The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is quite the tennis match to watch. Since the idea of ELDs have come into the picture in the early 2000s, it’s been an uphill battle of when to implement them into the trucking industry. All of the back and forth between pushing forward with the mandate and delaying it can make everyone’s heads turn. However, the chances of the mandate being delayed are predicted to be unlikely, making that shift to ELDs still important to consider sooner rather than later.
No matter how large or small your fleet is, every fleet-based business needs a comprehensive driver safety policy.
Fleet safety policies are formalized rules and guidelines that establish the policies and procedures required to maintain a safe workplace. They achieve this by:
- Providing rules for safe conduct and vehicle operations.
- Outlining disciplinary procedures for unsafe driving and moving violations, as well as reward programs for safe drivers.
- Defining protocol for accidents or collisions.
- Giving drivers the confidence of knowing that their employer is committed to their safety and the safety of all motorists.
On December 16, 1773, a dispute over government authority lead to the Boston Tea Party. This December, truckers throughout the United States are likely to be equally up in arms about another government ruling that many are leery about.
December 2017 is the impending date when electronic logging devices will be adopted by all fleet companies and logging books will be a thing of the past. While many in the industry are not happy about this change, ELDs can provide convenience with recording hours of service (HOS) and do have other benefits as well, such as fuel efficiency and increase in productivity. In order to ease into the transition from using logbooks to ELDs, it’s important to take into consideration a few different aspects that will allow retention of fleet drivers.
Truck driver shortages have been reported since the 1980s, but as a result of industry growth and an aging workforce, driver deficits have become increasingly widespread and problematic for trucking fleets in recent years. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), in 2015 the shortage left the trucking industry in need of nearly 48,000 qualified drivers. This gap is on pace to grow at a rate of over 10,000 drivers per year, reaching as high as 175,000 drivers by 2024.
Whether your fleet consists of five or 50 vehicles, keeping your drivers safe while they’re on the road is one of the biggest challenges faced by fleet managers in any industry. Formalized fleet safety policies can help create a culture of safety by outlining rules for safe driver conduct, but as soon as your drivers leave the lot, you lose the ability to directly observe their behavior and ensure their safety behind the wheel.
To help keep drivers safe, many fleet managers rely on easy-to-use tools like GPS tracking systems. Comprehensive GPS tracking systems offer a number of features that act as your eyes on the road by giving you real-time insight into location and driver behavior—including unsafe driver behavior.
Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that comes in contact with the road. They’re your first line of defense against inclement weather, and they can significantly impact driver safety, vehicle handling, and fuel economy.
Regular tire maintenance is an important part of your ongoing preventive maintenance schedule. Routine inspections can help you identify small problems like uneven tread wear before they become major issues, which will save your business money in the long term by increasing the lifespan of your tires and reducing the likelihood of other, more expensive repairs. Monthly inspections are recommended, but if you drive over a pothole, live in a cold climate, or drive long distances, you may wish to inspect your tires more frequently.
From blizzards to thick fog to thunderstorms, hazardous weather happens in every season, and it can pose a serious risk to all drivers. When the weather turns nasty, the safest choice is often to stay off the road altogether, but hanging up your keys isn’t always an option for fleet drivers.
Adverse weather can lead to reduced visibility and decreased steering ability and traction, as well as increase the amount of time and space it takes to come to a complete stop. Seasonal maintenance can help your business’s vehicles safely navigate whatever weather conditions the season has to offer, but the most effective way to stay safe during perilous weather is to adjust your expectations and driving behavior accordingly.