A trial safety scheme in South Australia made the shock finding that 58 per cent of the 900 trucks inspected were unroadworthy. For more than 100 of them, there were issues with brakes. Operating a defective vehicle is not only illegal, but dangerous. As Stephen Mullighan, the Transport Minister for South Australia says, “most drivers and operators do the right things but when someone flouts the law, they don’t simply risk their own lives, but the lives of all road users around them.”
Everyone understands safety is important. Intentionally or even unintentionally sending a truck out that isn’t up to scratch can be errant. Keeping track of every vehicle in your fleet and their maintenance schedules is difficult. With fleet management software, you can detect issues with vehicles before they become major problems. Proper visibility lets you address maintenance issues proactively in your fleet while keeping up-to-date with maintenance – helping to create a culture of safety in your business.
In the spirit of safety, here’s three ways you can keep your fleet compliant and avoid a potential incident on the road.
Good Routines for Good Results
Getting into routines before vehicles leave the depot is the best place to start when checking the maintenance of your fleet. Drivers can complete thorough assessments before heading out on jobs to ensure compliance and safety. But these need to be done rigorously, otherwise they cost time and leave room for error. Each vehicle or trailer type may require a specific checklist, each job a different form and paper-based systems can be cumbersome. In a fast-paced transport environment, to get the process over and done with, things may fall through the cracks. A digital pre-trip check list is easy for drivers to pull up and complete – by simply walking around the vehicle and checking off the condition of each component of the truck. Any issues are sent to maintenance staff immediately, so replacement parts can be ordered or the vehicle grounded until the issue is resolved. There’s a significantly reduced risk of break down or injury to the driver as it’s easier to manage and keep everyone informed.
Keep Ahead of Maintenance Checks and Schedules
Manually managed maintenance schedules can lead to double booking or missing vehicles entirely. Trucks need regular check-ups to ensure they’re roadworthy. What if the vehicle is scheduled for a service and it’s booked for a job? With an electronic scheduling system in GPS fleet management software, vehicles aren’t so easily forgotten and the truck won’t miss a scheduled service. Once a vehicle has travelled a certain distance, or the engine has ticked over certain hours, admin and maintenance staff are alerted via email that a service is due. This means you don’t need to rely on reactive maintenance once a break down has already occurred. Leaving the upkeep to telematics means you can reduce costs and time associated with vehicle breakdowns and keep your fleet in tip top shape. Telematics makes maintenance easy and hassle-free.
Retrain Employees and Drive Out Change
Harsh braking, sharp cornering, excessive idling and speeding are behaviours that can cause serious damage to a vehicle, risk safety and cost you money. These actions may not be on purpose, or can be undertaken to avoid bad driving by members of the public or poor road conditions. Without technology, fleet managers are in the dark and won’t know it either. These behaviours could put stress on the truck’s internals, making breakdowns or accidents far more likely and increasing your maintenance demands. Vehicle tracking detects these behaviours as they happen and send alerts to the office, so they can be corrected. Fleet managers can also receive an SMS if a driver engages in a particularly dangerous behaviour, such as speeding over the sign-posted speed limit. These events can be recorded and replayed for drivers as learning tools, to help demonstrate why these behaviours need addressing. Not only does this make your drivers perform better and show you care about their wellbeing, but it means vehicles are being treated better and will stay compliant for far longer.
Maintenance is a never-ending process, but that doesn’t mean you should let it get out of hand. Technology makes it easier to stay on top of your vehicles’ schedules, so you can send them out with confidence. That way, routine inspections are a way to reaffirm that your fleet is well maintained, compliant to NHVAS and roadworthy.