Have you heard of risk management and driver monitoring? If not, you may be putting your business at undue risk. Truck driver monitoring is important, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all created equal.
Many solution and service providers try to lump driver monitoring into one idea which only addresses one aspect of how driver monitoring programs are supposed to work.
The fact is, there is a lot of daylight between the myths and realities of a comprehensive truck driver monitoring program, and knowing the difference can decrease your operation’s exposure to risk, litigation and high insurance costs.
But you may be asking yourself what a true driver monitoring program is. Perhaps you want to know how you can utilize it to make your drivers safer. Let’s first take a look at some of the common driver monitoring myths to get to the bottom of this important issue. But first, let’s explore why driver monitoring is so important.
To Gain Understanding
The most important part of a truck driver monitoring program lies in the understanding you gain about the behavior of your employees. Whether the person you are evaluating is a commercial driver, a member of your field personnel, it comes down to three major questions:
- Do you have your truck drivers’ driving record ready and at hand at all times?
- What do you know about their driving behaviors when they are not operating within the cab?
- How frequently do you do a thorough review of their driving records?
Depending on how you answer these questions, your fleet could be exposed to unneeded risk, litigation losses and increased insurance costs. When you know the performance of everyone who is operating a vehicle within your fleet, it is easier to take fast action if you notice any risky behavior.
Considering the vast amounts of data and wealth of new tools at a fleet manager’s disposal, there really are no excuses for not being aware of the safety record of one of your drivers. So let’s dig into the common myths associated with a comprehensive monitoring program.
Hiring Checks Are All You Need
Some think that all you need is the background check and other public records information you received when you first hired the employee. While this information is very important, it isn’t everything you’ll need.
Now more than ever before we have access to public information detailing bits of driver information we wouldn’t have normally had before. Other things you don’t get from violation data alone includes expirations, endorsements and other actions.
That’s why your truck driver monitoring program should utilize a number of data sets in putting together a full picture. For example, in some states a non-moving violation can result in a suspended license. While this information does not shed any light on your employee’s history it may be valuable information none-the-less.
Only Occasional MVR Pulls Are Fine
If you aren’t pulling motor vehicle reports (MVR) more than once or twice a year, your fleet could be at risk. Pulling once a year is the requirement, per the U.S. DOT regulations. But that leaves another 364 days a year that vehicle is out on the road.
What if one of your drivers was recently involved in a pre-adjucated DUI and you didn’t know about it? The last thing you want is for there to be an accident while this employee is on the watch.
In reality, if you aren’t checking once a month, you may be creating a blind spot in your truck driver monitoring program. Fortunately, new technologies allow you to check every month without having to pay high state fees to pull the MVR.
Also, don’t rely too much on ELDs, telematics and GPS. Those also do not give you a full picture of truck driver behavior. Make sure you establish a baseline, monitor frequently and ensure you have a good depth of coverage across your fleet. Don’t be afraid to take action. A properly executed truck driver monitoring program serves as an effective risk mitigation strategy.