Why is compliance important to fleet telematics?

A compliant fleet is a safe and successful fleet. Fleet telematics technology will keep your drivers engaged, vehicles maintained, assets operational, and helps to reduce fuel spend and insurance claims.

There are many important ways to keep your fleet compliant and operating at maximum efficiency. Read on to find out more.

Road accidents can lead to serious injury or loss of life, which is why every single driver and vehicle is subject to driving laws, safety standards and regular service checks. These safety regulations apply to all private, public, and utilitarian vehicles, but perhaps most especially, to fleet vehicles.

Fleet vehicles need to operate optimally, no matter the road, traffic or weather conditions, the location, or the time of day. Drivers spend entire business days on the road having to mitigate risks to deliver goods or services safely and timeously. This requires fleet operators and managers to stay fully apprised of unsafe driving behaviours in real-time, to help prevent accidents and collisions. Safety is always number one priority, but so is keeping operations efficient, and keeping operational costs as a low as possible.

All commercial drivers need to obey the road regulations of the regions in which they operate as well as those rules specifically set out by the company that employs them. Compliance regulations empower drivers to do their jobs properly whilst operating within an acceptable set of safety standards. Each fleet operator can be very specific about how their drivers load their vehicles, operate their vehicles, optimise their routes and the hours they spend on the road. With so much to abide by and ever-changing road conditions to consider, fleets hugely benefit from harnessing fleet telematics technology to ensure they’re following protocols, and to better inform their daily movements.

Fleet telematics gives fleet managers a bird’s eye view on how safely, efficiently, securely, and sustainably a fleet is operating. Telematics solutions collect vast data sets on all aspects of a fleet’s operations, including vehicle and asset conditions. This enables fleet managers to ensure that all vehicles and assets are roadworthy and will not cost the company in unscheduled downtime. By having the information available to evidence that essential safety and compliance checks have been carried out to specific standards, drivers can provide an auditable trail that proves that their vehicle is well maintained and adheres to fleet compliance regulations. There are essentially five areas of focus that ensure a fleet is fully compliant:

Safety management

Fleet safety is essential to reducing accidents, keeping drivers and other road users (such as pedestrians) safe, avoiding fines, managing insurance costs, and steering clear of potential legal fees. Software is key to risk and safety management because it’s a central repository of essential details about fleet drivers, vehicles, repairs, insurance, and road conditions. Collating regular reports on all aspects of fleet operations creates awareness of compliance regulations and provides ample opportunity to continuously review company-led risk management and safety programs.

Vehicle maintenance

Fleet vehicles are utilised for business purposes. This means that they must be properly equipped, inspected, and regularly maintained. Vehicle care reduces fuel consumption and the need for parts replacement, helping to reduce operating costs. Data-driven fleet maintenance and asset management software can ensure that all compliance standards have been met when servicing fleet vehicles.

Driver performance

Fleet drivers must be trained, certified, in good health and fully apprised of all road and fleet compliance requirements. They need to have a valid license and have met driver training and safety standards for the type of vehicle they are operating. Drivers who are properly trained, well-rested, fully engaged, driving defensively, and abiding by both the rules of the road and company safety standards, aid in reducing the risk of accidents and operating costs for their company.

Software integrations with third-party solutions can be particularly effective when monitoring vehicle activity and managing driver compliance in terms of behaviour. Fleet telematics provides ample opportunities to proactively address unsafe and distracted driving practices such as over speeding, harsh braking, harsh acceleration, and mobile phone use. Telematics technology allows fleet managers to intervene in real-time if a driver is not compliant with driver programs and operational procedures. Fleet management software further permits the secure electronic filing of documents such as driver’s licenses, medical records, training certificates, safety policies and insurance records, enabling fleet managers to keep a driver’s information up to date, organised and easily accessible should roadside audits and other compliance checks need to be performed.

Company policy

Fully customised fleet telematics solutions can help develop operational analyses that form the basis of compliance management processes. Dynamic fleets can utilise rich data sets to build comprehensive fleet practices and policies that can be applied and monitored on an ongoing basis. Fleet compliance is a continuous process, encompassing the entire operation. Establishing company policy and making it readily available, encourages a high level of compliance across all vehicles, assets, and personnel. Company policies are subject to change as new regulatory requirements and business needs arise. Fleet operators can utilise telematics technology to keep personnel informed of any such changes, avoiding the possibility of a diminished culture of compliance.

Internal auditing

The practice of internal auditing ensures that all vehicles, assets, and personnel are meeting company-led safety and efficiency standards, as well as all road safety compliance regulations. A professional auditing firm can be tasked with training key staff members to carry out departmental audits to ensure that internal and external requirements are being met. This means that documentation is being filled in, checked, and filed on a regular basis. Having specialist fleet management software in place to store and record such information, eliminates the risk of last-minute panics when an unexpected external or roadside audit takes place.

Adhering to compliance requirements can be complicated. With the help of software as a service (SaaS), fleet managers can ensure that dynamic fleets are operating within set regulations such as:

  • Driver qualification: This file should include their employment application, driving records, driver’s license, certificate of violations, annual reviews, pertinent medical information, drug and alcohol testing results, driver-vehicle defect reports, driver logs and supporting documentation, and maintenance and repair records. All these records should be kept on file and fully updated on an ongoing basis. Failure to maintain proper records can result in penalties and fines.
  • Unsafe driving: Over speeding, harsh acceleration, harsh braking, dangerous cornering, seatbelt violations, reckless driving, driver distraction, driver fatigue, eye closing, smoking and mobile phone use.
  • Hours of Service (HOS): Maintain all HOS RODS logs for the required retention period of 6 months. Check for missing ELD logs to ensure retention history is complete. Properly document gaps in logs. Review logs as they’re received to ensure proper use. Monitor logs for rule violations and accurate event annotations.
  • Crash indication: A private database of crash and on-road incident information that outlines a driver’s involvement in said accidents.
  • Preventative vehicle maintenance: Should include oil and oil filter changes, engine tuning, including belts and other fluids, brake inspections, tyre rotation and alignment, lubrication, radiator maintenance, electrical components - such as lights, window glass, gauges, batteries, transmission, and any corroded or deteriorating metal.
  • Vehicle maintenance: A log of maintenance issues such as worn-out brakes, broken taillights, or a failure to make required repairs.
  • Controlled substances: Use or possession of a controlled substance, such as alcohol, is strictly prohibited.
  • Hazardous materials: Drivers who haul hazardous materials are held to stricter standards and must ensure that their cargo is not improperly loaded or leaking. The proper placard identifying the hazardous material is also required.
  • Operating documentation: Documentation of a driver’s ability to operate the commercial motor vehicle, including a valid driver’s license and all medical clearances.
  • Pre-trip inspections: A mandatory, thorough inspection of a vehicle and its components before each trip. This includes a review of the previous driver-vehicle inspection reports for a particular vehicle to track its condition and performance.
  • Post-trip inspection: A mandatory, thorough inspection of a vehicle and its components after each trip. Any issues need to be recorded and reported to a fleet manager so that repairs can be scheduled.
  • Driver-vehicle inspection reports: Should include the date, vehicle identification number, driver identification number, steering mechanism, wheels, tyres, rims, brakes, air systems, lights, reflectors, mirrors, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, windshield wipers, coupling equipment, spare tires, power units, and trailer (if applicable).
  • Defect report: After each inspection, a list of defects or deficiencies that could impact the safety of the vehicle must be recorded and reported to a fleet manager.
  • Corrective action: Once issues and defects are repaired, the driver must sign-off, certifying that corrective action was taken in a timely manner.
  • Background checks: These checks should not stop at point-of-hire. Ongoing screenings, such as routine drug and alcohol tests, driving records, and criminal history, should be monitored.

Fleet telematics helps companies to keep their fleets compliant by removing the guesswork associated with outdated paper practices, that caused confusion and were subject to human error. Using innovative technology to keep fleets compliant helps to maximise your return on investment and increase your bottom line. Visit our page on compliance to see how MiX Telematics can keep your dynamic and enterprise fleets safe and compliant.

A fully-implemented and supported MiX Telematics solution is guaranteed to improve driver safety and reduce accident rates while also lowering risk, liability and cost.

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