A necessary evil—that’s how drivers view regulations. Many don’t believe the level of oversight is even needed, and they balk at limitations and documentation involved in what they deem hindrances to their productivity. Most drivers don’t enter the field of long-haul trucking with the expectation it will involve mounds of paperwork and adherence to complicated rules. Anything you can do to ease the burden of this reality will increase the likelihood of retention.
Drivers want to focus on driving, and that’s what you’ve hired them to do. But keeping up with changing regulations associated with a long list of acronyms—DVIR, FMCSA, DOT, ELD, HOS to name a few—can be a distraction from that goal. With rules applying to licensing requirements, service hours, electronic logging, special certifications, continuing education, drug and alcohol testing, and more, the red tape can make drivers feel imprisoned when all they long for is the freedom of the open road. Lighten the level of responsibility on them and you will have a much more satisfied and loyal team.
It pays to invest in a fleet management system that will streamline the inspection process and reduce the risk of drivers and/or vehicles being put out of service. Drivers are usually paid per mile, which means roadside inspections interrupt their ability to be earning.
The FMCSA reported 126,080 federal roadside inspections and 3,405,923 state roadside inspections in 2018. With eight different levels of inspection that could be performed on a driver and/or their vehicle, there is always the risk of the driver and/or vehicle being put out of service for violations. Last year the FMCSA reported almost 21 percent of the vehicles inspected were placed out of service, underscoring the importance of adhering to established guidelines.
Modern trucking technology equips drivers to face inspections with confidence. GPS tracking solutions keep electronic records that can be easily pulled up and transferred to supervisors, inspectors, and law enforcement personnel to prove compliance. Alerts regarding potential violations allow drivers to make corrections before they become a problem. As a result, inspections are less painful and CSA scores improve—both of which appeal to drivers.
While drivers may not like being monitored, in the long run, most discover it helps them increase productivity, improve safety, and decrease stress over whether they are in-line with current regulations. Today’s fleet technology makes it possible to access near real-time data about driving habits, vehicle diagnostics, and other metrics that can impact compliance. Insights garnered from GPS tracking can be used to implement preventive maintenance, customized driver training, and other solutions that make it easier to untangle the red tape of changing regulations.
When it comes to paperwork, all drivers will agree that “less is more.” Consider implementing an integrated fleet management solution with features that reduce paper filing and make reporting easier on drivers. Electronic filing eliminates piles of forms in the truck cab and reduces the possibility of errors and missing data that can occur with manual reporting. A simplified system results in training and usage that is less complicated and takes less time while expediting deployment and administrative processes. Innovative technology keeps pace with current regulations so drivers can stay in the loop without stressing over which standards they are being held to and how to demonstrate compliance.
If you don’t already have support for drivers available 24/7, put that into place now. A reputable GPS tracking system will offer professional assistance as part of a comprehensive fleet management solution. Drivers who don’t feel isolated are more likely to stick with the company. They need to know you’re there to clarify regulations and back them up when they encounter problems during inspections, no matter the time of day or night.
Compliance is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be evil. Equip your drivers properly for inspections and reporting, offer individualized coaching based on data insights, and provide accessible support at every stage. They will be far more likely to remain committed to your company if you help relieve the part of the job they like least.
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MORE RESOURCES TO COMBAT THE DRIVER SHORTAGE