Complying with the Department of Transportation’s hours of service (HOS) regulations can be a challenge for fleet managers, but technology can help. As part of a comprehensive fleet management system, GPS fleet tracking and other features help companies avoid HOS violations by ensuring that a company’s fleet is operated and maintained in the most efficient way possible.
In turn, this technology puts drivers in a position to comply with the regulations that restrict driving time to 10 or 11 hours of driving within a 14 hour work day. Let’s look at some of the things fleet tracking solutions can do that ease the stress of following regulations while enhancing your productivity.
1. E-logs keep track of drivers’ hours more accurately than paper logs.
The FMCSA published a mandate on December 18, 2015 that electronic logging devices (ELDs) must be used rather than paper logs to track driver activity. ELDs, also known as e-logs, will be required for compliance as of December 18, 2017 when the two-year adoption period is over. With this upcoming change, many fleet management companies have already started ditching paper logs and implementing electronic logging devices for their vehicles.
Using a combination of modern GPS fleet tracking software and ELDs, companies can track drivers’ hours and progress without the inherent unreliability of traditional paper logs. Companies that use paper logs must rely on drivers recording data themselves, which may not always be correct. Electronic driver logs and GPS tracking enable fleet managers to gain more accurate information about when the vehicle is on, when it is motion, and the distance it has traveled. This gives them a comprehensive overview of whether HOS regulations are being followed and exactly how.
2. By locating the closest driver to dispatch, fleet tracking technology enables employees to use their HOS efficiently.
Being able to locate drivers at any given time and no matter where they are makes for a more efficient fleet. Fleet management software that includes e-logs allows drivers to submit paperless forms about their status, and combined with GPS location data, fleet managers can get a clear understanding of the location of the company’s fleet. This becomes especially useful when there is a sudden need to dispatch a driver to a specific location. The system will show exactly which available driver is closest. As a result, a driver further away won’t have to waste their hours getting to the location when someone closer could be dispatched.
3. Route optimization also helps drivers make the most of the time they’re on the road.
Inevitably, traffic and other issues force drivers to look for alternate routes to get to specific locations. If drivers find unexpected traffic on their routes, dispatchers can utilize GPS vehicle tracking to help them find a more direct, efficient route. This cuts down the time drivers spend on the road stuck in traffic and enables them to get more done in their permitted driving time.
4. Tracking vehicle maintenance and reducing downtime ultimately contributes to HOS compliance.
Though it may not be apparent from first glance, fleet management systems also aid in HOS compliance by reducing vehicle downtime. GPS fleet tracking logs the distance a particular vehicle has traveled, and automated software can remind fleet managers to schedule maintenance checks at regular intervals. While this does not directly impact the time and efficiency of drivers when they are actually on the road, it ensures that this downtime can be scheduled in advance. This prevents domino effect situations where drivers have to work extra hours to make up for that downtime, which may mean skipping their 30-minute break and violating HOS rules.
GPS tracking and hours of service tracking can help you run a productive and compliant fleet
In order to eliminate HOS violations, fleet managers should formulate a strategy that incorporates GPS fleet tracking technology with electronic logging devices to run their fleet efficiently. This will ensure that drivers are effectively deployed and can make the most of their hours of daily driving time. In addition to adhering to HOS regulations, fleet managers must monitor a variety of aspects related to the safety and maintenance of their fleet, and fleet tracking software can be a major help.