The logistics industry is the backbone of the global economy. Accounting for a whopping 12% of the annual global GDP, its functioning is not limited to a few domains, but it streamlines the functioning of all other industries as well.
Road Logistics is the highest contributor to the revenue generated by logistics. In short, trucking holds the major cards in the game, and there are ample regulations and laws to make sure everyone’s best interests are safeguarded, and nobody’s overburdened by the industry’s weight.
Although, it is a great practice to stay updated with all the new laws and regulations that the government keeps rolling but more often than not, it is not easy to do so. That’s one of the reasons you probably keep your lawyer on speed dial, so you get all your questions answered as and when you have them.
Don’t worry, though. There are certain steps you can take to ensure you don’t run into legal trouble.
These are simple steps that you can incorporate in daily practice and implement the measures as needed. Not only will they save a lot of time, but it will also save you money and, more importantly, maintain your reputation.
Five Measures To Keep Your Heavy Vehicles Out Of Legal Trouble
1. ELDs are mandatory
The ELD mandate officially came into effect from February 16, 2016. Things have not been easy for a lot of trucking companies bringing about the change, but it was necessary to make the shift from manual log searching to digitizing the records.
An Electronic Logging Device is a device that is connected to a vehicle’s engine and basically monitors and records the driving hours. It has a corresponding screen for the driver to note the status and add logs whenever necessary.
The Engine Control Unit is what provides the ELD with the data it needs for its functioning. The ELD also has an in-built GPS to monitor the location of the vehicle and log it onto an app or server as per the procedure.
This was made mandatory to ensure that drivers are not driving more than the specified number of hours per day and many other reasons. Regulators are done with scorching through manually fed logbooks, and ELDs ensure a much higher level of transparency and efficiency.
Your fleet should all have ELDs that are compliant to the standards issued by the FMCSA. Some ELD solutions like the one from Samsara use WiFi instead of cellular data to cut down overhead costs, thus making it more affordable.
2. Trained Drivers
All your drivers must be trained. Now it might seem obvious that all professional drivers must have received training, it’s not always true, and you need to ensure that before you onboard them in your company.
In official terms, it’s called the Mandatory Entry-Level Training or MELT. All the drivers should have proof of training, and it makes a lot of sense since this will not only save the legal penalties that you would otherwise have to pay but will also ensure better safety for everyone.
Even if you are outsourcing this work, it won’t harm you to make sure the formalities are met. If you are hiring through independent contracts, then it’s better that you get everything checked with your lawyer to set things straight.
3. Regularly Inspect Your Vehicles
While you might have installed the best dash cam for truckers in all your trucks, the job doesn’t end there. That’s only going to help you look at what outside of the truck, but maintaining the insides of the truck is equally important.
While a lot of lawsuits are because of the driver’s negligence, there is a fair share of lawsuits that are due to the discrepancies in the truck itself, and you wouldn’t want to be slapped with a lawsuit like that.
Regular inspections and service can make sure that the truck doesn’t create a problem midway. For instance, there have been cases of brake failure or the hood flying open. Problems like these not only pose a danger to you but also to other motorists on the highway.
4. Pick the Right Insurance
Picking the right insurance is very important. Insurers are always looking for a way to make the most profits by skimping on the deserved compensation. You would hate to fall victim to such a scenario, and that’s why it’s best you don’t run behind cheaper premiums.
Instead, spending a tad bit extra on the right insurance and making sure it covers all the details in length, will save you more money than cost you. If you are sued for a petty reason that your insurance couldn’t cover for you, you would be losing money for the days your driver is stuck with legal complications.
Make the smart move even if it comes with a price tag because that’s what is going to keep you safe.
4. Kill the delays
Delays are one of the biggest limitations of a logistics company. The aim is always to make the quickest shipment possible and avoid delays. Delays caused can result in a penalty that you never anticipated. Your fleet management efficiency is tested here. But technology can help you stay strong.
Now, what is fleet management, and how would software help you do it? The answer is pretty simple. Industry 4.0 stresses automation, and it’s not easy for a person to spend a day and night adding and subtracting the number of trucks available at the moment.
A fleet management software can help you plan out your schedules and help you make the best decisions. Moreover, real-time monitoring tools can help you track the status of each truck and can guide you to solve an unforeseen problem that might arise and avoid delays.
As technology keeps evolving, so do the rules and regulations involved. These are some of the major laws that you should be following to avoid being sued or falling into a legal trap.
A manager should always be on the lookout for any notifications from the government revising or introducing the regulations.
Once you have made yourself acquainted with the technology involved and implemented it, more than half the job is done. The rest can even be pushed through software updates with the click of a button.