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.
In most cases, these aggressive driving behaviors are not necessary to maintain proper control of a vehicle. Vehicle operators who engage in these driving behaviors can cause unnecessary damage to your fleet vehicles. This damage can, in turn, cost you time and take your vehicles and drivers off the road and away from the customers they serve. Even worse, these driving habits can cause accidents, potentially making your field service business liable for damage caused to other cars and trucks on the road and injuries incurred by other motorists.
It is important to note that large, unwieldy trucks and fleet vehicles can be tough to control due to their size and weight. That said, it's also important to remember you shouldn’t hire operators who do not have the needed experience and licensure to handle such conditions. That’s because these types of vehicles are often slow to brake and challenging to maneuver without the right training.
It's crucial to note that hard driving puts vehicle operators at higher risk for causing accidents. What's more, there can be other things at play that cause improper driving behaviors, including, but not limited to, substance abuse, drowsiness caused by driving longer than is allowed by law, roadway distractions, speeding without cause, and driving aggressively rather than defensively.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, driving in a drowsy state resulted in 90,000 accidents while roadway distractions resulted in 3,166 total fatalities. The NHTSA also notes that in 2016, speeding alone was the cause of accidents resulting in 10,000 deaths in the US.
For these reasons, drivers should be well-rested, alert, able to avoid distractions in their vehicles, and capable of maintaining an appropriate speed. Cautious driving practices are not complicated and have the power to save human lives — not just those of fleet vehicle drivers but also of other motorists on the road.
According to a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, many fleet operators are unaware that the cost of fuel for their fleet vehicles amounts to as much as or more than 60 percent of their overall field service-based business budgets.
Your fleet can avoid these higher fuel costs in large measure by reducing the frequency of hard driving. Harsh braking and hard acceleration dramatically raise the amount of fuel used by each fleet vehicle as controlled by each vehicle operator. The Entrepreneur Magazine article states that by putting an end to these practices, you can reduce fuel costs by as much as three miles per gallon, which is a dramatic savings for any fleet business.
You can also reduce the cost of fleet vehicle maintenance by addressing and putting an end to hard driving habits. When you address hard driving practices with your drivers, such as idling for too long and braking too harshly, you'll dramatically reduce engine wear and tear and the frequency of tire changes.
Hard driving can also have a heavy impact on fleet vehicle suspension, springs, and shock absorbers as these behaviors cause these parts of fleet vehicles to deteriorate much faster. To avoid the cost associated with fixing these parts with great regularity, consider addressing hard driving issues with your vehicle operators in short order.
Every fleet-based business operation has a compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) score. This score is determined by how many — or how few — violations, accidents, out-of-service periods, and inspections your field service-based company has had. Each CSA violation will cost your business money, just like any other type of moving violation would.
The costs of some of these CSA violations can be hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity of the violation. One way to correct hard driving habits that are causing your fleet-based business is to install dash cams on all of your fleet vehicles.
Dash cams will prevent bad driving habits like harsh braking, speeding, and distracted driving because drivers know they are under your watchful eye. When we consider that the fleet industry as a whole loses around $60 billion each year due to CSA violations, we begin to understand the value of dash cams, tracking apps, and GPS fleet tracking.
Your drivers’ safety should be equivalent to any other issue you may face as the owner or operator of a fleet-based business. Second to their safety would be the safety of your vehicles and any other assets you have out on the road. These assets may include any equipment, tools, and inventory your drivers have on board in order to do their jobs properly and in a timely manner.
By reducing hard driving practices, you keep your drivers and the assets they carry safer. But helpful technology like dash cams cannot work in a vacuum. Consider Azuga’s field service management software and other solutions along with our GPS fleet tracking system to work alongside our AI-powered dash cams. To learn more about how they all work together, visit www.azuga.com today.
The vehicle miles traveled tax is known by multiple names: the mileage tax, road usage charging (RUC), distance-based user fees (DBUF), vehicle miles traveled tax (VMTT), or mileage-based user fees (MBUF). It is simply a tax based on how many miles a driver travels. It is an excellent option to replace the gas tax as a means to fund the Highway Trust Fund. This fund is how our nation pays for maintaining and building infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and tunnels.
The gas tax is an antiquated way of funding our infrastructure and has been inadequate for over a decade. It has not kept up with inflation in the last 25 years, causing it to drop in value by over 40%. In the last quarter-century, traffic has only increased as the population has grown. The wear and tear on our infrastructure worsens, but our ability to maintain it can’t keep up.
Furthermore, electric and fuel-efficient cars pay very little, if any, gas tax. They still use the roads and contribute to their degradation, but the drivers do not help pay for their upkeep. While electric and fuel-efficient vehicles are better for the environment, it is still important that these drivers pay their fair share of taxes for the roads.
This tax is already in place in Oregon and Utah on an opt-in basis. Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have researched road usage charging programs in their states with success. Oregon’s fully functioning road usage charging program, OReGO, is the leading example of how to implement a mileage tax nationwide.
OReGO uses Azuga Insight to automatically track driver miles and collect revenue without any staff needed or driver intervention. Drivers simply install hardware into their OBD port and set up a wallet online. As they drive, Azuga Insight tracks their miles and removes funds automatically from the wallet.
Participation in OReGO is optional, but drivers have the incentive of not having to pay increased registration fees based on mpg rating. Drivers who opt-in have to meet these vehicle requirements:
OReGO has been implemented smoothly and is easy to sustain.
Roads in poor condition cause 14,000 highway fatalities annually. It’s necessary for communities everywhere to obtain the funding to repair and maintain their roads. Streets all over the country are aging rapidly, and more funding in the Highway Trust Fund would help us stay on top of maintenance before more fatalities happen.
Most drivers will pay the same as they are currently paying under the gas tax, but all drivers will be paying instead of just some. This means that electric vehicles and fuel-efficient vehicles will contribute their fair share as well. Everyone pays for what they use, so drivers who don’t drive very much won’t have to worry about paying very much.
Experts believe that implementing a vehicle miles traveled tax across the US would increase the Highway Trust Fund by $340 million. This would fund improvements to existing infrastructure, along with new infrastructure for areas that have grown in the past 25 years.
The vehicle miles traveled tax is the most likely solution to the issue of our country’s crumbling infrastructure. It may be a long time before it is implemented across the nation, but as states pick it up, it is important to know what it is and how it will affect you. To keep up with the latest updates regarding the vehicle miles traveled tax, follow Azuga Insight’s blog.
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?
Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to keep vehicles on the road for the long haul. With how much time fleets spend driving, wear and tear on a vehicle is inevitable, but fleet managers can reduce this by harnessing telematics and maintenance alerts. Telematics can tell managers when a vehicle has engine trouble or when a driver is being rough on the brakes or idling too much. Managers can also set up maintenance alerts so they do not have to try and remember when each vehicle needs routine maintenance. Preventative maintenance is crucial to a vehicle’s longevity and will help it stay on the road for years to come.
Any fleet’s top priority is safety. Drivers and vehicles are integral to a fleet business’s entire operation, and ensuring that they do their jobs safely is a huge part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily fleet data can track driver behavior and determine if drivers are behaving safely behind the wheel. Telematics can track actions such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, distracted driving, and speeding. When drivers display any of these behaviors, they will receive an alert. If the behaviors continue, the system will alert the fleet manager, who can then choose to get in touch with the driver. Accidents can cost thousands of dollars, and days of lost time for businesses, so avoiding them is crucial for companies to succeed.
Asset tracking is terrific for preventing theft, but it is also ideal for fleet managers to keep track of what they have on hand in their warehouse. Often, assets and equipment sit unused in a warehouse, taking up space that something practical could be occupying. With asset data, fleet managers can determine what assets the fleet does not use and get rid of them, making room for something that will be more beneficial for the company. Furthermore, knowing what’s on hand prevents double-purchasing, which saves the company money as well.
Tracking fleet data is essential for keeping a fleet productive and effective. It is all part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily, Azuga has many tools to help with tracking fleet data. Reach out to the experts at Azuga today to find out how to get started gathering data today so that you can do the best for your fleet.
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.
Records can be maintained using an electronic logging device (ELD), using an FMCSA approved automatic on-board recording gadget, or even manually on a grid. Logs must be validated at all times by indicating each change in a duty status.
A RODS is mandatory as part of Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which applies to commercial vehicles (CMVs). However, a few cases of short-haul carriers are exempt from maintaining records of duty status.
Company policies may be different, but the FMCSA only expects drivers to record time and location after every stop.
Since the introduction of the ELD mandate, several motor carriers are leaning toward electronic logging devices to maintain their records of duty status automatically. Companies were given until December 16, 2019 to update automatic on-board recording devices to the latest ones, meaning there were also some exemptions to the ELD Rule.
Exemptions to RODS regulations include the following:
For drivers to qualify for the exemption, they must meet all the requirements stated by the regulations. Failure to meet even one of the requirements means all HOS rules apply.
A driver must produce ELD records when requested by a safety official, either immediately, or within the permissible time if the motor carrier operates from more than one terminal or office. A motor carrier is supposed to retain a back-up copy of all ELD records for at least six months.
Only carriers or drivers falling under the exempted categories may use other recording methods, which may include automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to maintain driver record of duty status.
Being exempted from the ELD rule does not mean you are automatically exempted from the HOS regulations. A driver is required to submit original paper log sheets to their respective carriers within 13 days after the completion of their trips. The driver retains a copy of all RODS for the previous seven days, which must be produced on request for inspection at the time they are on duty. Drivers must also sign all hard copies of RODS.
The idea behind mandating the ELD rules was to provide accurate, consistent, and accessible methods of logging driver hours of service, and simultaneously create a safer working environment. The new measures were intended to ensure drivers took necessary breaks and rested appropriately, and to ensure they remained alert while driving. Making the switch from manual processes like logbooks to electronic hours of service tools makes it easier for businesses to keep up with the FMCSA requirements.
However, the implementation of electronic logging devices does not change the fleet manager’s responsibility to track off duty or driving hours. What it does require is that you make use of a log tracking device and software system.
The HOS rules apply to drivers operating CMVs such as school buses and semi-trucks. For a vehicle to be classified as a CMV, it must fulfil the following:
If a vehicle meets the qualifications above, it is required by the law to comply with HOS regulations and to maintain decent hours of service log.
Besides ordinary traffic violations and unsafe driving, it is common among drivers to fail to comply with HOS regulations. Hours of Service compliance counts as one of the core basics of CSA, and maintaining a low score is often a result of piling frustrations.
The ability to fix problems associated with hours of service is the most crucial way to keep safety scores in check, and helps in controlling the frequency of roadside inspections.
Below are the most common violations of Hours of Service and how you can fix them.
When entering data manually, issues like mathematical errors, poor handwriting, the omission of essential information, and many other mistakes, may arise. These are issues that can be minimized by implementing an electronic system that automatically fills in the required data when it is needed. Tired drivers can easily leave out essential data, which could be deemed a violation of the hours of service regulations.
The driver record of duty status graph shown on a log must always be up to date, showing each detail of changes. Forgetting, or simply failing to update duty status is common among drivers and leads to severe roadside inspections. It is mostly due to drivers failing on their mandate to remain vigilant by changing statuses.
It is easy to fix this recurring problem with the simple touch of a screen. All drivers have to do is to indicate the time their shifts start, and to change their status to off-duty when shifts end. Electronic logbooks are designed to detect when a vehicle is stationary or in motion, and gives accurate data at all times.
Failing to properly maintain your RODS and not maintaining logs for seven days is a violation that can lead to hefty fines. Drivers of companies running smaller vehicles may not be aware of what is required of them, but they must check with the relevant authorities. Inspectors ask for records of the previous seven days. Therefore, drivers must not misplace any record whatsoever.
Azuga works with you to deliver customized solutions for fleets and drivers. It doesn’t matter the size of your fleet, Azuga offers the right products and technology to duly maintain drivers’ records of duty status and keep you compliant with the hours of service regulations.