Maintaining compliance is one essential part of a fleet manager’s and fleet driver’s jobs. It is necessary to ensure the business can operate smoothly and doesn’t run into any costly fines or driver downtime. Driver violations are a massive hindrance to operations for a fleet, and everyone should work to avoid them at all costs. Regardless, simple mistakes still happen all the time, and fleets pay the price. We will break down five top driver violations that occur all too often and provide tips on avoiding them.
1. Driving Over the Maximum Number of Hours
395.3(b) indicates that a driver may not drive over 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days (for carriers that do not operate every day of the week) or 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days (for carriers that operate every day of the week). If drivers commit this critical violation, it has a weight of up to 7 points and an average fine of $4,787.
There is an easy fix to this rule for any fleet. It is called the 34-hour reset rule. Drivers simply need to take a 34-hour break once they start nearing the end of their 60 or 70-hour workweek. Read more about how to take advantage of this rule in our blog post: A Guide to the 34-Hour Reset Rule. Fleets that follow this guide should not have any issue with this regulation.
2. Failing to Use a Seat Belt
While many states have their own seat belt laws that should have drivers wearing their seat belts at all times, the FMCSA goes a step further by penalizing motor carriers whose drivers do not wear their seat belts when operating their vehicles. Fines for wearing seat belts are relatively low compared to other penalties. Still, they do count as violations against you on your CSA score, and most importantly, it means the driver is in significant danger in the event of a crash.
Seat belt use is crucial to the FMCSA, and they have created many resources to help train drivers on its importance. Fleets can access those materials here. Their brochures break down myths about seat belt use and highlight the dangers of not wearing them. Their posters provide a constant reminder of the need for seatbelts every time fleet drivers visit the office. Emphasizing seat belt use creates a culture of safety that will stick with drivers more than anything else.
3. Falsification of Logs
A false log book violation can mean bad news for fleets and their drivers. It puts drivers out of service and has a high severity rating that means higher fines for those who violate it. Still, it is one of the top three violations that occur during inspections. Falsifying logs can lead to a penalty of up to $12,695. This is a considerable amount for a fleet’s bottom line. Further money is lost when a driver goes out of service, which happens 14.7 percent of the time in the case of falsified logs.
A reliable electronic logging solution that managers can access at any time will prevent drivers from falsifying their logs. The more people who check in on the logs, the less likely a driver is to tamper with it in the first place. If they do, it is more likely to be caught, and the driver is less likely to be caught and corrected in an inspection and fined. Falsifying logs should not be such a significant epidemic among fleet drivers, but unfortunately it is, so it is essential to hire drivers you can trust and ensure there is open communication among your fleet.
4. No RODS / RODS Not Current
Each driver must record their record of duty status for every 24-hour period. A violation of this rule weighs 5 out of 10 and results in a penalty of $1,270 per day, maxing out at $12,695. Drivers who are not exempt from the ELD mandate will need to use an FMCSA-registered ELD (electronic logging device) to record their duty status. Drivers who qualify for the 100 air-mile radius exemption or 150 air-mile radius exemption do not have to keep RODS records, although they still have to maintain six months’ worth of accurate time records.
The easiest way to avoid violating this regulation is to simply have a registered ELD and update it every time there’s a change to your duty status. It is critical to get in this habit, as the fines can be detrimental to the business.
5. Wrong Class License
This seems like an easy regulation to meet, but surprisingly, it is one of the most commonly broken ones. This was the second biggest driver violation in 2018. There are three classes of commercial drivers’ licenses:
- CDL Class A: Drivers operating a vehicle more than 26,001 pounds if the towed vehicle is more than 10,000 pounds
- CDL Class B: Drivers operating a vehicle more than 26,001 pounds if the towed vehicle is not more than 10,000 pounds
- CDL Class C: Drivers operating a vehicle transporting 16 or more people or hazardous materials.
Check drivers’ licenses regularly to ensure they are up to date and correct to avoid this violation.
Avoiding violations becomes easy with the right technology at your disposal. Azuga offers solutions that help you track vehicles, hours, and driver safety, all at the click of a button. Find out what Azuga can do for you by reaching out to an expert today.