Managers: How to avoid fleet violations in 2023

As a fleet manager, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and ensure your drivers follow the rules of the road and comply with federal mandates. Unsafe driving and failure to comply with regulations poses significant risks and costs for both the driver and company.

Understanding the potential costs and risks associated with fleet violations can help you prevent them. Additionally, staying informed about current regulations is an excellent way to ensure driver safety and keep your safety scores high.

In this article, we’re going to dive into fleet violations and give you the insight you need to stay compliant this year and beyond.

How Fleet Violations Affect Your Business

Generally, violations are given directly to truckers. Which is why curbing violations may not seem like a huge concern for your bottom line. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Some fines can affect the business directly or can affect your Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores which could impact your insurance premiums and adversely affect your business.

It’s also important to note that these regulations are often enacted to optimize safety. If your drivers are violating these regulations, it’s a strong indicator that they are not practicing safe driving habits. Unsafe driving can lead to many costly consequences, like accidents, increased insurance premiums, fuel waste, and more.

Additionally, if your fleet receives too many violations, it can lead to a suspension of your carrier authority, business sanctions, or even prompt a DOT audit. 

The Must-Know Regulations to Avoid Violations

The best way to avoid fleet violations is to know the regulations. Here are some of the need-to-know regulations for keeping your fleet compliant in 2023:

HOS Rules & Guidelines

Here’s a quick look at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) list of Hours of Service (HOS) regulations:

  • 11-Hour Driving Limit: Drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours within a 14-hour window, following ten consecutive off-duty hours.
  • 14-Hour Shift Limit: CDL drivers are not permitted to drive more than 14 hours after coming on duty. However, they can resume driving after ten consecutive off-duty hours.
  • 30-Minute Breaks: Drivers can only drive up to eight hours before taking at least a 30-minute break. They can perform non-driving activities after eight hours but cannot get behind the wheel.
  • 60/70Hour Limit: Drivers are not allowed to drive after they have worked 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. However, they can start another 7/8 consecutive day working period after they take at least 34 hours off.

DOT HOS Exemptions

As with most rules and regulations, there are plenty of HOS and other exemptions worth noting:

1. The Short-Haul Exemption: If drivers remain within a 150-air-mile radius of their location and don’t exceed the 14-hour shift limit, they are exempt from the HOS rules. This exemption is usually for drivers who perform daily deliveries or only travel short distances.

2. 150 Air-Mile Radius Exemption: Short-haul drivers who stay within a 150-air-mile radius of their starting point, end their shift at the same point, don’t drive after the 14th hour, and have a full 10-hour off period at the end of each workday don’t need to complete an ELD log and are exempt from the 30-minute break rule.

The rules are a little different with non-CDL short-haul drivers. Drivers don’t have to log hours if they stay within 150 miles of your company location, return to the site at the end of every day, and don’t drive more than 14 hours (or 16 hours, depending on the workweek).

3. The 30-minute Break Exception: HOS regulations require drivers to take a 30-minute break after driving eight hours, but this rule does not apply to short-haul drivers. Therefore, short-haul drivers are not required to take this break.

4. The 16-hour Short-Haul Exception: Short-haul drivers are sometimes allowed to extend the 14-hour shift maximum to 16 hours if they meet certain exceptions.

5. 8-Day RODS Exemption: Drivers who keep a Record of Duty Status (RODS) for less than eight days within a 30-day time frame don’t have to complete ELDs.

6. Adverse Driving Conditions Exemption: Drivers can extend the 11-hour limit and 14-hour driving window by as many as two hours when there are adverse driving conditions, like road closures or extreme weather changes.

ELD Regulations

You likely already know about the ELD rule. The FMCSA requires commercial drivers to use Electronic Logging Devices. ELDs must be certified and registered with FMCSA and uphold specific standards to qualify.

There are several specific guidelines related to ELD use. For example, ELDs can be portable, but they must remain visible for drivers in a standard seated position. Additionally, ELD records must be kept for six months.

However, all ELDs aren’t created equally, so you’ll want to make sure you choose one that is compliant and has the features you need to make your life easier. (More on that in a bit).

2023 Regulation Changes

In addition to the HOS and ELD regulations above, you need to be aware of some new potential regulations coming into effect this year:  

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse Checks

As of January 6, 2023, all companies that employ regulated CDL drivers must do the following things:

  • Request electronic consent from drivers for a full query of the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse as a portion of the pre-employment driver investigation process.
  • Perform limited inquiries at least once a year for all drivers.
  • Report alcohol and drug program violations.
  • Non-compliance can result in $2,500 per offense.

Integration of Automated Driving Systems (ADS)

This regulation aims to ensure that ADS-equipped CMVs are checked, fixed, and taken care of properly. It will help protect everyone and ensure the new technology is introduced as safely as possible.

Automatic Emergency Braking

This regulation hopes to standardize automatic emergency braking (AEB) system performance on heavy vehicles. It will require carrier maintenance and test procedures for measuring performance and accompanying standards.

Safety Fitness Procedures

The FMCSA is asking people to give them ideas to help figure out how they can use data and resources to find companies that aren’t safe and take them off the roads. These ideas will replace how the FMCSA currently checks safety with Satisfactory, Conditional, and Unsatisfactory ratings.

Heavy Truck Speed Limiters

This issue will determine whether more regulatory actions are needed for vehicle manufacturer requirements. More specifically, it involves determining whether a commercial vehicle 26,001 pounds or more should have an electronic engine control unit (ECU) that can control speed to a limit.

How to Avoid Fleet Violations and Stay Compliant

The best way to avoid violations is with a comprehensive ELD. At FleetUp, we offer an all-in-one solution for driver management, FPS, and engine management compliance. With easy installation and real-time visibility, our ELD gives you the insight you need to help you avoid CSA violations.

Learn more about FleetUp’s innovative ELD here or schedule a live demo now to see how we can help you avoid violations this year and beyond.

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