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Get The Latest News And Stories In And Around Fleet Management

Our in-house editorial team works diligently to provide you with the most relevant topics and breaking news in the world of fleet management.
 

GPS and the Brain

07/17/2015 by Parth Raval

Recent studies have suggested that GPS navigation is a natural extension of natural human processes. People originally navigated using natural cues – wind and wave patterns, shadows, star coordinates – which in turn built neural pathways in the brain. Neuroscientists have now determined there are two strategies the human brain uses to navigate. The first is called spatial navigation. Spatial navigation helps the brain build maps based on landmarks. The second is stimulus-response, which is our brain’s version of auto-pilot. In stimulus-response, our brain learns directions by repetition, telling us that we need to turn left or right because we’ve done it before. Over time, these routes become routine and we can follow them without thinking. Voice-guided GPS directions can be thought of as stimulus-response. Over time, our brains can follow these routes without thinking.

The brain performs all this navigation work in the hippocampus, the region responsible for spatial orientation and memory formation. A study completed at McGill University has indicated that using spatial memory to navigate can help reduce the chances of mental impairment. Modern transportation businesses rely on GPS devices – stimulus response systems – to coordinate their fleets, but there may be undiscovered mental benefits to using GPS software. Drivers who routinely travel the same route can gradually rely less on their GPS device’s voice-guided instructions, while still receiving messages from dispatch and following updated route instructions. In this way, drivers can strike a balance between spatial navigation and stimulus-response navigation.

It’s important to remember, in the face of these discoveries, that the human brain is inherently adaptable. It molds itself in response to its surroundings. A phenomenon known as transactive memory, for example, has become more pronounced since the advent of Google. Transactive memory is a form of shared thinking – humans do not rely on information from their own brains if they know this information is stored somewhere else. In this case, the human brain does not carefully store information if it knows this information can be easily retrieved from the Internet. Transactive memory is essential in workplaces – research has shown that teams are able to accomplish complex tasks because each member can rely on the group as a repository of information. Using GPS devices may have a similar and unexpected benefit on our mental processes.  Technology and the brain often work together in unforeseen ways. It may be that GPS is the next step in the path that began with mankind looking to the stars for clues.

 

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The Rules for a Better Quality of Life

07/14/2015 by Parth Raval

At the heart of the trucking industry is a conflict familiar to all businesses – the balance between profit and quality of life. On the one hand, administrators need to make sure loads are delivered on time and vehicles are used efficiently. On the other hand, the demands of long-haul driving are well-documented – months spent away from home, bouts of loneliness and poor physical health stemming from an unhealthy diet. One group’s interests cannot outweigh the others in the push to improve a business.

In the middle of this struggle are Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. HOS rules were originally established to promote road safety and have gone through numerous revisions since their instatement. 2013 saw a major revision that suspended the requirement that drivers include two periods between 1 A.M. and 5 A.M. during a restart cycle. This suspension inspired debate throughout the industry – some believe this rule change allows drivers more flexibility while other maintain that it promotes unsafe driving practices. It’s important to remember that this only one debate surrounding HOS – a projected FMCSA rule will require all interstate carriers to install electronic logging devices (ELD) in their vehicles. HOS rules and laws are continually evaluated to ensure they reflect both business and driver interests.

As a matter of fact, HOS rules have a stronger connection to driver health and quality of life than may be immediately apparent. The most updated HOS rules are listed below.

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 hours off duty
  • 14-Hour Limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours of duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
  • Rest Breaks: May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes.
  • 60/70-Hour Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.
  • Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

In all, these rules help drivers balance work with rest. The 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour limit help prevent driver exhaustion. The rest break and sleeper berth provisions break up a driver’s workday. These rules give drivers time to talk with family, pursue leisure activities, eat, and sleep. Driving will always been a solitary, demanding profession. HOS rules help make life on the road a little better.

Businesses can help their drivers achieve a better quality of life by implementing software that supports HOS compliance. An elevated quality of life can directly lead to a more satisfied workforce. In an industry faced with high driver turnover, this is a decision every business should consider making. If nothing else, the FMCSA takes HOS seriously – something trucking companies should note and plan for accordingly.

 

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The Future is in Platooning

07/02/2015 by Parth Raval

The trucking industry continues to move closer to automated vehicles. The next step toward this goal is currently under development at Peloton Technology, a lab based in Northern California. Peloton Technology is designing a method for two trucks to electronically link while on the road, saving fuel and boosting safety performance. Called platooning, this technology is a large step forward in the effort to create more environmentally-friendly fleets. If implemented across multiple businesses, platooning promises to significantly cut fuel usage – a major advance, given that fuel is typically a fleet’s largest expense.

Platooning is currently intended for two trucks traveling single file. Once the second truck is the correct distance from the first truck, the drivers have the option to link their vehicles. Both drivers retain manual control of their steering wheels. Sensors on both trucks scan the road and automatically employ the brakes to prevent collisions. Platooning is calculated for efficiency – the second truck travels in the first truck’s slipstream, reducing fuel use by as much as 14%.  For all its potential benefits, the technology has been met with a fair amount of resistance within the trucking industry. Opponents to the system have cited logistical concerns, including the viability of the braking system and equitable distribution of fuel savings. While these are reasonable objections, the overall savings platooning offers cannot be argued with. With funding from Denso and Volvo, platooning has captured the transportation industry’s attention. Further development will be needed to ensure the technology is viable. Until then, trucking continues to move toward advanced and profitable connections.

The seeds of platooning already exist within telematics software. Platooning depends on drivers communicating and locating each other – telematics platforms offer Nearest and Two-Way Messaging features that allow dispatchers to direct drivers to specific locations.  These features help drivers reduce fuel use and relay each other road hazard information – all in accordance with federal regulations

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The Psychology of the Road

06/26/2015 by Parth Raval

Driving is not an easy task – distractions are a constant danger on the road.  To help businesses better understand and predict driver behavior, traffic psychologists study how people think behind the wheel.  This field combines many areas of study, including decision-making processes, spatial cognition and traffic pattern research, to create a body of principles. Businesses can use these traffic psychology principles to instill healthy practices throughout their fleets.

A central tenet of traffic psychology is the importance of habit.  Habit is an elemental part of daily life.  For example, most people can wake up in the morning and brush their teeth without thinking. That’s because this action has become a habit. Studies have shown that habits are generated by repeating behavior in a three-part loop – a cue, an action and a reward.  Repeating a habit enough times creates an automatic behavior.  Unfortunately, this means unsafe driving behaviors can also turn into habits if performed too often. Maneuvers such as speeding, improper lane change, and inattention can become mentally ingrained if they go unchecked for too long.

The deeper concern for fleet managers is why these maneuvers are performed so often. The root cause of many habit-forming unsafe driving maneuvers is inattention. An FMCSA-conducted study concluded that 71% of truck crashes happen when the driver is engaged in an activity outside of driving the vehicle.  These activities can include eating, talking on the phone, changing radio stations, and more.  When this distraction is compounded over the many hours truck drivers spend working, businesses are faced with a real danger. Vehicles driven by inattentive drivers risk federal audit, collision, and other road hazards

To combat inattentive, unsafe driving, drivers should educate themselves on the causes and signs of distraction. Taking appropriate breaks, maintaining a balanced diet and varying routines within the cab are all ways to avoid distraction. Businesses should also invest in fleet tracking software that monitors and reports unsafe behavior to identify drivers who may benefit from additional instruction. Taking these steps will help drivers stay safe and businesses stay federally compliant

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Tips on Vehicle Maintenance

06/19/2015 by Parth Raval

The importance of vehicle maintenance cannot be overstated. Proper maintenance keeps engines operational, drivers safe, and the business as a whole running smoothly. It can be difficult to keep track of vehicle maintenance from an office chair – that’s where GPS tracking software comes in. While drivers perform daily vehicle checks, administrators can monitor the overall maintenance of their fleet, ensuring all services are up to date and current with federal regulations.

Brakes

Without properly calibrated brakes, a driver is in serious trouble. A commercial truck’s air brake system involves several complex mechanisms – drivers should ensure that their brakes’ air pressure takes no more than two minutes to go from 85 psi to 100 psi when the engine is between 600 and 900 RPM. Before starting a job, drivers should make sure their brake lines are free of fluid and leaks. This is especially important in cold climates, where water in the brakes can freeze. Fleet managers should make sure drivers perform pre- and post-trip inspections, recording all observations so that brake servicing needs can be accurately tracked.

Tires

As part of pre- and post-trip inspection, drivers should inspect their tires for punctures and irregular wear. FMCSA regulations state that tires on the front of a truck should have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 1/8th of an inch. Drivers should also ensure their tires are correctly inflated for the job – heavier loads require increased tire pressure and vice versa. Many GPS tracking platforms offer a vehicle maintenance feature that can easily track these statistics.

Grease

One of the most frequently overlooked parts of vehicle maintenance, grease is a vital element in the life of a truck.  Grease is a compound of oil, soap, and additives that ensures the parts it is applied to remain properly lubricated. Fleet managers should ensure that the grease their business uses has the proper consistency and chemical properties for the environment through which their vehicles will be traveling. Improperly applied grease can result in severe damage – in this event, administrators can configure their GPS tracking system to issue alerts signaling the necessary action.

Air Filter

The air filter plays an important role in a truck’s health, keeping foreign particles out of the engine.  Air filters are typically located under the hood.  Drivers should keep an eye on their dashboard indicator and clean the filter when necessary. Going too long between cleanings can result in engine damage. GPS tracking systems can provide engine diagnostic reporting, ensuring that a dirty air filter will not go unnoticed and these harmful effects can be averted.

Drivers who are on the road day-in and day-out develop their own sense of when a component in theie vehicle needs to be replaced. Fleet managers can schedule and record all vehicle services using fleet management software.  The right software will allow administrators to save specific services for different vehicles and receive alerts when those services are due.  Electronic driver vehicle inspection records (DVIR) help drivers record and address potential maintenance issues before they develop into hazards. With this capability, fleet managers can ensure the many moving parts of their vehicles remain operational and their drivers stay safe. 

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New Thoughts on Hours of Service

06/12/2015 by Parth Raval

An unregulated fleet is a business’ worst nightmare.  The consequences can be serious – fatigued drivers, lost revenue, and, if Hollywood is to be believed, highly dangerous road conditions. The recent Mad Max film has enlivened the public’s imagination with its makeshift vehicles and disregard for traffic laws, in a world where all federal regulations are forgotten. There are many lessons fleet managers can learn from a film like this – for one, it’s important to know what’s happening on the road. With Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, the federal government gives businesses a window into their drivers’ safety behavior, but if a recent Department of Transportation (DOT) bill gets vetoed, those rules may change yet again.

The Obama administration is projected to veto a DOT funding bill that upholds the 2013 rule which suspends two mandated rest periods for drivers between 1AM and 5AM during their 34-hour restart cycle. This bill has already been passed by the House of Representatives. It must be passed by the Senate before it reaches the president, who will almost certainly veto it, based on a recommendation from the FMCSA.

This news arrives in conjunction with a study published by a federal advisory committee that concludes hours behind the wheel are more important for new drivers than performance-based training. The committee will advise the FMCSA that entry-level drivers should spend 30 hours behind the wheel in preparation for the job. At least 10 of these hours should be spent on the road, with 10 more on the range, and the remaining divided between the road and the range. Should the FMCSA accept the recommendation, this policy will be incorporated into future rulemaking and laws.

In all, the hours drivers spend behind the wheel are coming under closer and closer scrutiny. No matter what the FMCSA finally decides, fleet managers will need to monitor their drivers’ hours to ensure they stay safe on the road.  The FMCSA’s HOS rules work to prevent driver fatigue, preventing overwork and accidents. The last thing fleet managers need in the midst of all these changes is a mountain of paperwork. Electronic HOS portals allow drivers to quickly enter all data, reduce the risk of human error, and let fleet managers ensure their business stays compliant with federal regulations. The more fleet managers know, the better they can coach their drivers. Better coached drivers are successful byproducts of a world where regulations keep roads secure – a far cry from the world of Mad Max, where safety management has been left in the dust. 

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The ATA's Top Concerns For 2015

05/07/2015 by Shazia Haq

The ATA (American Trucking Association) has recently announced its priorities for the current Congressional term, the issues it plans to lobby hard for. At the top of the list are the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate and the Highway Trust Fund.

Other want-list items include the creation of a drug and alcohol test clearing house, to make it easier for companies to find out if prospective employees have substance use records, drug testing using hair, instead of, or in addition to urine, fixing the CSA (Comprehensive Safety Accountability) program, and addressing the HOS (Hours of Service) restart rule.

ATA wants to be clear that its concern over drug testing results is not about keeping people from working, but rather about making sure that people with a history of substance use are clean and sober when they return to work. Whether drug and alcohol testing accomplishes that aim is unclear; a test can show whether a person has used a substance recently (or any time within the past three months, with hair testing), but not whether they did so excessively or behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The Highway Trust Fund is of special concern, since this is where most of the money for road and bridge construction and repair comes from. The Fund receives its money principally through the fuel tax, which has not kept up with inflation since no elected official wants to go on the record for raising the tax. As a result, the Fund is very close to running out of money and the nation’s transportation infrastructure is already badly—even dangerously—in need of work.

An alternate source of funds is tolls, but the ATA does not support the imposition of tolls on roads and bridges that currently lack them. It claims that tolls are an inefficient method of revenue generation, since only about 70 cents on the dollar of toll money actually makes it to the Fund, as opposed to 98 cents per dollar for the fuel tax.

Another alternative is devolution, or making the states wholly responsible for transportation funding. ATA does not support devolution, regarding transportation as a responsibility of the Federal government, just like defense. It is true that interstate commerce depends on an interstate transportation network. If some states had a good system and others did not, the results would be ineffective for the country as a whole.

The Highway Trust Fund is an issue famous for being put off to the next legislative session, again because no one wishes to explain a tax increase to constituents. ATA, however, is hopeful that by pushing hard, they may be able to get the Fund funded at last.

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Trucking in a 3D World

03/26/2015 by Caroline Ailthanus

3D printing is poised to change the trucking world. New techniques and business models are in place to fundamentally change the business as we know it.

3D printing works by putting down layers of a rapidly-drying liquid, generally a plastic, in order to build up a shape. Laser techniques can selectively cure areas within a pool of resin, building up a smooth, solid shape that grows from the liquid. It is even possible now to print with metals, liquefying small amounts of powdered metal as the shape grows.

This development has exciting implications for trucking. Repair and maintenance typically uses 10% of a commercial truck’s operating budget. A new rig costs upwards of $150,000 – that’s upwards of 17% of a truck’s operating budget. Fleet mechanics could one day print custom replacement components, significantly reducing repair costs. Even with print stock and patterns taken into consideration, the process would be simpler, cheaper, and more reliable.

In fact, the unlimited potential of 3D printing could change fundamentally change the fleet industry. Simple, sedan-style 3D cars have already been developed and are being tested for mass use. From printing replacement components, businesses could one day print entire fleets, customized to answer specific industry needs and problems. The basis of this exciting future is already in place. 

On the other hand, there is a clear downside if 3D printing takes over the manufacturing world. 3D printing means fewer production lines which means a significant drop in cargo shipping. Some goods obviously cannot be printed, like food, and overland shipping as a whole will not close. But the trucking industry will change if 3D printing takes off. Some types of cargo will cease to exist, cargo that currently provides truckers with a lot of business. Private homes and small businesses will begin to print their own products with their own supplies of 3D print stock. The very thing that could be a boon for some aspects of the trucking business will spell the end for others.

As usual, it will be those trucking companies that can adapt to a changing industry that will succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hours-of-Service Study for Safe Roads

03/26/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is conducting a study to determine whether the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules passed in 2013 effectively reduce exhausted driving and improve driver health. By offering a monetary incentive, the VTTI hopes to attract the remaining 250 drivers it needs to sign up.

                                    

Both the 2013 and pre-2013 rules require drivers to take a 34-hour restart break every week.  However, the 2013 rules require that the restart period includes two nights, while the pre-2013 rules do not.  The logic behind the 2013 rules is that most people have natural sleep cycles that make sleeping during the night necessary and healthy. Critics have charged that these rules force drivers to spend more time on the road during rush hour, when heavy traffic makes driving dangerous.

 

In the VTTI study, drivers are divided into two groups, with one following the 2013 HOS rules and the other following pre-2013 HOS rules. Drivers must fill out a background health survey and keep sleep and caffeine logs. They must also wear an activity monitor on their wrists, take smartphone-based assessments, and submit their information through an HOS electronic logging device (ELD.) Two cameras, one inside the cab and one outside, record driver and road conditions. All data is kept strictly confidential. The VTTI is offering drivers up to $2,166 for the five month study.

 

Both sets of HOS rules are designed to keep the roads safe. This study will help determine what is in both drivers’ and the driving public’s best interests. 

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The Personal Fitness Of Drivers Is Going Hi-Tech

03/15/2015 by Dennis Jaconi

While the use of technology in health and wellness is hardly new, the latest development could have interesting implications for the trucking and transportation industries a few years down the road.
Apple’s new software development platform, “Research Kit,” provides an open-source way for users to develop iPhone apps for use in medical research. Because most people carry their smartphones with them at all times, these devices are in an ideal position to collect and transmit data on what their owners are doing, without study participants having to fill out a lot of cumbersome paperwork or visit a doctor’s office. 
Already, at least five iPhone apps exist for use in research on breast cancer, diabetes, asthma, and Parkinson’s disease. Research Kit will allow doctors and scientists to easily create their own custom apps. The hope is that if participating in medical research is easier and less invasive, more people will participate.
At the moment, Research Kit is simply a service offered by a single electronics company to universities, hospitals, and researchers. But it is entirely possible that that concept of smartphone based medical monitoring will catch on. The popularity of existing consumer health monitors, such as FitBit, suggests public interest in this type of service. In the future, similar programming platforms across the electronics industry might allow doctors, health coaches, and even employers to develop their own apps as part of programs intended, not for research, but for healthcare.
And this is where the trucking industry comes in.
Driving a truck is physically very demanding. Not only does a driver have to be healthy in order to drive safely, but being on the road is hard on the body and potentially exhausting. Trucking companies have a responsibility to make sure that their employees are healthy and safe on the road. Health monitoring apps could become a useful tool in those efforts.
Of course, there is a potential threat to privacy at issue here. Should the vital signs and activity levels of ordinary Americans be sent, in real-time, to their bosses? What if somebody steals the information or electronically alters it? Obviously, health programs based on this technology will have to include privacy safeguards. Perhaps the health data will be pooled and rendered anonymous so that the trucking company can only use it to assess the overall health of its workforce. Already, Research Kit apps respond to privacy concerns by not transmitting data until the smartphone owner has signed an electronic release. Apple itself has no access to the medical data.
Curiously, health monitoring apps do the same things for human beings what telematics does for trucks; collect and transmit status information in real-time. Of course, the apps do not transmit the user’s location, the way telematics services do.
Fleet management software already does a lot to support driver health. Teletrac Safety Analytics feature encourages safer driving behavior and facilitates safety training; Hours-of-Service (HOS) tracking and driver e-logs make it easier to be certain drivers are getting enough rest. While the 2013 update to the HOS regulations have been suspended pending completion of an efficacy study, trucking companies are still deploying the feature to document their employees’ rest times and to increase compliance and reduce DOT violations. Finally, fleet management software makes it easier to track drivers’ actual performance behind the wheel. Paying by the mile alone can create an incentive for drivers to speed or to skip rest periods, but telematics allows carriers to identify the safest drivers, most efficient drivers and to give them the higher pay they deserve.

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The Right Sizing of a Government Fleet

03/16/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

A recent study revealed that government fleets may be bigger, and spend more money on fuel, than is actually necessary.

The government study that used telematics as its data source, focused on state-owned vehicles in North Carolina, found that over ten percent of the vehicles were rarely ever used. The study also uncovered that the vehicles that are being utilized, often speed or are left to idle for ten minutes at a time or more. The vehicles in the study spent 18% of their running time not going anywhere.

The data was provided by a small, representative sample of the state’s fleet, not every single state-owned vehicle. The study design ensures that the results are applicable to the fleet as a whole. Whether the results are also applicable to other states is not clear, although it’s reasonable to suspect North Carolina is not unique in its fleet vehicle behavior.

The study suggests two distinct issues, both of which could be addressed through a telematics service.

The first issue involves the unused or under-used vehicles. Government agencies and private companies often invest in too many vehicles, either because they treat vehicle access as a mark of prestige or because different departments acquire vehicles independently and nobody checks for redundancy. A related problem is that organizations often invest in too much vehicle—cars or trucks that are bigger or more expensive than really necessary. Besides the purchase prices, such fleet bloat increases maintenance costs dramatically.

Fixing fleet bloat is called “right-sizing” and it is a great way to reduce expenses painlessly. Telematics makes it easier to track how often each vehicle is used so the organization can identify which ones it really doesn’t need.

The other issue is the speeding and the idling, which come down simply to driver behavior. Both activities waste gas, which causes pollution and wastes money. Speeding raises the specter of speeding tickets, which is not something a government agency needs. If a car is idling because the driver has left it running while working elsewhere, that is a security problem.

Telematics makes it easier for fleet managers to instill good driving behavior—and to catch and deal with incautious drivers. Since these services record and transmit what the vehicle is doing in real time, a supervisor can see who is speeding or excessively idling. Later, he or she can ask the driver about it, find out whether there were extenuating circumstances, and discuss better options for next time. Or, if necessary, the supervisor can discipline the bad driver appropriately.

According to studies such as the one in North Carolina, investing in the services could save state vehicle fleets millions of dollars a year.

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Why Random Drug Testing Is More Important Than You Think

01/12/2015 by Leslie Garcia

Random drug and alcohol testing is a common practice in the business world. Companies test prospective employees, as well as their current, to ensure top-notch performance. It’s no different in the trucking industry.

In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced their continued requirement of randomly testing at least 50% of truck drivers for drug and alcohol use throughout 2015. The established 50% mandatory rate stems from the FMCSA’s 2012 Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey that showed an increase in positive results since implementing the percentage.  

Although some carriers and drivers may frown upon being subjected to random tests of any kind, mandatory drug and alcohol testing has additional incentives, mainly in cost savings and safety benefits for businesses.

How Does Random Testing Benefit the Trucking Industry?

Since the FMCSA declared the obligatory stipulation, the percentage of positive test rate results based on “reasonable suspicion” claims (a legal standard by which a manager has the right to test an employee due to suspicion of criminal activity) has steadily increased since 2010 from 5.6% to 37.2% in 2012, according to the FMCSA survey.

The increase in positive results can only mean that the random testing works to spotlight the issue, encouraging drivers, and carriers, to advocate for a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle for increased safety on the roads. A clean driver and CSA record can go a long way in bottom-line rewards.

Company Insurance Rates

As part of its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), the FMCSA makes it an issue to measure anything from unsafe driving to driver fitness to controlled substance and alcohol use. The higher the fleet's score, the worse the performance. Failing in any one of these categories affects a carrier’s overall CSA score, including their credibility, which can deter favorable results when acquiring insurance for their fleet.

The way it works is when insurance companies examine a business’ CSA score, the scoring factors into the insurance company’s decision of increasing the carrier’s rate or not. If CSA BASICs scores are substandard, a carrier’s insurance premium may spike to costly proportions. Not all insurance companies use this business practice, since it’s not mandatory; however, it’s being used more frequently as a means to identify risky carriers.

Make or Break Your Business

You can tell a lot about a business by their employees. Consequently, when the FMCSA randomly tests 50% of truck drivers for drug and alcohol use, managers will be able to distinguish the “good drivers” from the “bad drivers,” effectively filtering out and determining weak links. Trucking companies are as credible as their workforce, so employing the best is important.

Fleet Safety

Drug and alcohol assessments can reassure managers that their businesses are being represented as dependable and trustworthy companies by their good drivers through safe driving. Companies can rest assured that drivers will arrive safe and on time to customer sites, reducing the likelihood of lost or damaged cargo.

Ways to Ensure a Low CSA Score

While FMCSA’s drug and alcohol tests are important to maintain an efficient and safe fleet, there are additional ways to increase driver and vehicle safety, and maintain a low CSA score. Cloud-based GPS fleet tracking solutions combine real-time locations and add-on features like fleet safety analytics that provide vital safety data, such as the number of unsafe driving events per vehicle, subsequently helping managers note when their drivers practice unsafe habits during the workday. Driving activity and behavior is tracked through key metrics, such as harsh braking, harsh acceleration, stop sign violations and speeding.

This actionable vehicle data is showcased on data-rich dashboards that can be used to drill down into specific safety events—to view when they took place and where—as well as note the best and worst drivers within a fleet. Additional safety analytics features include the ability to replay unsafe driving events as they happened in real time, enabling managers to improve coaching and driver training and reduce the number of dangerous incidents significantly. 

Ultimately, random drug and alcohol testing may seem like a nuisance for the trucking industry. But once you take into account the importance in keeping a strong fleet and good CSA scores with supplemental fleet management tools like safety analytics, mandatory testing proves helpful in paving the way for improved business standards and driver awareness.

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