation planners create schedules for drivers that comply with local regulations. This includes planning for breaks, weekly time constraints (drivers may work a certain number of hours each day, but they may not necessarily be allowed to work those same hours every day of the week), settings for loading and unloading times, and more. You can even plan for overnight data such as the minimum duration of an overnight break when away from the depot and overnight loading restrictions, which affects the goods that are allowed to be present on the vehicle at the time of an overnight break.

There are hundreds of more planning parameters that can be utilized within the Paragon routing and scheduling solutions – just pick the ones that will help your team improve your drivers’ efficiencies, while meeting customer service requirements.

If you would like to find out how you can maximize the efficiency of your transport operation, why not get in touch. One of our experienced team would be happy to talk through your challenges.

1 New Hours-of-Service Safety Regulations to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue Begin Today,
2 BB&T study quoted in J.B. Hunt white paper ‘660 Minutes: How Improving Driver Efficiency Increases Capacity’, 2015.

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