The transportation industry is among the most highly regulated segments of the U.S. economy, and for good reason – those regulations are there to help keep our nation’s roadways safe.
Many organizations have a say in overseeing various parts of the industry, starting with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA), whose mission it is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Then there are insurance carriers who are responsible for providing coverage. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has a role, of course, in ensuring hiring practices remain fair. And these entities are just the tip of the iceberg.
With so many regulatory agencies involved in the industry, managing the thousands of compliance and reporting responsibilities could quickly overwhelm any trucking company. And those challenges increase exponentially the larger the fleet or the more drivers there are.
Areas of Responsibility
- Background Screening (background checks, motor vehicle reports, drug and alcohol testing, etc.)
- Driver Reports (type of vehicle, cargo, hours of operations, locations, safety reviews, etc.)
- Insurance & Regulatory Compliance (FMCSA compliance, insurance reporting, noise emissions, fair employment practices, vehicle registration, etc.)
- Driver Safety (drug and alcohol testing, physical exams, licensing, motor vehicle reports, skills training, etc.)
- Fleet Management (maintenance, safety inspections, handling of hazardous cargo, etc.)
These demands have driven transport companies to leverage new technologies to help them streamline and stay ahead of their compliance responsibilities. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how trucking companies are staying ahead of the curve by using automated end-to-end compliance and risk mitigation solutions.
Automating Key Processes
The mountains of data associated with managing over-the-road transportation companies are daunting. Trying to stay on top of deadlines, reporting, and insurance requirements using disparate software programs, spreadsheets, checklists, and calendar management is highly inefficient and, inevitably, results in balls being dropped.
Industry technologies are now available that let companies ascertain their compliance status across a range of indicators, all on a single dashboard. They can see the percentage of vehicle inspections that have been completed, upcoming due dates, or how many drivers have already been recertified for the year. These software platforms send automated reminders, assign tasks to your team, forward reports to your insurance company, and generally help companies stay on top of day-to-day details. Through user-friendly screens and role-based accounts, users across the company can see what the day or week holds at a glance.
In addition to helping drivers and the entire team stay on track, automated transportation industry compliance software gives companies the tools they need to protect their people, brand, and profits by mitigating risks before they happen.
That means they can proactively schedule actions that will reduce the chance of loss and, correspondingly, position them for higher safety ratings. Often, things like risk assessments, driver training or annual drug testing can fall by the wayside because they aren’t top of mind. These small oversights accumulate over time, affecting things like their FMCSA score or insurance premiums.
Increasingly, companies are using software programs to be alerted when federal regulations change or when policy renewal dates are approaching. Staying on top of the data in real-time also lets them stay on top of driver incidents as they happen and quickly put corrective actions in place.
Onboarding New Drivers
With experienced drivers in short supply and high demand, companies can’t afford to let the good ones fall through the cracks during the hiring process. Today’s automated, cloud-based programs come with a mobile-friendly interface that facilitates electronic consent to things like background checks from anywhere.
Once a part of the team, drivers can simply use their mobile phone to be alerted about upcoming deadlines or licensing requirements, to file their daily driving reports, and to submit other required documentation. All of this serves to help the company create a seamless onboarding experience while staying on top of compliance demands and deadlines.
Transformation is Imperative
With the right automation in place, transportation companies are able to significantly streamline their operations and maintain their margins. The right platform should function as a one-stop-shop for verifying compliance, performing screening, and collecting necessary documents and data – all automatically.
“Without a doubt, the most regulated and highest scrutinized industries have the biggest imperative to transform,” said Keith O’Brien, Digital Transformation Team Lead at Econsultancy. “Smart companies are looking for opportunities to unlock that potential. Even though they face these challenges of traditional structures and silos, not to mention regulation, there is still so much amazing work being done in these industries.”
If you’d like to learn about ClearTrac, our automated compliance management solution, and how it’s helping companies in the transportation industries transform through automation, request a demo here.