If you are like most fleets, your team may be overwhelmed by the data generated from the electronic logging system. So where do you start? Targeted exception reporting can help to identify the greatest risk and compliance issues, enhance customer service, and quantify operational inefficiency. In part one of this series, we’ll take a look at ELD system reporting that will help you identify your risk and compliance issues.
Changing risky driving and compliance behavior should pay great dividends in a short timeframe, since all cost avoided by reducing accidents falls to the bottom-line profits. Many ELD systems can easily sort through data and identify the outliers with whom coaching is imperative. Repeat offenders should have a very clear progressive discipline plan — eliminate the risky behavior or find another job. To keep it simple, a few key areas that correlate to crash risk are:
- Excessive speed – accumulated time and speeding events
- Hard-braking event trends
- Log falsification incidents and recurring limits’ violations
Speed can be a risk factor when driving over posted limits, especially when in reduced speed zones, and when drivers are faster than the flow of traffic. Monitoring over-speed realtime alerts and accumulated time over parameters can focus action to reduce the following negative outcomes:
- Taking risks that can lead to a crash,
- Lower miles per gallon (MPG),
- Negative reports from the motoring public, and
- Creating unnecessary wear on the vehicle’s driveline and brakes
Hard-braking alerts are created when the deceleration rate exceeds a threshold, usually set at 10 miles per hour (mph) per second to start. A slightly higher or lower limit may be needed depending on your tolerance and operating area – for example, urban versus rural. A conversation should take place with drivers to determine why the event occurred, such as if a “4-wheeler” (automobile) cut-off the driver, rain while bobtail may have caused the event in error, the driver is following too close, or the driver was inattentive.
There are two keys to using hard-braking data successfully – setting the braking threshold correctly and determining an acceptable number of hard-braking incidents during a specific time span for your operation. The system will report all hard-braking incidents, but it is up to you to determine which ones should trigger action. The regular and timely use of trended reports and/or real-time alerts for actions outside of safe driving parameters can reduce reckless driving behavior and minimize negligent supervision associated with persistent poor driving.
Falsification of and compliance with hours of service
Audits for falsification are different with electronic logging systems. Carriers need to modify their internal auditing and exception reporting to find the same compliance issues on which an FMCSA investigator would focus. Falsification can be detected through detailed audits of supporting documents when matched against the electronic record of duty status. System reports can identify the exceptions to audit, and subsequent coaching and counseling should correct the falsification issues.
Occasional exceptions may be understandable, but repeat offenders are a liability. Progressive discipline and training of repeat offenders must be used consistently, in accordance with your company policy. When repeat incidents are severe, accelerating the disciplinary process up to and including termination may be necessary.
To give you an idea of the cost of violations if you do not have robust auditing in place: Falsifying logs can result in a civil penalty of $11,940 per violation and an egregious violation (more than 3 hours over a driving limit) can result in a greater than $14,000 fine.
Ten common compliance exception reports are:
- Form and manner errors (missing entries)
- Repeat offenders operating over hours’ limits
- Missing logs more than 13 days and unverified logs greater than a limit set by the carrier
- Edit patterns by driver and supervisor
- Excessive use of the special driving categories “yard move” and “personal use”
- Unassigned-driving events; all must be assigned or annotated daily with ELDs
- Odometer gaps to identify unplugging or otherwise tampering with the ELD
- Driver on-duty time per day below a threshold (30 minutes for example)
- Device malfunction reporting indicating who was involved and when
- Driver roster comparison with registered electronic logging system users to locate “ghost driver accounts” often used in falsification
The back-office system must have an easy-to-use portal with an array of exception-based reports to help drive the correction of negative trends. A real-time alert system alone will cause people to ignore many other important trends that are costing the company and/or increasing risk. The goal initially is to have a few baseline reports or real-time alerts that help rectify the greatest risk and compliance issues. After the most critical areas have improved, focus on reports that can help further reduce risky practices.
Download Improve Compliance and Operations Through ELog Reporting whitepaper for more ways to use data effectively.