Impacting every aspect of your operations, the biggest issue facing the transportation industry is regulatory compliance. Compliance requirements are in place to ensure the safety of the general public as well as ensuring vehicles are safe. The transportation industry is highly visible in the public eye and the measures are intended to protect people from poorly maintained vehicles and fatigued drivers.
Safety compliance is a must for any business looking to reduce hours of service (HOS) fines and costly out of service (OOS) violations. Non-compliant carriers can also expect to be inspected a lot more often and be subjected to more detailed inspections. According to the USDOT, over 80% of electronic screening sites in the USA use safety score and other similar data to determine if a vehicle should be stopped for detailed inspection. This further reduces their time on the road and also effects their bottom-line.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the federal agency enforcing these regulations. In 2013 FMCSA officers conducted 3.4 million roadside driver inspections. Violations occurred in 31% of these inspections with 5% of these resulting in an OOS violation. Out of all of these violations, more than half where related to HOS regulations.
These violations not only affect your safety score, they can seriously hurt the profitability of your business. A roadside OOS violation can make a huge dent in your earnings due to the downtime of driver and vehicle. Fines can range in price but penalties could be as high as $11,000 per offence for a business and $2,750 for a driver.
If your company’s non-compliance issues are serious enough, it could even end up in a lawsuit. Jury’s tend not to be sympathetic towards trucking companies when safety issues have been ignored. Legal cases can run into the hundreds of thousands where carriers not only have to pay damages but also have to pay the costs associated with lawyers, attorneys and everything else associated with their legal defense.
What does it cost to stay compliant, safe and responsible?
As we can see repeated non-compliance can end up costing a company a lot of money. Safety should come first, and violators should be punished, but often fleets are given poor scores due to sloppy logs and poor administration. It’s a major problem that needs a solution.
As well as operating efficiently, regulatory compliance is a must for your company, drivers and trucks to keep revenue at maximum. Carries need to invest in compliance, as the necessary upfront investment will always end up being cheaper than non-compliance.
The complexity of HOS regulations can often make compliance difficult for a driver. There are 4 major HOS rules governing the length of a workday and maximum time drivers can drive. Not only must the driver keep track of these times, but they also have to take into consideration daily tasks that also contribute to these time limits. They also have to record and be able to interpret their daily records to ensure they remain compliant.
In the past drivers would have to manually log their HOS of paperwork, keep track of their remaining hours mentally and fax all their forms back to their home terminal. This practice was not only time consuming and confusing it also generated reams of paperwork and was prone to errors.
Although driver violations related to HOS are the most common, staying compliant with HOS regulations by maintaining complete and accurate records is one of the easiest steps your company can take towards regulatory compliance. Best of all it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Electronic logging greatly reduces the complexity and manual processes associated with HOS and safety compliance. With a logging app like BigRoad, drivers no longer have to worry about their remaining hours as everything is recorded for them. They will also receive warnings when they are running out of hours for the day. It’s the quickest path to improving safety scores and avoiding DOT penalties.
Waiting for drivers to submit their logs is also a thing of the past as electronic logging allows you instant access to the availability of your entire fleet. This is allows you spot log violations before they happen, preventing logging errors and giving you the ability to better allocate your driver’s remaining time. With all your driver’s records stored in one location it makes log audits easy, completely eliminating the hours spent sifting through paperwork.
The biggest cost investment your business needs to make with HOS compliance is training your staff on the software. Electronic logs can run on readily available technology like smart phones and tablets. A cost effective system like BigRoad offers a low monthly fee with no contracts or hidden fees.
If you are lagging behind with compliance now is the time to invest. Electronic logging of compliance-related forms will be the primary method to file logs in the near future.