3. Develop a comprehensive safety program
Lawsuits, accidents, insurance premiums, and safety-related infractions can be huge cost drivers, particularly with fines and penalties imposed by the DOT's Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforceent program.
In addition, unsafe practices lead to time-consuming compliance reviews that tie up operational resources and damage productivity. There’s no question that every electronic safety tool pays for itself.
Start by electronically monitoring hours of service. Fatigued driving is the number one cause of accidents involving trucks. It tops CSA’s list of “red flag violations,” which automatically incur a compliance review, which puts a huge dent in drive time.
In addition, roadside inspections destroy driver productivity. Since carriers are measured against their peer group (with number of comparable units), those that have electronic logs will automatically be rated at the highest level of HOS compliance. The have-nots are at a distinct disadvantage.
Installing electronic logs helped a Florida carrier bring driver OOS down from 90% to 35%, with incremental improvements along the way. Without DOT scrutiny, driver productivity increased 30%. The improved safety track record reduced liability and physical damage insurance premiums by 20% after the first year and an additional 10% the following year.
Trucks equipped with electronic logs are typically waved through roadside inspections, helping drivers maximize drive time and adhere to their delivery schedule.
When an electronic log system is integrated with a transportation management system, dispatchers can make better decisions based on drivers’ available hours to ensure optimal drive time and productivity and improve compliance. Fleets eliminate risking a costly safety violation by having to bring back a driver who is out of drive time.
Accident prevention is key in curbing insurance premiums since underwriters assign more favorable rates to safer, lower-risk fleets. Here are a few more ideas for your safety program:
- Safety-related driving behaviors on the driver scorecard (sudden accelerations and decelerations, excessive speed) keep drivers engaged in the program and enable coaching.
- Onboard computing data can help recreate accidents and protect drivers and their carriers against frivolous lawsuits.
- Exception notification will alert driver managers in real-time of risky driving behavior, so they can immediately communicate with drivers and head off problems.
4. Reduce on-the-road maintenance
Fleets with reactive maintenance face unexpected, costly breakdowns. Drivers are forced to waste drive time, delivery schedules crumble, customer service suffers, and excessive repair costs prevail.
On the other hand, proactive maintenance (“an ounce of prevention…”) can prevent unnecessary schedule interruptions and surprise breakdowns that eat away at revenue miles driven per day. There are a couple of proven maintenance practices that can help control maintenance costs.
Monitoring fault codes creates an early-warning system that informs maintenance about vehicle issues, so they can determine the urgency of an issue and schedule necessary repairs to minimize impact on driver schedules and drive time. Early issue resolution also can preclude major maintenance costs.
On the other side of the coin, maintenance can reassure drivers when the fault code is nothing, eliminating an unnecessary trip back to the terminal or out-of-route driving for a repair by a third party.
Electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (eDVIRs) automate the creation of inspection tickets. A centralized closed-loop maintenance application creates a work order when it detects a vehicle defect identified by a driver in an eDVIR form message. A sophisticated system automatically red-tags safety-related issues for highest priority maintenance. When the vehicle repair is completed, the system notifies dispatch and the vehicle’s scheduled driver, detailing the mechanic and corrective action that was completed and documenting the vehicle’s availability for use.
The complete report and eDVIRs that do not require maintenance are stored in the system to provide a comprehensive vehicle maintenance history. Having a vehicle’s maintenance/repair history enables better decisions about future issues, as well as vehicle purchases.
An eDVIR system reports enables the carrier to track the effectiveness of a preventive maintenance program. All inspection reports become part of the maintenance history, tracked by driver, vehicle, driver/vehicle combinations and frequency. Chronic issues stand out. Drivers who never report maintenance issues are trained about how to identify potential problems.
Closing thought: just get started
Take that important first step and start working on one of these areas.