It should go without saying that abiding by federal safety regulations should be of the utmost importance to every transportation company. With no end to the driver shortage in sight, ensuring driver well-being to promote employee retention is vital. What’s more, racking up violations can negatively impact carrier CSA scores, which can result in numerous business challenges. Regardless of how fair or representative you feel they are, subpar CSA scores can raise insurance costs, increase DOT scrutiny, and even result in loss of business.
At this point, many of you are probably thinking “I’m well aware of the importance of staying compliant, but avoiding violations is much easier said than done.” And you’re totally right! Managing transport operations involves a lot of spinning plates and keeping a watchful eye over everything going on at once can often be overwhelming. Over time, even the most attentive dispatchers and managers overlook things, and that’s often when violations occur.
Thankfully, the right software can greatly alleviate this challenge when it comes to even the most-common HOS violations. In this blog, we’ll be exploring how functions offered by many electronic logging solutions can make staying compliant far easier.
Form and Manner Violations
Anyone who has spent even a modicum of time in the transportation industry knows just how omnipresent forms are. Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports, equipment check-in/checkout forms, job hazard analysis forms, fuel purchase forms—all of these play pivotal roles in transport operations and ensuring they are submitted correctly is crucial. But despite that, more than 70% of HOS violations have to do with improper forms.
While these forms do demand that drivers provide a great deal of information, much of these violations can be attributed to the shortcomings of paper documents. Illegible handwriting can result in a violation. Writing the right information in the wrong field can result in a violation.
By digitizing their forms, transportation companies can significantly reduce their form and manner violations. Digital forms take less time to complete, can’t be lost or damaged, and, most importantly, can actively prevent drivers from making simple mistakes. With additional benefits like reduced administrative costs and faster time to signature, digital forms have a great deal to offer to transportation companies of all stripes.
The 11 and 14-Hour Rules
Hour-based driving limits are nothing new to the transportation industry. But despite that fact, violations of the FMCSA’s 11-Hour Rule and 14-Hour Rule are among the most-frequently incurred infractions. For the uninitiated, these regulations require drivers to complete their work in defined timetables. Exceeding these limits can result in an HOS violation. All transportation companies are well-aware of these rules, but as drivers get caught up in their work, it’s fairly easy for them to accidentally surpass their limits. And while these mistakes are usually honest, they negatively affect CSA scores nonetheless.
Thankfully, many electronic logging solutions on the market can automatically track driver activity and issues notifications before they become non-compliant. A simple heads-up that they can only driver for one more hour can often mean the difference between compliance and a violation. What’s more, these notifications can also be delivered to managers, enabling them to notify their drivers themselves should that be necessary.
Most HOS violations are honest mistakes caused by simple human fallibility. Nobody is perfect, and as a result, even those with the greatest respect towards safety occasionally make errors. Fortunately, the right software can shore up operational blind-spots and prevent many of the most-common HOS violations from ever happening in the first place.