Safety is always the foremost priority in any business. A lot of capital and work hours of the organization go into framing the safety protocols and regulations in every division so that no human being is adversely affected by any commercial processes.
Driving requires the mind to be alert all the time. However, it is not possible for humans to maintain a steady performance for long durations without rest.
Research suggests that driver fatigue results in sleepiness, poor performance, lower attentiveness, shorter response times, and poor decision making. According to a 2016 study, driver fatigue was linked to a staggering 13% of truck crashes.
This is of particular concern when dealing with heavy-duty commercial motor vehicles (CMV) like large trucks since the damage caused by them during road accidents is substantially higher than smaller vehicles like cars or motorbikes.
What Is The Hours Of Service (HoS)?
Hours of Service (HoS) refers to those regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reduce the likelihood of road accidents and protect the general public along with public property.
The HoS mandate limits the time drivers can serve on the road driving the fleet vehicles per day or per week. The Hours of Service (HoS) also help to maintain records of the drivers for future inspections.
The number of driver working hours is not just limited to driving but also extends to the time of loading, unloading, handling the goods, and report preparation.
According to the current HoS regulations, truck drivers can work on-duty for a maximum of 14 hours per day. But they can only drive on the road for a maximum of 11 hours per day.
Why Are HoS Regulations Necessary?
The Hours of Service (HoS) regulations are essentially safety regulations that are put in place to avoid harm to the public, drivers, and the property caused by road accidents.
After a few hours of driving, fatigue starts to set in, and the drivers become a greater threat on the road for both the passersby as well as to themselves. In an effort to earn extra money for their living, the drivers can potentially choose to push their limits and drive for long hours, neglecting their health and endangering the lives of people on the road.
To refrain from such catastrophes, the Hours of Service regulations make it mandatory for drivers to take periodical breaks from driving and also limit the maximum number of hours they can serve on duty per day and week.
The Consequences Of Violating HoS Regulations
Violating HoS can cause lead to grave penalties for both the driver as well as the carrier because this is seen as being equivalent to putting the general public in danger by defying the safety protocols.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) put the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program into practice in 2010. The intention behind CSA is to ensure best practices by commercial vehicle businesses and to reduce the number of road accidents.
Violating the hours of service increases your CSA score. The higher your CSA score, the worse it is.
CSA scores matter to your company because they are available publicly. Poor CSA scores will affect your company’s reputation, the clientele, and can also lead to audits.
Furthermore, having a good CSA score will persuade more people to opt for your company’s services.
Out Of Service
Drivers who go over their HoS may immediately be put off duty until they have gained enough time off to get back on the road.
Depending on the severity of the offence, violating HoS regulations can also induce expensive fines when the driver is caught. The carrier may even face a lawsuit if multiple violations go unnoticed and could be caught in an inspection or audit.
How To Comply With HoS Regulations
Sometimes, it can be difficult to actively comply with HoS regulations because of the burden of so many tasks.
Using leading IoT services, it becomes easier for fleet managers, drivers, and carriers to effectively comply with the HoS and maintain good CSA scores. Here are some effective tips that truckers and fleet managers can follow:
Use GPS Fleet Tracking
Using GPS fleet tracking on all your fleet vehicles will help you, as an owner, operator or a fleet manager to effectively monitor your drivers.
A good fleet tracker is an excellent addition to your fleet management platform that integrates with your business and lets you monitor your drivers in real-time. In addition to appreciable features like being able to monitor vehicle performance, fleet managers can also set up geofences.
Geofences are like virtual borders that the owner or the operator can set up on their dashboard to ensure their drivers do not cross them. Violating the geofences will immediately send alerts to whomsoever is concerned, thus enabling them to take swift action.
Additional benefits of GPS fleet tracking include route optimization, better security, and greater customer satisfaction. To learn more, check this article about GPS tracking.
Coach The Drivers And Provide Incentives
Coach the drivers of your fleet on HoS regulations and their importance. Through regular discussions with your drivers about HoS and compliance, you can make them understand their responsibility toward the company and the general public.
Through systematically developed training procedures, you can help your drivers to optimize their driving skills and schedules so that HoS regulations do not burden them. You can also effectively train your employees and drivers to overcome fatigue while driving.
To further reinforce HoS compliance and best practices, you can also reward the drivers who are most compliant by preparing fleet tracking reports. Incentivizing HoS compliance is a great way to encourage drivers to practice safer operational methods.
Hours of Service compliance is a team effort. When the owners, fleet managers, and the drivers come on board the same platform, it becomes easier to adhere to the regulations put forth by governing bodies in a hassle-free manner.
Effective fleet management tools like a vehicle tracking device, electronic logging devices (ELDs), and fleet tracking reports help you achieve accordance with the law and significantly improve your services.