The good news for the fleet management industry is that there have been improvements in overall driver safety behaviors. According to the third annual Driver Scorecard Benchmarking Survey, larger vehicles, including medium and heavy-duty trucks, saw a 6.9 percent reduction in idling infractions and an almost 2 percent drop in harsh braking, fast acceleration, and speeding in recent years.
For the coming year, managers need to continue to focus on driver behavior in addition to preparing for new industry changes that could impact how their fleets perform. New technology and regulations are making telematics solutions mandatory to create efficiencies and reduce fleet spend. Here are 4 issues to consider as we head into the new year:
- Self-Driving Cars: Although still in their infancy, removing the driver from the fleet equation does not reduce the driver safety issue. In fact, a study of 8 autonomous car companies shows that when these vehicles were involved in an incident, 57 percent of them were rear-ended by other people. Telematics will take on even more importance, in terms of vehicle tracking, maintenance, and accidents. Data points you can track if you’re considering an autonomous fleet include:
- “Side Hustle”: When it comes to fleets with cars, SUVs, and vans, drivers could be tempted to take on a side hustle like Uber or Lyft. Problems arise as there is more wear and tear on the vehicle, increased fuel use, and putting the company at risk if there is an accident. While the appropriate use of company vehicles should be addressed in your fleet safety policy, a GPS tracking device can tell you where your vehicles and assets are in real time while tracking the mileage for each vehicle. You can also identify the start and stop times of each driver’s day, thereby maintaining oversight on where and how your cars are being used.
- Regulations: As of December 2017, Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) are mandatory for all fleet companies in order to replace paper logs. Before, if a driver was caught without a logbook, it would be considered an hours worth of service violation. Now, a driver caught without an ELD, or not properly logged into their ELD can be placed out of service for up to 10 hours for each violation of the updated CVSA guidelines, or fined. According to ELDFacts.com, the total amount of hours of service fines issued since the beginning of the year is $239,101,612. It’s better to be safe than sorry by getting ELDs for all vehicles in your fleet. Provide training for drivers so they understand how to log in, review, and submit data.
- The Changing Role of Fleet Managers: The result of all the aforementioned issues is the evolution of fleet managers from operational — procurement, sales, driver screening, and testing, etc — to a more strategic and data-driven role. An article on trucks.com states that “technology and the fleet manager’s ability to use it to make informed decisions, and implementing new technologies to improve the driver experience and compliance is vital. Just being a ‘car guy’ is not enough anymore.”
If the last two years are any indication of what’s to come in 2019, fleet companies will face even more digital disruption in order to stay competitive. Everything will be measured, from mileage to driver behavior to maintenance. A good first step is to implement a telematics solution that is simple enough for all levels of technological savvy. GPS tracking can help businesses in any field improve their efficiency and deliver better service by decreasing expenses and increasing revenue, tracking vehicles and assets, monitoring equipment and vehicle usage, and improving driver safety. One of the most powerful benefits of GPS tracking is its ability to reduce fuel costs by up to 20 percent by eliminating inefficient driving behaviors like speeding and idling. Learn more by downloading our Ultimate Guide to GPS Tracking for Business.