Every HGV driver knows that sometimes the smallest mistake can be costly. While not all mistakes will carry grave consequences, many HGV drivers are not aware of how the small things they do (or fail to do) greatly reduce fleet safety, a business’ efficiency, productivity and ultimately, profitability. What we can be sure of is that these simple oversights greatly impact a fleet manager’s ability to do their job effectively and can lead them to despair.
1: Forgetting to put the driver card in the tachograph
All drivers ought to know that failing to put the driver card in before driving a vehicle is illegal. On top of this, it means that the tacho recording is not associated with the driver, causing huge headaches back at the office when it comes to sorting out time sheets and payroll. What’s more, if the driver card is not put in, there is no ‘qualified driver’ in the vehicle according to the tachograph, which complicates matters significantly in the event of a potential insurance claim.
2: Recording breaks as ‘other work’
Although pressing the wrong button and recording a break as ‘other work’ may seem like a pretty minor issue in the grand scheme of things, this can actually greatly skew a driver’s hours and even lead to legal infringements. Breaks are required by law, so it is actually of great importance that they are recorded correctly. This will ensure that drivers receive all the breaks they need to remain well rested and avoid fatigue. It also helps fleet managers back at the office know that everything is running smoothly.
3: Not planning breaks effectively
Drivers often need to juggle hectic schedules, so it is understandable that sometimes they can forget to plan breaks into their day. Unfortunately, this can cause challenges for fleet managers, who must balance time-sensitive deliveries against making sure drivers are taking the breaks they need. With the legal limit for driving being four and a half hours, drivers need to make sure they are planning routes efficiently in advance so they can take their breaks without also jeopardising delivery times.
4: Incorrectly reporting hours
One sure-fire way to make a fleet manager tear their hair out is through misreporting driver hours. At best, this causes havoc with timesheets and payroll – and everyone wants to make sure they are being paid the full amount they deserve! At worst, fleet managers could end up incorrectly believing that drivers are breaking the law when they’re not, or vice versa. Drivers therefore must ensure that they are reporting their hours correctly to ensure they are being paid fairly, and staying on the right side of the law.
5: Not being accessible while out on the road
It is important that fleet managers and drivers are able to remain in contact while the driver is out on the road. Of course, if they are driving, then they should not be picking up their phone, but it’s not always easy to tell if they’re not picking up simply because they don’t want to instead. Therefore, drivers must make sure their fleet managers are up to date on the latest information regarding their whereabouts whenever they can, so fleet managers can easily provide any relevant updates and establish ETAs.
By bearing in mind and avoiding these five simple but common errors, HGV drivers can easily help ensure that the company runs smoothly, and help reduce their fleet manager’s stress levels, leading to a safety and more efficient operation. One sure-fire way to overcome all these challenges is through a Mobile Resource Management platform that can integrate directly with the vehicle’s tachograph. This allows you to keep your fleet safe and allocate jobs faster and more efficiently – based on up-to-date information and without having to contact your driver.
Paul Miller, Product Manager Fleetmatics