As a fleet manager, your role is always changing. Today, it is not just about keeping track of vehicles and ensuring driver safety but also looking after the maintenance of fleet vehicles, overseeing timely deliveries to your customer, and much more.
Moreover, the constantly changing rules and regulations of the commercial vehicle industry can add complexity to the work of fleet managers.
One of the main responsibilities of fleet managers is to organize and keep an eye on some crucial work-related documents.
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Top 4 Documents That Every Fleet Manager Should Pay Attention To
Recording driver information has the potential to significantly increase your productivity, resulting in less fatigue, a boost in your operational efficiency, and an increase in customer satisfaction. Not only that, but implementing a fleet management software will enable you to track this information effectively.
If this is already making you curious and you want to improve your fleet management operations, then check out the list of essential documents, followed by why should you have a system in place for documenting them:
A Driver’s Qualification
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the US Department of Transportation (DOT) agency, which is responsible for enforcing the safety regulations of the commercial fleet business.
The agency also audits fleet companies’ operational documents for DOT standards and FMCSA safety regulations. When the agency sees that a driver is not adhering to the required regulations, then it asks the company for his qualification records.
If the agency finds that the details related to a driver’s information are not up-to-date and they are working on an invalid license, then the company has to pay hefty fines.
Such an incident can result in a driver’s disqualification, which leads to money as well as time down the drain. Moreover, it can jeopardize the company’s reputation for not complying with the rules.
Hence, you must keep updated records of the drivers’ application, their details of past driving records, medical information, and other necessary certificates that will help you to tackle safety and regulations related problems.
Hours Of Service (HOS)
This rule came into existence when the Department of Transportation witnessed a spike in accidents, destruction of property, and life due to driver’s fatigue. Hence, to keep the road safe and driver’s well-being while traveling, the DOT decided to limit the no. of hours.
Today, the drivers operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and keeping a Record of Duty Status (RODS), have to comply with HOS regulations. Using the Electronic Logging Device (ELD), they can track the no. of hours they have driven.
This record also ensures road safety, as the driver has to take mandatory breaks and rest after certain hours. Highway checkpoints inspectors also ask for HOS records to see whether the driver and the fleet operator are complying with the rules and regulations or not.
Vehicle Maintenance Documentation
Along with HOS, a record of vehicle maintenance is essential for a fleet manager. Hence, you need to maintain a separate record regarding a vehicle’s servicing, which parts and fluids that have been used, and the entire cost of each job.
Alongside keeping the records of vehicle maintenance, you should have complete documents regarding general correspondence files. The file should contain information, such as:
- Insurance paper
- Copies of a vehicle purchase request
- Incident reports of each vehicle
- Copy of local purchase orders
- Fuel-login sheets
When the DOT inspects a vehicle, you need to present these documents. Not having this record can lead to violation of rules and be subjected to hefty fines.
Reports On Drug And Alcohol Testing
As the total commercial fleet accidents rose to 20% in the US, the FMCSA and DOT have taken strict measures regarding drivers and their fleet operators. One of them is making mandatory drug and alcohol testing.
Hence, not only are you required to test your driver for pre-employment screening but also you are required to test them at random each year. Such reports can also help you with a driver’s behavior and allows you to help them with different rehab programs.
In the case of an accident or collision, if the driver is tested positive for drug or alcohol usage, your organization is liable to pay a hefty amount for breaking the rules.
Managing Documents With The Help Of Fleet Management Software
The above list gives you an insight into which information you need to document and why. But, documenting the metrics involved in each of the listed items manually can be tedious and unproductive.
More so, if your employer or an inspector asks for a particular driver or vehicle information, providing them with the required details via a spreadsheet can be time-consuming and inefficient, especially when you also have to keep an eye on your fleet at the same time.
Hence, fleet management software will ensure that you efficiently document and fetch the information as and when required to present your employer and the transportation authorities for inspection.
Apart from these, you can use fleet management software to track your drivers, reduce expenditure on fleet maintenance cost, operational costs such as overtime wages, efficient usage of fuel, and much more. To get an in-depth insight into fleet management, check out this article by Samsara.
Thus, with a top-notch fleet management software in place, commercial fleet owners and managers can follow and keep up with the FMCSA rules and regulations. It not only enables you to provide timely services to your customers but also helps you save the lives of your drivers.
In recent years, due to growing fierce competition among commercial vehicles, the fleet industry has massively transformed. Many organizations have left the traditional fleet management methods that involved a lot of paperwork and have adopted the latest technologies to improve business operations.
Keeping track of these four documents and other information regarding your fleet can hugely impact your performance and help your business achieve a higher Return on Investment (ROI).
Hence, tracking only the essential information will allow you to make informed decisions. This way, fleet managers can seamlessly perform their operations and increase their productivity.