by: Karen Bradley
If your company manages a fleet of vehicles, you’re probably concerned about how to make your business more efficient and cost-effective. However, safety and compliance should also be at the top of your list. Every time one of your vehicles hits the road, it’s representing your company. Not only do you want your drivers to stay safe, but you also want to ensure the safety of the community around you.
Commercial vehicle regulations are designed to keep both your driver and the public safe while you operate your vehicles in the community. Complying with them is an essential part of vehicle fleet risk management.
How do I manage my fleet driver? We’ll explain what it takes to manage your drivers and why it’s important to keep your fleets safe and compliant. Here are some of the ways to do that:
Every company that owns a fleet of vehicles strives to build a roster of safe, professional drivers. Even if you trust your drivers, you still want to know where they are at all times.
GPS tracking creates a record of all your vehicle’s activities. If there is an incident, you can review GPS reports to identify where and when it happened, so it’s much easier to investigate and report on. You can even use GPS to track how much time your employees spent on a job site to ensure your employees are accountable to both you and your customers.
GPS technology has moved beyond its original function of tracking cars on a map. You can now use GPS tracking devices for monitoring employee driver behavior. With the right solution, you can track whether employees are wearing their seatbelts or engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. For example, if your driver makes a risky maneuver on the road, you’ll get an alert about it. This helps you to rule out dangerous driving behaviors across the company and counsel drivers that violate your safety procedures.
You can even monitor routine vehicle maintenance, which is also an important part of compliance. A GPS solution can track your driver’s location, but it can also help you keep track of necessary oil changes, tire rotations, and fuel filters replacements by sending you a notification when those items need to be serviced. This keeps your fleet in top working condition while on the road and ensures your drivers are always operating safe and compliant vehicles.
Overall, GPS devices can help you ensure your drivers are staying compliant with regulations, traffic laws, and company policies.
Of course, vehicle GPS systems alone aren’t enough to successfully manage your fleet drivers and ensure compliance. To keep drivers accountable, you need driver policies.
A driver policy is a document that informs your drivers of your company’s vehicle operation and monitoring requirements. It also acts as a record of your company’s intent to comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Most companies ask their drivers to sign a driver policy before they start operating.
Once signed, your drivers accept that they understand it and plan to adhere to the policies within. Here are just a few of the things you should include in your driver policy.
Most driver policies begin with a list of standard driving requirements, such as:
Your driver policy should also reiterate the importance of complying with traffic laws and describe penalties for disobeying them, including the possible loss of driving privileges. If you require your drivers to undergo a training course before they can operate, this should be listed on your driver policy as well.
Next, you should provide a point-by-point description of how drivers are monitored while they operate and why. This isn’t just a good way to deter bad behavior. It can help you build trust with your drivers and ensure they know why monitoring is an essential part of managing the fleet.
For example, you can explain that your vehicles are monitored with GPS systems that measure operations like speed, location, and routing information. This can encourage drivers to be more alert and aware of their driving behavior, keeping them safe, and ensuring they obey traffic laws while in your company vehicles.
You should also note that tracking and monitoring can be used to defend your drivers when they are accused of driving improperly, even though they haven’t. If a driver is accused of speeding, cutting someone off, or other types of bad behavior, your tracking and monitoring tools can provide irrefutable evidence of whether these accusations are true or not.
Finally, you should provide drivers with a list of reportable events. These are occurrences that need to be reported to management as they directly affect the health of the company and its fleet.
Most reportable events are related to traffic violations and the condition of employee drivers, such as:
You should also explain what disciplinary actions could occur if an employee violates your driver’s policy.
As of 2017, most commercial vehicles must be equipped with an ELD for fleet management compliance. An ELD, also known as an Electronic Logging Device or Electronic Driver Log, is a recording device that synchronizes with the vehicle’s engine and automatically enters information into a driver’s record of duty status (RODS).
There are exceptions to the ELD mandate. One of them is if your drivers stay within 100 to 150 air miles of their work location. They may not need an ELD if the vehicle they drive is the commodity they’re delivering (“drive-away-tow-away”) or if they don’t use paper RODS more than 8 days in every 30 days, either.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), The ELD Rule also includes a few parameters you should be aware of:
To make compliance simpler, you need an ELD solution that lets your drivers complete their hours of service logs quickly and easily. You should also be able to export log files through a USB device, so inspectors can review them without any trouble.
Ideally, your ELD should also contribute to cost savings and efficiency. With the right solution, you can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend processing, archiving, and retrieving data.
How can fleet management be improved? You don’t have to look far for all your compliance needs. EcoTrack Fleet Management provides fleets of all sizes with GPS tracking devices and electronic driver logs that make compliance simple.
Request a demonstration today and find out how to streamline fleet compliance at your company.