What is the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)?

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Introduction 

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. 

For fleet owners, understanding both the criteria and penalties for inspection will help you prioritize compliance for your organization. Luckily, you won’t have to do it alone. There is an alliance you can join to get the training and help you need to support your fleet. 

What is the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) 

Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is a non-profit organization composed of various state transportation officials, city authorities, fleet owners, and federal government representatives. The alliance aims to improve vehicle and driver safety by providing education and guidance to industry leaders, law enforcement, and policymakers. 

History of CVSA 

The group was formed in 1980 and designed to bring uniformity to commercial motor vehicle enforcement. A memorandum of understanding was established, outlining out-of-service criteria and minimum inspections that vehicle owners needed to follow. As a result, those who conformed to this new agreement saw fewer crashes. 

By 1982, non-government personnel wanted to join in on the alliance. By 1988, they started their annual Operation Roadcheck event, where CVSA inspectors complete a thorough 72-hour roadside inspection. Since this event began, over 1.4 million inspections have been conducted. By 1991, the alliance expanded to other countries, including Mexico and Canada. 

CVSA - Latest News 

In recent news, CVSA hosted its Brake Safety Week event, where 43,565 commercial vehicles were inspected for brake-related violations. Of those, 12% were forced out of service for brake violations.

Despite the pandemic, many truck drivers were assigned as essential personnel, and therefore, commercial vehicles must be operating safely on roadways. 

What Fleet Managers Should Know 

All fleet managers should understand the ins and outs of inspections and out-of-service criteria. This information must be relayed to all drivers as well. 

Inspections 

Inspections are bound to happen to your fleet, so it’s important to be prepared. About 4 million inspections are conducted annually on commercial vehicles in North America, ensuring that large trucks are operating safely when driving on the road. There are eight levels of inspections, all of which examine different aspects of safety. 

Out-of-Service Criteria 

Failing to meet certain inspection requirements may only cost a small fine, or drivers may get away with a warning. In contrast, the Out-of-Service criteria is a pass or fail inspection. This type of inspection identifies critical failures that force the vehicle, cargo, or driver to be out of service until the defects are fixed or the condition improves. This type of failed inspection can affect your bottom line and negatively impact the reputation of your company. 

Benefits of Joining CVSA 

Fleet owners or managers are classified as Class III CVSA members and are typically referred to as associate members. The annual fee ranges from $550 to $1,050. By joining the CVSA, you’ll be a part of an alliance committed to compatibility, reciprocity, and uniformity when it comes to enforcement and commercial vehicle inspections. Here is a list of benefits for joining this non-profit organization: 

Workshops and Conferences: These meetings provide educational and networking opportunities for members to gain feedback, share ideas, and perspectives on transportation safety. Each event is unique and focuses on a singular aspect. For instance, in 2021, CVSA will host a virtual conference called the Virtual COHMED Conference centered around inspections and regulations on hazardous materials and goods. 

Safety Programs: CVSA offers many helpful flagship programs, such as Operation Airbrake, International Roadcheck, the North American Inspectors, the Level VI Program, Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development, and Operation Safe Driver. 

Within these programs, CVSA-certified officials will inspect your fleet and help you redesign your fleet processes to avoid common maintenance pitfalls. In 2019, 67,072 inspections were completed. Of that amount, 2,784 drivers were taken off the road for out-of-service violations, while 12,019 vehicles were removed due to the failure of critical vehicle items violations. This includes problems with a vehicle’s brake systems, frames, fuel systems, exhaust systems, steering mechanisms, and other components. 

Training and Education Materials: Learn from the enforcement officials who inspect your vehicles. CVSA offers many publications, instructional products, and educational resources created by both industry members and enforcement officials. These materials provide preventative maintenance tips to help fleet owners pass their inspections and stay safe on the road. 

CVSA Directory and Networking Opportunities: CVSA provides an updated directory with a large contact list of trucking companies, enforcement agencies, owner-operators, trade publication companies, manufacturers, and consultants. There are plenty of networking opportunities where members can interact with one another to gain real-world knowledge about enforcement jurisdictions and ask questions about safety regulations. 

Conclusion 

The commercial vehicle safety alliance can be a valuable asset to your company. Working with industry leaders and enforcement officials will help you gain the necessary knowledge to train your staff on these inspection protocols. As a result, you will save thousands of dollars and prevent accidents. 
Level-up your fleet by installing Azuga’s fleet management software. This system offers an array of technology such as GPS tracking, driver dashcam, eLog records, monitoring driver performance, and scheduling vehicle maintenance. Ultimately incorporating Azuga enhances vehicle and driver safety.

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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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