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Beware of Expunged MVR Records

Expungement is a legal procedure to remove driving infractions from an individual's motor vehicle record. Fleet managers report MVR expungements are occurring with greater frequency -- more so in some jurisdictions than others. The most notorious is Puerto Rico, but there has also been an increase in expungements of DUIs and speeding tickets in other jurisdictions, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania. Fleet managers need to be aware of the negligent entrustment ramifications. READ MORE

Higher Raw Material Costs Put Upward Pressure on Replacement Tire Prices

Retail transaction prices for light-truck replacement tire were up 12.5% in 2010, and 11% for the passenger car segment. Although retail tire prices increased, replacement tire pricing for commercial fleets remained relatively flat because of pre-existing national account pricing agreements. However, it would be short-sighted to believe national account vendors will indefinitely absorb tire cost increases without passing them on to their fleet customers. READ MORE

Ten years ago, toll violations were an insignificant expense for fleets. Today, it is the second fastest-growing cost for fleets. The proliferation of automated tollbooths has dramatically increased the volume of toll violations.

In a Slow Economy, Driver Violations Increase

Vehicle violations now represent 1-3 percent of total fleet costs. Traffic violation revenues are being used by many jurisdictions to balance budgets. In an era of budget deficits, fleets are discovering a sharp uptick in driver violations. READ MORE

In a Slow Economy, Driver Violations Increase

Vehicle violations represent 1-3 percent of total fleet costs and vary by fleet depending on the cities and states where vehicles operate. READ MORE

Idea Emerges to Create a Networking Group for Women in Fleet

There are a number of professional women’s associations. Why not an association for women in fleet? This was the thought that struck Carolyn Edwards, director of operations, vehicle acquisition for LeasePlan USA. Since then, four founding members have joined the group. They are Gayle Pratt of Ecolab, Sue Miller of McDonald’s Corp., Ginny Liddle of Terracon, and Christy Coyte of Johnson Controls, Inc. The group is looking for your feedback. READ MORE

NHTSA Proposes Speed Limiters on HD Trucks: Will Medium-Duties be Next?

The proposed rulemaking would amend the federal motor vehicle safety standards requiring OEMs to install speed limiters on trucks with a GVWR greater than 26,000 lbs. An electronic control module (ECM) would limit the maximum speed to no more than 68 mph. Many independent truckers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) are opposed to the rulemaking. READ MORE

A growing number of fleets view mobile applications as a way to help lower fleet costs, increase driver efficiency, and improve fleet management control.

Fleet Applications Emerge for Mobile Communication Devices

Applications for mobile communication devices to perform fleet-related tasks will become increasingly prevalent in the near future. These emerging applications will help enhance driver productivity and communication. READ MORE

High-Mileage Used Fleet Vehicles Create Difficulties Financing 'C' and 'D' Paper Buyers

Fleet managers are manufacturers of used vehicles. Many of the buyers of used fleet vehicles are C and D paper buyers. One unintended consequence to companies extending the service lives of fleet vehicles is that it is more difficult for used-vehicle dealers to finance C and D paper buyers in the secondary funding market. The issue, from the perspective of the finance company, is the remaining life of higher-mileage vehicles. READ MORE

First-Year Bonus Depreciation Increased to 100 Percent

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853) was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 17, 2010. The legislation includes an extension of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010's "bonus depreciation" allowance through the end of 2011, and increases that amount from 50 percent to100 percent. Here's what it means to fleets. READ MORE

Legal Motion Seeks to Halt Public Release of CSA 2010 Data

Concern about vicarious liability lawsuits resulting from the public release of Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010 data prompted a legal motion to be filed on Nov. 29 with the U.S. Court of Appeals by three trucking associations, representing 3,000 privately owned fleets. The motion seeks a permanent injuction to the public release of CSA 2010 data with percentile ranking by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). READ MORE

The Weak Link in Corporate Sustainability is the Driver

Despite a slow economy, many companies (especially multi-nationals) remain fully committed to achieving self-imposed sustainability targets, which invariably include their fleet operations. However, many fleet programs place a greater focus on modifying the "asset" versus modifying driver behavior. READ MORE

Forecast of 2011 Operating Costs

Operating costs will trend higher in the 2011 calendar-year, primarily due to an incremental increase in fuel prices, which represent the largest fleet operating expense category. Another factor contributing to upward pressure on operating expenses will be higher maintenance costs, primarily due to extended replacement cycling. Beyond 2011, fleet acquisition costs are anticipated increase to meet higher CAFE requirements. READ MORE

Dealer Consolidation Creates New Headaches for Out-of-Stock Purchases

Fleet managers try to minimize the number of out-of-stock purchases. But there are instances when these purchases can't be avoided, such as accident replacement and unanticipated new hires. However, the downsized dealer network has caused searches for out-of-stock vehicles to become more difficult and time-consuming. With OEM production reduced to match demand, fleets attempting to purchase out-of-stock are increasingly competing with retail customers. Is this the new reality? READ MORE

Most Fleets Unprepared for CSA 2010

SafeStat has been replaced by Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010, which applies to all truck fleets that operate interstate and require a US DOT number. All vehicles that operate interstate with a 10,001-lb. combined GVWR or greater are covered by CSA 2010. This regulatory enforcement change will create a monumental sea change in how truck fleets manage drivers, their fleet operations, and remain DOT compliant. READ MORE

Order-to-Delivery Times Increase Slightly in MY-2010

Multiple factors increased fleet order-to-delivery times, such as quality holds, massive recalls, the Cash for Clunkers program, GM & Chrysler’s emergence from bankruptcy, and the decision to build to demand, not to capacity.

Multiple factors increased fleet order-to-delivery times, such as quality holds, massive recalls, the Cash for Clunkers program, GM & Chrysler’s emergence from bankruptcy, and the decision to build to demand, not to capacity. This data is based on a survey, which tracked deliveries of 159,349 new vehicles in the 2010 model-year, representing 86 models. READ MORE

Viewing the Company Vehicle as an Entitlement

A growing number of drivers view the company vehicle as a perk rather than a tool to perform their job. This view is more pronounced in certain generational groups. I speak with many fleet managers and can attest that most echo the belief that attitudes about company vehicles differ by the age of the driver. Many fleet managers believe younger workers have an entitlement attitude. However, these entitlement attitudes appear on both sides of the generational divide. READ MORE

Do You Know What Your Drivers Are <i>Really</i> Doing?

Do you really know who is driving your company-provided vehicles? Often the "at-work" persona of an employee is not the true indicator of their behavior when no one is watching. Recently, someone forwarded me a link to a chat room for pharmaceutical reps. I did a search of posts that included the phrase "company car" and, in short order, I was shocked at some of the comments written about their use of company cars and how drivers play "the system" to their advantage. READ MORE

The Need to Extend 50-Percent Bonus Depreciation

First-year 50-percent depreciation, known as bonus depreciation, expired Jan. 1, 2010. An amendment to retroactively extend bonus depreciation through the end of calendar-year 2010 has been added as an amendment to H.R. 5297. Bonus depreciation has been benefical to commercial fleets, especially those with long-life assets. As an industry, we need to urge members of Congress to pass H.R. 5297. But this is easier said than done due to the many other contentious issues in the bill. READ MORE

Uptick in Fuel-Related Problems in Diesel Trucks

The EPA mandated the use of ULSD, effective June 1, 2006. Since then, there has been an uptick in reports of fuel-related problems, such as corrosion in storage tanks and dispensing systems, onboard vehicle fuel tank corrosion, clogged filters, and seal and gasket deterioration. What has the industry scratching its "collective head" is the chronological correlation between the uptick in fuel-related problems and the introduction of ULSD. Is there a connection between the two? READ MORE

Who Will Succeed You as Fleet Manager?

I asked a number of long-time fleet managers, who have the perspective of history, their thoughts about the future of the fleet manager position. In particular, I asked who they thought would succeed them when they retire or move on to other opportunities. A surprising number felt the future for in-house fleet managers is bleak. Others cited no "new blood" being infused into the ranks of the fleet management profession. READ MORE

Commercial Fleet Buying Intentions Remain Cautious for 2011-MY

Many companies continue to be uncertain as to whether the economic recovery is sustainable and are hesitant to recommence hiring. Most companies anticipate 2011-MY fleet orders will be comparable to 2010-MY ordering, but this is still below 2008-MY levels. Delayed 2011 introductions are prompting fleets to shift some of their orders from fall fleet buys to spring fleet orders. In an exclusive market survey, 300 major corporate fleets reveal their 2011-MY buying inclinations. READ MORE

Model-Year versus Calendar-Year

In the "good old days," the overwhelming majority of new models would be "officially" introduced Oct. 1 of the preceding calendar-year. Little by little, this practice has migrated to the realm of nostalgia as OEMs introduce new models throughout the calendar-year. Year-round new-model introductions have complicated fleet planning and purchasing. Some fleet managers wonder why the U.S. doesn't convert to a calendar-year cycle as used by the majority of the global auto industry. READ MORE

U.S. Begins Deploying the Next Generation of GPS

Truck fleets were among the earliest adopters of GPS technology. GPS is used to reduce fuel spend by optimizing routing, increase driver accountability by deterring speeding and excessive idling, track hours of service and overtime, and prevent unauthorized usage of assets. A new generation of more powerful and sophisticated satellites are being deployed, which promise to take the GPS to the next level. READ MORE

Can Fleet Vehicles be Hacked?

A new study shows automotive software is as vulnerable to malicious hackers as the average PC. Most people don't realize a typical fleet vehicle contains 70-100 megabytes of binary code in 50-70 onboard microprocessors, and the amount of internal software code promises to grow in the future. The research paper demonstrated how a sophisticated hacker could wreak havoc on a vehicle by manipulating the in-vehicle computer network. READ MORE

The Cost of Operating a Fleet Will Increase

It will become more expensive to operate a fleet in the coming years. Vehicle acquisition costs will increase. Fuel prices, in all likelihood, will trend upward and maintenance costs will ratchet higher due to more companies adopting extended replacement schedules. In addition, vehicle-related taxes will increase. Let's examine the dynamics that will force fleet expenses to escalate. READ MORE

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Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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