What is Geofencing? Everything Fleet Managers Need to Know

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What is Geofencing? Everything Fleet Managers Need to Know

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. It was nearly impossible to accurately calculate fuel consumption. Advancements such as idle time monitoring and geofencing weren’t even a concept in the minds of many fleet managers. The implementation of the ELD mandate sparked a huge change in the technological direction of fleets across the United States.

The Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate requires electronic monitoring of HOS in order to increase safety and potentially reduce the number of fleet vehicle accidents. This was a common concern, considering that truck drivers spend around 60 hours on the road each week. To electronically monitor and record hours of service, fleets must use an ELD, which connects to a vehicle’s OBD-II port under the dashboard. This technology rose out of the manufacturing lines of the 1970s as a means of creating vehicle reports. The evolution of this technology has led to applications in telematics insurance and used by a variety of industries such as construction, plumbing, utilities, and more.

Today, the solutions for fleets don’t stop at GPS tracking and HOS logging. There are now features such as route optimization, fuel card integration, and geofencing. Fleet managers are more familiar with route planning, optimization, and fuel cards, but geofencing is a lesser-known feature. Despite this, geofencing is rapidly spreading across the industry as more and more fleets are catching onto all the uses and benefits of this technology. Learn all you need to know about geofencing below.

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a virtual perimeter set around a physical location. It works in conjunction with software or an app to send alerts to a user. It could use GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, asset trackers, or cellular data to trigger these alerts. Though it depends on how you configure the geofence, entering or leaving the perimeter triggers an alert, push notification, or targeted ad. While advertisers are finding a lot of great use for this technology in location-based ads, geofences are used for dozens of other applications, including:

  • Ski resorts to ensure skiers aren’t entering off-limit areas
  • National parks to act faster in an emergency
  • Nursing homes to ensure their residents don’t wander off
  • Warehouses for deliveries
  • Pet tracking to ensure pets don’t leave a perimeter
  • Construction to reduce theft and manage stored equipment
  • City planning to monitor traffic in an area
  • Movers to charge more if a vehicle is taken outside of a given area
  • The White House for preventing drones from entering the air space
  • Vehicle fleets to monitor idling, productivity at job sites, and stored equipment

These aren’t the only applications for geofencing, but you can see that there is a wide range of uses.

How Geofencing Works

Geofencing is often a feature of software or an application. To create one usually only requires drawing a perimeter around a map and a configuration. This configuration is the response you wish the geofence to have. For instance, if you’re interested in protecting equipment from theft, configure the geofence to send alerts when someone enters your perimeter during unauthorized hours. Or, use the technology in coordination with asset trackers and ensure that assets remain inside the perimeter when not authorized for use.

The software needed to create a geofence often uses RFID’s (remote frequency identification devices) or GPS (global positioning system). Configuring to a location with a specific motivation is called setting up an “if this, then that” command.

How to Use Geofencing for Your Fleet

Geofences are an extraordinary development. They allow businesses to send texts and push notifications for sales when a customer enters their perimeter. It allows you to send commands to your home if you are using IoT (Internet of Things) connected devices. For example, coming within fifty feet of your home could trigger the lights to come on. It allows businesses of all sizes to protect their stored equipment at multiple locations. For fleets, the benefits of geofencing are innumerable. Let’s take a look at the most vital uses of geofencing for fleets below.

Vehicle Tracking

There are many reasons to track your fleet vehicles. For one, tracking them in real-time eliminates the need for ETA phone calls, which can often be a distraction for drivers. You can set a perimeter around their destination, rest areas, loading areas, etc. with auto-status alerts to ensure your fleet remains on track. This eliminates some of the burden on fleet managers and drivers as well. Fleet management teams no longer have to micromanage or spend all day making calls. Drivers feel more freedom without the constant check-ins. Some companies are even seeing geofencing as a way to allow employees the space to create their own schedules.

Improve Customer Service

Customers have higher expectations today, and it can be difficult for companies to keep up. Tools like geofencing make it easier by providing delivery notifications to customers. They’ll receive alerts when packages are inbound, and provide them accurate delivery times. It also allows fleet managers to ensure employees are staying on task and meeting delivery objectives.

Decreases Downtime

Downtime is one of the most difficult things to avoid when it comes to repairs on a vehicle or asset. Setting a geofence around a repair shop helps you to see when repairs are completed or when a vehicle moves from the parking lot to the shop. This helps you cut downtime by knowing exactly when you can put that vehicle back in rotation.

Prevent Theft

Theft is a huge concern for fleets, and geofencing is the main solution. You’ve invested a lot in your assets and vehicles, and a majority of that equipment can remain in storage for long periods of time. Geofencing helps ensure that your assets remain where they should be when they’re not in use. If a vehicle or asset is removed from a perimeter when it shouldn’t be, you’ll receive alerts that will help you respond faster. You’ll also be able to provide more detailed information to police for recovery. And, if that asset also has a tracker, you’re more likely to recover it.

Time Management

There are a lot of tasks involved in fleet management, each demanding a lot of time from managers. Geofencing helps to eliminate things like phone calls for check-ins, manual ETA notifications for customers, and manual HOS logging. With geofencing, you can use virtual time cards, knowing exactly when your team appears on a job site. You no longer have to record hours or check in on employees. This automatically reduces the amount of time fleet managers spend on mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on growth and optimization instead.

Proper Deployment and Utilization of Assets

Because companies have a wide range of assets, and there isn’t always a need for those assets on job sites—they often sit in storage for months at a time. Because of this, fleets may purchase excess equipment, not knowing what they have in storage or across job sites. Geofencing allows you to see what assets are where, along with utilization data to help you maximize your productivity.

How to Implement Geofencing In Your Fleet

Quality fleet management and geofencing software features give you the ability to reduce costs, increase visibility and productivity, and improve your fleet. Not only can you monitor assets and locations in real time, you’ll receive alerts for unauthorized usage, deliveries, and anything else you want to configure. You’ll also receive feedback on idling, utilization, safety, and more.

The way to achieve all of this is to integrate the right software into your fleet. Azuga Fleet offers companies GPS fleet tracking for vehicles, dashcams, asset tracking, and geofencing. Our full range of fleet management tools includes features such as route planning and optimization, fuel card integration, and real-time tracking. With our dashboard, you’ll receive easy-to-read reports on all of your assets, with data on idling, usage, location, driver behavior, engine diagnostics, and more. All of this data helps you to optimize your fleet in as many ways as possible. With better optimization, your fleet functions at its best, increasing the satisfaction of your customers and helping your business grow.


Learn more about what fleet and asset tracking with geofencing can do for you with Azuga.

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What is the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax?

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.  

Why Do We Need the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax?

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. 

How Would We Implement the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax? 

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: 

  • Light-duty
  • 20 miles-per-gallon or better rating
  • Registered to an Oregon resident

OReGO has been implemented smoothly and is easy to sustain. 

Benefits of the Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax

Safer

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. 

Fairer

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.

More Funding

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. 

Conclusion

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.

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What is Fleet Data?

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?

Fleet Data for Vehicle Maintenance

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. 

Fleet Data for Safety

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. 

Fleet Data for Asset Tracking

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. 

Conclusion

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.


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Record of Duty Status

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.

Exemptions to Record of 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:

  • Drivers driving within a radius of 150 air-miles
  • Drivers of CMVs driving within a radius of 150 air-miles, who do not need a CDL, and at the same time operate within a radius of 150 air-miles of their daily reporting locations.

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.

Electronic Logging Devices

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.

Submitting and Retaining Driver Record of Duty Status Paper Logs

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.

Electronic HOS Regulations

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.

Who Should Comply with ELD HOS Logging?

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:

  • Weigh above 10,000 pounds
  • Have a combined weight rating or gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds
  • Be used for transporting 16 or more persons, including the driver, or nine or more passengers for commercial transport purposes
  • Transport goods classified as hazardous and require placards

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. 

Common Hours of Service Violations - And How to Fix Them

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.

Clerical Form Errors

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.

Not Updating Statuses

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.

No Records of Duty Status

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.

Partner with Azuga for FMCSA Compliance

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.

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