For fleets that are evaluating their options and still struggling to make the call on the right solution to help them meet the new HOS requirements, consider this checklist:
• Who within your organization is held accountable for compliance, is it the driver or the dispatcher? Ideally, it should be a combination of both, so make sure the EOBR you select has tools for drivers as well as fleet managers to make informed decisions to ensure compliance.
• Which solutions will help you be proactive about compliance? For instance, alerting your drivers to important data such as when they are approaching their HOS limit or a 30-minute break? Have they had a sufficient break before logging back in for duty? Notifying drivers they are eligible for a 34-hour reset or not?
• How will the new HOS rules impact your current delivery schedules and driver schedules? EOBR software that ties in with your scheduling and dispatch software can be a significant benefit, ensuring you don’t schedule drivers for shifts they aren’t eligible for under the new HOS rules.
• How can you best communicate new policies and business requirements to your drivers, dispatchers and fleet managers? EOBRs with back office systems can be set up to notify dispatchers and managers of issues that drivers are having in performance to the new process or requirements.
• Are there opportunities within your fleet to improve and reduce your costs as you automate compliance? How do you measure your safety, fuel economy, driver behavior and customer service? Some EOBRs can provide many more benefits aside from HOS tracking.
For fleets already comfortable with EOBR technology, the new HOS regulations—and ones coming in the future—shouldn’t be too much of a shock. For others, think through this checklist and use the new HOS mandate as an opportunity to take a more proactive approach to managing drivers and evaluating your overall fleet performance.
There is a reason fleets have used EOBRs prior to a mandate, and you owe it to your fleet to understand how you can avoid unnecessary fines and penalties and increase your overall operational efficiency and safety. In the long term, your cost savings will well outweigh your up-front investment.
Angela Shue is Senior Vice President for Cadec Global.