Key terminology used in the fleet management industry
An automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) is an in-vehicle device used to keep driver logs. The most common type of AOBRD is an electronic logging device (ELD). The FMCSA 1988 AOBRD rule first defined AOBRDs with far fewer requirements as an option for drivers who wanted to move away from paper logs. The 2012 ELD mandate replaced the 1988 rule but grandfathered in some existing AOBRDs. Electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) also qualify as AOBRDs.
Autonomous vehicles are exactly what the name implies: vehicles that drive themselves, also known as self-driving vehicles. They have become a hot topic for discussion, particularly in the last five years, as they begin to hit the roads in cities worldwide. There are currently 1,400 autonomous vehicles in use in the US right now. Over 80 companies are testing their merits, including Tesla, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler. These vehicles will only become more common in the future, so it’s essential to know something about them.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, or ADAS, refers to a growing number of technologies designed to improve safety for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. The most commonly used ADAS is the anti-lock braking system that is standard in all modern cars. Other examples include parking assist, lane assist, tire pressure monitoring, night vision improvements, blind spot detection, and adaptive cruise control. As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to be further integrated into vehicle technologies, we expect to see more and more ADAS examples in coming years.
Asset tracking is a vital part of fleet operations. It is the collection of real-time data from your equipment and vehicles, usually by using GPS trackers, barcodes, QR codes, or scanners. You can track location, HoS, idle time, and more regarding these vehicles. Naturally, companies need to know what they have on hand, and asset tracking helps stay on top of that. It’s been around as long as fleets have been in operation, albeit with paper and pencil. Today’s asset tracking is made much easier with electronic tracking devices and databases that fleet managers can view at any time.
Every vehicle is always at risk of breakdown when on the road. That’s why drivers should be aware of the right steps to take when faced with a vehicle breakdown. Every company, and fleet managers especially, should provide the necessary information to their drivers on what steps to take in case of a breakdown to ensure recovery.
Every fleet manager should prioritize the safety of their drivers and vehicles. Violating safety regulations and failing inspections can lead to loss of business and cost thousands of dollars in fines. For example, violating hours of service requirements can lead to a fine of up to $16,000, and carrying hazardous materials can lead to a $75,000 fine.
Getting involved in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is one way to establish a set protocol for your fleet and receive the training needed to improve compliance and safety.
All across the United States businesses utilize commercial fleets to get people and cargo where they need to be.
Commercial fleet vehicles are either owned or leased—there are unique benefits to both options. Companies that provide commercial fleet services companies offer leasing as well as fleet management and maintenance.
Road safety and driver accountability is a major concern for road users, fleet owners, and traffic authorities like the FMCSA. To ensure that drivers and fleet owners are held accountable for their driving conduct, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) established the CSA safety compliance and enforcement program. This program is meant to ensure drivers play a significant role in road safety.
Within this program, the FMCSA groups carriers with others who have a similar amount of safety events, then assigns each carrier a percentile rank, which is the technical term for a CSA score. Drivers don’t have their own CSA scores; however, if a driver has violations, those are assigned to the carrier.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA, is a non-profit organization comprised of commercial motor vehicle safety officials from various levels of government, partnering with industry representatives. The CVSA aims to improve the commercial motor vehicle inspection process by ensuring uniformity, compatibility, and reciprocity in inspections. The organization works throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to provide education and guidance to inspectors and enforcement officials as well as policy makers and industry leaders. CVSA aims to employ the values of integrity, professionalism, leadership, and teamwork to reach these ends. For more information on the CVSA, please visit cvsa.org.
A dashcam, or dashboard camera, is a piece of technology that records video and sometimes audio. Front-facing dashcams record what occurs outside of the vehicle, while others may include cameras facing the driver as well. Dashcams were initially mounted to the dashboard of a vehicle, but today most are mounted inside the windshield or attached to the rearview mirror. Increasingly, fleet managers employ dashcams to protect their fleet drivers in the case of an accident or other on-road incident. Dashcams can also help with quicker claims processing.
Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) are records used to confirm that a driver has inspected the commercial motor vehicle he or she operates. DVIRs are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They must be performed routinely, before and after each day’s work with a specific vehicle. The inspection includes parts like brakes, steering system, lights, mirrors, tires, couplings, and much more. In the past, DVIRs were typically done on paper forms, but today most fleets use electronic DVIRs. This helps cut back on paperwork and improves compliance by automatically reminding drivers at the start and end of each shift.
A DOT inspection is required by the U.S. Department of Transportation for all commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds. These inspections are carried out at highway weigh stations. There are six levels of inspection that may be carried out, based on a number of factors. These inspections include assessments of the driver, vehicle, cargo, and appropriate paperwork. By staying organized and keeping their fleet in good working condition, fleet managers can usually avoid DOT inspection violations and their resulting fines.
Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous problems out on the roads today. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 alone, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving. Taking one’s eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 mph means blindly driving the length of a football field. Accidents happen in a matter of seconds, so driving this distance without seeing the road can be catastrophic.
A driver reward program is a way of encouraging drivers to boost productivity and overall safety on the road. Drivers are a very important part of the workforce in any organization. They are responsible for ensuring that the company fleet is safe on the road and that client orders are delivered on time. A motivated fleet driver is more likely to observe good driving habits, reflecting on the company's overall productivity.
Commercial drivers must log their time based upon the number of hours they are legally able to work in the US. Because of this, Electronic Logging Devices, or ELDs, have seen a dramatic increase in use over the past five to 10 years. But how do they work, and how exactly does the electronic hardware within log driving hours? Can ELDs do anything else besides log drive times? You bet.
An electronic logging device (ELD) is a solution for commercial drivers that collects data about hours of service (HoS) from commercial motor vehicles. ELDs are now mandatory for most commercial drivers who operate in the US. These automated devices record data about the vehicle and driver, including engine health, HoS, vehicle location and movement, and the number of miles driven within a given period.
The ELD Mandate is a federal law passed by congress as part of 2012’s MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) Act. The ELD Mandate specifically requires all commercial fleet vehicles to employ electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record hours of service (HOS) logs, replacing the old paper logs that were in use by most fleets prior to adopting ELD technology. Full enforcement of the mandate began in April 2018, but some grandfathered companies had until December of 2019 to comply. Today, there are still a few possible ELD exemptions, but most commercial drivers must use ELDs while on the road.
eLogs are mandated by law for some drivers of commercial vehicles in the United States and beyond. eLogs can help fleet managers and business owners increase their productivity and profitability while reducing their costs.
In this article, we will outline what electronic logbooks are and the types of data they record. In addition, we will examine who is legally required to keep eLogs, describe the laws that regulate them, and analyze the benefits of keeping organized electronic logbooks.
Fleet managers should be well aware of the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. Non-compliance with ELD rules can cost your organization thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Fleets that are still operating with automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) need to be aware that their technology is outdated and should be upgraded to ELDs immediately to avoid penalties.
Fuel cards can be a great way for field service-based businesses to manage fuel expenses and provide a variety of other benefits to their drivers. Business fuel cards can save money, increase security, improve efficiency, and provide more specific information that will help guide your business practices. Getting and using fuel cards for your field service business is, simply put, good common sense for field service businesses of any size. Let’s look more closely at how using fuel cards can provide several benefits to your business.
The fleet dashboard is the main hub of Azuga’s fleet tracking software and provides real-time data on your operations. It’s where you’ll find an overview of your entire fleet.
Fleet managers can utilize a fleet dashboard to gain pertinent insights and perform their job more efficiently.
If you operate commercial vehicles daily, you need to manage your fleet effectively. Vehicle fleet management can be quite challenging. Fleet managers are expected to manage key areas of fleet operations such as vehicle acquisition, regulatory compliance, vehicle maintenance, and fuel management. Luckily, we’ve compiled five tips to help you navigate the process of managing a fleet of any size.
Mobile fleet tracking, or GPS fleet tracking, is a means by which fleet managers can track their vehicles in real-time, using mobile GPS tracking devices installed inside. This type of tracking is useful in improving dispatch and routing, reducing theft and unauthorized use, and generating telematics data that can help fleet managers get a more accurate picture of their fleet and its utilization. Fully-featured fleet tracking devices can also help improve fleet safety, boost productivity, improve maintenance programs, and maintain compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Better GPS fleet tracking systems today are tied to a well-rounded fleet management software program to make the fleet manager’s job more efficient.
Managing a small business fleet can be difficult. As a fleet manager, you have plenty of responsibilities. Asset reliability should not feature in the list of your concerns, though.
Medium to large businesses have the potential to reap massive benefits from working with reputable fleet management companies (FMCs). As a fleet owner, understanding what to expect from organized management is the first step towards enjoying optimum benefits. Each FMC is unique from the other, and understanding their offerings should guide you to choose the best one.
By combining GPS fleet tracking and telematics technologies, GPS fleet management can unlock valuable information about fleets and help them to improve their operations.
With GPS fleet management, fleet managers are able to do things like track their vehicles’ speed and location with GPS technologies, while also receiving information on engine status and safety measures via telematics devices. This is just a small sample of the wide array of data that GPS fleet management software collects.
Purchasing fleet management services has become a popular way for businesses to handle their fleet’s management and maintenance.
It is no wonder that when outsourcing fleet management and maintenance to experienced professionals, they can help improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of fleet operations.
Many businesses that have opted to outsource fleet management services wouldn’t dream of switching to in-house fleet management and maintenance divisions.
A fuel card, or fleet card, is a payment method similar to a credit card, used to purchase gasoline or diesel at gas stations. Many fuel cards feature discounts and other pricing benefits to make them attractive to fleet companies. Today’s fuel cards also offer tracking software to help fleet managers keep track of fuel spending within their fleet. There are many fuel cards to choose from, so it’s important to carefully choose the best fleet fuel cards for your business.
A fleet maintenance checklist is a method of tracking common maintenance concerns for commercial fleets. The checklist should include all parts of your commercial fleet vehicles, and information on how often they should be checked. It may also include records on how often routine maintenance tasks should be performed. In a large fleet, there may be several fleet maintenance checklists for different types of vehicles. Often, the best way to keep track of this information includes a telematics program designed to monitor maintenance concerns.
Fleet risk management is a process used to ensure a commercial fleet maintains the highest level of safety—on the road and off. Good fleet risk management also includes maintaining adequate insurance coverage, should an accident or other incident occur. Commercial fleet managers should always develop, maintain, and improve their fleet risk management plans to ensure that the company is not overly exposed to risky driver behaviors, mechanical failure, or other adverse conditions.
Auto insurance scores are not a common topic among fleets, largely because many fleets don’t understand how these scores can impact their business. In addition, many fleets confuse insurance scores with CSA scores. They’re related, and calculated using similar information, but they are different and have alternate impacts on your fleet. Considering all that fleet managers have to focus on, an insurance score may seem like a minor concern—but it shouldn’t be.
Since the passing of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate of 2019, fleet technology has been on an upward trend. But what some fleet managers don't realize is that this is a good thing — it means that the fleet technology we use today is the most advanced it has ever been.
Fleet maintenance is an integral part of running a fleet. Keeping vehicles in top shape is necessary for the safety and efficiency of any fleet and prevents breakdowns and high repair costs further down the line. Mechanical failures cut into productivity and can hurt revenue, causing a massive headache. Predictive maintenance is the practice of making repairs and performing upkeep before a component breaks. It is the best way to do fleet maintenance but can be challenging to manage. Fortunately, there are many resources and strategies to help fleet managers stay on top of things.
Fleet management is everything to do with managing a fleet. Tracking the vehicles, managing assets, maintaining compliance-- all of this falls under the fleet manager’s umbrella. It is a very demanding job and has a lot of moving parts. Luckily, many technologies today make a fleet manager’s job easier, including fleet management software, so a fleet manager doesn’t have to keep track of everything themselves. We will go over all of the parts of fleet management here.
Fleet management software is a must-have for any fleet. This computer software keeps track of routing, dispatch, maintenance, fuel expenditure, compliance, driver safety, and various other data points that make a fleet manager’s job easier. Most modern fleets are using fleet management software but may not be enjoying its full benefits or features. Technology is constantly evolving, and with it, fleet management software becomes more advanced. What features does fleet management software have, and how can fleets take advantage of it?
Fleet insurance is an insurance policy designed to cover a fleet of commercial motor vehicles. It is a vital part of any fleet’s operations and can cover anything from a half dozen vehicles to hundreds or even thousands. There are a few main types of fleet insurance. Full coverage is the most comprehensive, covering losses to your fleet as well as any losses to other injured parties. Liability coverage is a lesser option, only covering the other party in an accident. Roadside assistance coverage is often an add-on that will cover emergency assistance for your drivers in the case of a breakdown or other on-road incident not normally covered by your policy.
A fleet safety program is the way in which a fleet manager encourages driver safety on the road. This often includes training intended to improve driver safety performance, company policies designed to cut down on risky driving behaviors, and sometimes even rewards and incentives for drivers who consistently meet or exceed safety goals. A comprehensive fleet safety program should address more than just the drivers in the fleet though. It should also monitor the maintenance of vehicles, ensuring that any problems are addressed before they lead to accidents on the road. This will keep drivers safe on the road, and may also lead to lower insurance premiums, better productivity, and an improved public image.
While many commercial fleets are managed in house, some companies prefer to employ fleet management services through a professional fleet management firm. These third parties are experts at boosting productivity, lowering costs, and generating income within a fleet. Often they lease the vehicles in the fleet to the company running them. There are pros and cons of hiring a fleet management service, just as with any other type of outsourcing. While a professional fleet management company may have more experience and expertise than your in-house fleet manager, you also are giving away a measure of control over your fleet. It’s important to weigh the decision properly before engaging a fleet management service to handle your fleet.
If you utilize company vehicles during the course of business, you might want to familiarize yourself with enterprise fleet management and maintenance. Operating a fleet can be a challenge. Luckily there are things that you can do to make your life a lot easier. In this article, we will answer what is an enterprise fleet? Plus, we’ll outline four key tips you should know about enterprise fleet management and an additional three tips about enterprise fleet maintenance.
Tracking fleet data is vitally important to running a fleet in any industry. Any kind of data can be tracked, from where vehicles are, to what assets a company has on hand, to the safety of drivers and vehicles. All of this information is important for fleet managers to know to make their fleet effective and productive. What is fleet data, and how can it help fleets be more effective?
A GPS tracker is any device that communicates with the Global Positioning System network of satellites to track its location. The system includes roughly 30 satellites spaced above the Earth at all times. Using the signal from these satellites, a GPS tracker can pinpoint its location to within a few meters.
GPS fleet management is a term used to describe fleet management software based on GPS fleet tracking and telematics. This type of software works based on communication with a digital device inside of each commercial vehicle in the fleet. These devices communicate with global positioning systems to track the vehicle as it travels.
Fleets have a reputation for being a little behind the times when it comes to technology. Hours of Service (HOS) records, maintenance and inspections, and driver records were paper records, recorded and stored manually. Checking in on a driver, their location, and estimating their destination arrival time meant calling the driver.
Hours of service, or HOS, can be tricky for fleets to manage, especially with regulation changes and tricky rules like sleeper berth provisions. But these regulations are some of the most important for fleets. Drivers are on the road nearly 60 hours a week, with inconsistent schedules and many types of distractions. One of the most detrimental effects is drowsy driving, which results in an average 328,000 accidents per year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Hours of Service (HOS) logs have been required for commercial drivers since the 1930s. These records are used by authorities to ensure that drivers aren’t exceeding the maximum hours of driving between rest periods. This is meant to decrease the number of accidents resulting from drowsy driving. While these records were primarily kept in paper logbooks for decades, today federal mandates require electronic forms of HOS recordkeeping. Instead of paper logbooks, drivers today record their HOS data with ELDs or electronic logging devices.
In simplest terms, hard driving refers to any abrupt changes in driving behavior or rough handling of a vehicle. Some common examples of rough driving include harsh or sudden braking, hard cornering, and regular harsh acceleration.
What is vehicle idling and why is it so important for fleet managers to keep track of it? When your driver decides to take the wrong route and gets stuck in traffic, they are forced to put the vehicle in idling mode. That means the engine is running, but the vehicle is not moving. While there is nothing you can do when you are stuck in traffic other than idling the vehicle, it does not mean that it is not causing any harm.
Fleet management comes with a lot of paperwork—CDL licenses, training, inspections, hours of service (HOS), mileage, etc. All of this paperwork is required for compliance with regulations. However, tracking certain numbers, such as mileage, is more beneficial to your fleet than it is for any reporting agency. Your mileage does matter, in regards to calculating your CSA score, but it also matters when filing taxes and calculating tax deductions. Every business seeks opportunities for deductions. For fleets, one of the easiest deductions is mileage. To make sure you’re reporting mileage correctly your drivers should keep a mileage log. Below is everything you need to know about keeping a mileage log.
In the simplest terms, a mileage log is a manually-kept or automated record of the miles a driver completes in a given period, usually a day, week, or month. In some cases, a mileage log may be kept as part of a commercial driver's hours of service (HoS) so that the proper authorities can easily determine when he or she was driving as well as when he or she was in an off-duty status.
It is an agency of the US federal government with a mission to save lives, prevent injuries and avoid vehicle-related crashes. It’s a part of the Department of Transportation.
If you’re a fleet owner, fleet manager, or even fleet driver, you should know about the OBD-II port. It’s a standardized diagnostic port that allows you to access data from the computer in a vehicle’s engine. GPS trackers can be installed in a vehicle’s OBD-II port to provide live engine and trip data to a central hub or the driver.
In this article we will outline the basics of OBD-II ports, the history of the OBD-II port, and detailed specs on the OBD-II port pinout. Vehicles are integral to fleets and understanding the OBD-II port is essential to getting the most out of yours.
Vehicles must be inspected before and after each trip, as required by federal law. The driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) records both pre- and post-trip inspections. Pre-trip inspections are a thorough once over of the vehicle, checking that the vehicle, trailer, and any cargo are safe before the trip begins. This way, the driver and company are protected from the dangers of poorly maintained vehicles.
Post-trip inspections are a critical aspect of fleet safety, as an array of issues can arise when a vehicle is in service. The only way to ensure that a vehicle is truly in proper working order is through detailed, routine inspection.
Combining post-trip inspections with pre-trip inspections allows fleets to ensure that their vehicles haven’t taken on any significant wear and tear during their service that may impede quality on the next trip.
Pre- and post-trip inspections can save carriers money by reducing downtime, roadside repairs, fines received from regulatory bodies, and incidents of towing.
Route optimization is the use of technology to improve dispatch and routing for commercial fleet vehicles. Properly optimized routing includes factors such as traffic, road construction, number and location of stops along the route, time windows for deliveries or service calls, and other relevant data. Many fleet managers use GPS technology to help optimize their drivers’ routes in real time, resulting in more efficiency and productivity as well as lower fuel costs and better customer service.
A record of duty status, or RODS, is a report that each commercial driver must produce for each 24-hour period during which they operated a commercial motor vehicle. Since the ELD Mandate went into effect, these RODS reports must be kept electronically, using an approved electronic logging device, or ELD. Drivers must then be able to transmit RODS reports to inspectors at weigh stations when requested. RODS are maintained as a part of hours of service (HOS) reporting. There are some exemptions made for short-haul drivers traveling no more than 100 air-mile radius or non-CDL short-haul drivers.
Each driver is required by the law to record a driver’s duty of status every 24 hours, using the structures stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A record of duty status (RODS) can also be referred to as a driver’s log. It allows drivers to record details such as date, vehicle number, totals driving hours, the total number of miles driven within 24 hours, carrier’s name, a 24-hour period starting time, address, driver’s certification/signature, and remarks.
Interest in road usage charging programs has increased over the past decade. States are facing declining fuel tax revenues and are looking for new ways to fund the maintenance and operation of transport infrastructure.
Road usage charging programs tax vehicles regardless of their fuel source or fuel consumption. Widespread adoption of road usage charging could generate more revenue for states than fuel-tax based systems do now.
Stolen vehicle recovery is the process by which a vehicle is tracked down and returned after it becomes a target of theft. About 40% of stolen vehicles are never recovered, and for those that are the process can take weeks. For commercial fleets, this means lost productivity, not to mention damage done to the vehicle during this time, and the loss of any onboard cargo or equipment. Many fleet managers employ GPS tracking devices to assist in the recovery of stolen vehicles. Some tracking devices can also monitor large equipment and send an alert if an asset is removed from its designated location.
Technology is vital to fleet management. The most integral technology used in fleet management is telematics, which combines telecommunications, vehicle technology, and computer science. When vehicles directly communicate with operational software systems, that’s telematics. Fleet managers can use telematics to maintain compliance with government regulations, improve fuel efficiency and driver safety, stay on top of vehicle maintenance, and even lower insurance premiums.
Usage-based insurance (UBI) is an insurance policy that varies its costs based on driver behavior. The insurer inspects data collected by the vehicle and determines what discounts a driver can receive. The more safe behaviors and safety measures a fleet has in place, the better deals they can obtain on their insurance.
Fleet vehicles are subject to yearly inspections and may encounter roadside inspections or one of six levels of inspection at weigh stations. If a vehicle or fleet driver is not up to code, companies may face DOT violation fines, placed out of service, and higher CSA scores.