Fleets have an abundance of data available today given all the sensors and telematics devices, which are either installed by OEMs or retrofitted on many of their vehicles. Accessing and using this information is critical to ensuring your fleet is operating legally, safely, and with optimal efficiently.

With so many data sources available, today’s fleets are able to operate more efficiently than ever before. Of course, the sheer amount of data available at your fingertips can be overwhelming — unless you have a reliable and well-developed program to assist you in understanding what it all means

Much of the data that can assist you is monitored by your maintenance team.  However, other sources available provide interesting pieces of information about fleet performance down to a granular level. For example, you can see how many times your drivers are bypassing inspection facilities and weigh stations, as well as how often they are pulled in for inspections.

You can track the types of citations or inspection violations issued at specific facilities along your normal freight routes. By examining the data you may see trends that could possibly highlight maintenance issues at certain terminals, or possibly identify focused safety concerns of enforcement agencies. This data could even help you identify training needs for drivers in specific geographical locations. For instance, could mountain driving and improper use of brakes contribute to a higher brake violation rate at inspection facilities in or near mountainous areas? Could desert driving and tire pressure result in issues with tires that are being examined more closely in those regions? 

This information can allow you to evaluate whether the problem is a driver issue related to a geographical location, an equipment issue, or perhaps a terminal maintenance issue. Are drivers not handling the equipment properly in a given environment? If so, driver training should take care of it. Or the answer could be using a different type of equipment to better meet the demands of a specific geographic area.

Another benefit of being armed with information: it’s an opportunity to seek advice or guidance from your contacts in the law enforcement community. Just as law enforcement recognizes and respects carriers who are doing it right, you should realize that law enforcement is not there to create issues for you. In most cases, they’re ready and willing to make a genuine effort to educate and work with carriers to improve safety on our highways.  Operating safely is the common bond between reputable motor carriers and law enforcement, so using actionable data about your fleet to improve performance is a great way to open that communication door.

The bottom line: Make sure you’re taking advantage of the data that is available to you to improve your fleet’s safety and performance.  Understanding the data and using it to your benefit will not only increase safety, it will undoubtedly help make you more efficient and profitable.