The Top 5 Compliance Management Mistakes – and How to Avoid Them

We talk a lot in the trucking industry of the problems fleets face due to compliance violations. The harsh reality is this: if a fleet is facing legal problems due to non-compliance, their problems started awhile back. When a truck gets flagged for poor maintenance or a driver gets pulled from the road, it can often be traced back to inadequate compliance management.

If documents like overdue maintenance reports and license renewals are slipping through the cracks, it’s time to review how you’re managing compliance files.

That’s the silver lining, of course. When fleets put efficient and effective compliance management measures in place, it can make a massive difference in compliance troubles. That starts by identifying the most common errors in compliance management.

Here are our top five compliance management mistakes, and what your fleet can do to avoid them.

Failure to flag expiring documents

One of the most common driver violations is operating with expired documents (such as a TWIC card or even a driver’s license). Routine DOT or CTA inspections on major roadways frequently pull drivers off the road for having out-of-date documentation. The consequences, which can include fines, misdemeanor charges and vehicle impoundment, hurt both you and your driver.

Even if you flag and remove these drivers from service before this happens, it’s still going to cost everyone time and money. Your best solution is to use a digital system that will automatically flag expiring documents, while there’s still time for them to be renewed. (A dedicated team for calling and reminding drivers makes a huge difference, too.)

Haphazard maintenance checks

Tickets and fines for overdue maintenance reports might be the biggest compliance violation of all. There’s a reason governing authorities place such heavy fines, though: the consequences of a missed maintenance check can be catastrophic.

Despite this, many fleets are still relying on a hodgepodge of tracking methods for maintenance checks, with missing reports or mechanical problems going unnoticed until it’s too late.

Again, automated tracking software (and a dedicated compliance team) can help you avoid missed maintenance checks. Give drivers reminders at least a week before maintenance reports come due. Follow up on any problematic results, and don’t hesitate to keep a flagged rig off the road while the issue is fixed.

Mismanaged DQ files

Compliance violations don’t just happen on the road. If your fleet ever gets audited and there’s missing or misplaced items from your driver qualification (DQ) files, you’re going to be looking at a hefty fine, or even a violation notice, from the FMCSA.

No fleet ever plans on having a poorly managed filing system. With the rigors of running a fleet and the multiple people involved in maintaining up-to-date DQ files, though, it often just happens over time.

That’s all the more reason to use a digital filing system, however. You’ll be 100% paperless, which means 0% papers to lose or mishandle. Digital systems like TruckRight can also flag any files with missing DQ information, which makes it easier for your team to follow up. Digital management systems mean it’s more likely you’ll be audit-ready on a moment’s notice

Poor HOS tracking

Another all-too-common compliance violation is drivers exceeding their Hours-of-Service (HOS). The fines for this can be expensive for both the driver and fleet, as you could be looking at paying out thousands. Things can get worse, though: missing or incomplete driving records can also net you and your driver heavy fines and violations on your records. As for falsified logs, well…no one wants to think that can happen at their fleet, but drivers are pulled off the road every month for this nevertheless.

Installing FMCSA-approved electronic logging devices (ELDs) in your trucks is a good start to avoiding HOS violations. Make sure you have people dedicated to monitoring your ELDs to maximize their effectiveness. An ELD may be able to warn your drivers they’re coming to their maximum HOS. Only a human being can interpret the data properly, flag problems, and make phone calls to ensure they comply with HOS rules.

Inadequate driver training

Your trucks can get flagged for more than maintenance issues during inspections. Safety violations, such as improperly secured loads, will have you and your driver facing fines as well. It goes without saying that if a poorly secured load breaks loose, the results will be more devastating than a mere fine.  Your drivers can also face moving violations for incorrect or illegal maneuvers, failing to drive according to weather conditions, and more.

How can a fleet reduce these violations? Regular driver training sessions, even for veteran drivers. Online training is a viable solution for every fleet and every driver. This type of training can be completed any time, and from anywhere. Your drivers can complete training modules from the comfort of their own homes, or even during their wait times.

Avoiding compliance troubles starts with proper compliance management. Not only can our dedicated team do the heavy lifting for you, we can set you up with a digital compliance management system that’s simple for everyone to use. Want to reduce risk for your fleet? Contact us today.