Telematics are playing a bigger role in managing various aspects of food and beverage fleets. At the same time, the proliferation of state and federal regulations are continuing to impact the transportation sector. For this reason, tools like telematics and electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) are being used to help fleets and fleet operators stay compliant and manage their workload.
The impact of rules and regulations
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) legislation, which President Obama signed into law July 6, 2012, is one of the latest regulations driving the increased use of telematics and EOBRs in the transportation sector. MAP-21 now requires all commercial vehicles drivers involved in interstate commerce to report Hours-of-Service (HOS) via EOBRs.
Meanwhile, last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) specified in the federal regulations (49 CFR 395.16) that in addition to the Hours-of-Service, every commercial driver must also record the name of the driver, duty status, date and time, location of their vehicle, distance traveled, and the USDOT number of the motor carrier. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest benefits of utilizing an EOBR is the elimination of paper logbooks and the ability to accurately capture a range of information.
“Companies certainly struggle with that,” says Mark Sargent, director of solutions engineering of Aliso Viejo, California-based Telogis. Maintaining compliance with trucking regulations is “a huge administrative nightmare and companies have to sift through tremendous amounts of manually processed data—sometimes it’s written, sometimes it has to be faxed in.” Telematics tools “come into play and can automate that kind of information, so it makes that administration burden much simpler to get through,” he states. Electronic logs also make the auditing process much easier.
Another regulation significantly affecting the transportation sector is the Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010, a program administered by the FMCSA designed to improve truck safety and reduce accidents by tracking and evaluating carriers.
CSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) calculates the preceding two years of trucking violations and crash data, and determines a safety score. The information used to calculate a safety score includes crash reports, roadside inspection reports and violations discovered during interventions.
Jim Angel, product manager, safety and compliance solutions for Minnetonka, Minnesota-based PeopleNet, says about CSA: “I think it’s one of the best systems that we’ve come up with as far as monitoring and rating carriers and their performance. But, there are still a few bugs in it and I think that’s going to continue to drive telematics solutions as well.”
In addition, FMCSA’s 396.11 Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) is a regulation that requires drivers to create a report on their vehicle’s equipment, which goes hand in hand with the prior regulations that were mentioned.
Telogis provides drivers with a handy checklist they can use to simplify safety inspections and document them electronically when completed.
“We have Telogis Workforce, which is part of our Telogis Mobility Suite, and it’s specifically designed to automate and electronically capture HOS as well as the DVIR piece,” says Sargent.
When it comes to the impact of HOS, telematics tools can seamlessly manage a driver’s drive time by automatically capturing that information. Recently, a driver’s HOS has been reduced from 82 working hours to 70 hours in order to decrease excessively long work hours and lessen the risk of fatigue-related accidents. Utilizing a telematics system is not only helpful from a compliance perspective, but also when planning and scheduling drivers.