Fleet managers identified distracted driving, injury, safety, regulation comprehension and hours of service compliance as their top five driver concerns, according to a recent study conducted by J. J. Keller Center for Market Insights, the research arm of J. J. Keller & Associates.
J.J. Keller’s survey, fielded from Nov. 12 to Dec. 21, 2020, reveals that 2020 was a year of profound challenges for fleet professionals. They feel a significant burden for driver safety.
About 31% of fleet managers indicated they were most concerned that drivers were not avoiding distracted driving, and 27% indicated their drivers were not avoiding injury while working and driving.
Other skill gaps listed included drivers not being aware of how Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations apply to them (24%), not safely and correctly operating vehicles (22%), and not being in compliance with hours of service limits and use exemptions (20%).
Lack of Leadership Support
Fleet managers surveyed also indicated a desire for leadership support. Most of the respondents (72%) are part of smaller organizations (less than 100 trucks) and feel stresses with too many meetings, multiple responsibilities and insufficient time to do what they need to do, company officials said in a press release.
"Not surprising," states Tom Bray, J. J. Keller Senior Industry Business Advisor. "Fleet management at a small company is challenging and exhausting. Most managers have multiple responsibilities and oversight, including hiring, training, safety and compliance, recordkeeping, maintenance, financial reporting, and even dispatch. Everyone has to contribute in a small organization, and those who have more knowledge and experience contribute more."
"Most important frustrations" indicated by managers include compliance knowledge (74%), awareness and visibility to driver compliance/non-compliance (77%), and recordkeeping (47%).
Compliance knowledge revolved around staying up to date on FMCSA (40%) and understanding how FMCSA impacts the business (23%).
Respondents are also concerned with how new technology will impact and improve their compliance (11%), how to find out if their driver is non-compliant (31%) and if he/she is using the HOS exemptions correctly and in compliance with limits (17%).
Managers are also struggling to have accurate and organized files (23%) and get all their files in one place (24%).
Respondents also desire the opportunity to make a difference in their organization, J.J. Keller concluded. They want leaders who live out their safety commitment and include safety as a primary consideration when making decisions about the organization. Strong responses indicate that more companies strive to improve safety (74%) than focus on solutions that improve the bottom-line profit (52%).
"It's not easy, and there's a tremendous amount of give and take required to find the balance of profits and safety," states J. J. Keller Senior Marketing Director Tom Reader. "It's encouraging that most fleet professionals believe their C-suite values the ROI that safety delivers."