A new study revealed that fleet managers face ongoing challenges in keeping pace with regulatory updates and enhancing driver expertise.
"The State of Fleet Management: Insights on Priorities for Today's Fleet Managers," commissioned by the J. J. Keller Center for Market Insights, the research division of J. J. Keller & Associates, draws on a survey conducted in February 2023.
There has been a significant shift in the priorities of fleet managers, such as:
- The number of fleet managers prioritizing the safe and correct operation of specific vehicle types by their drivers has increased by 39% compared to 2022.
- The importance of quickly identifying vehicle or trailer damage or non-compliance has risen by 24% from last year.
- There has been a 13% increase in the value placed on having all driver files consolidated in one place, enabling fleet managers to demonstrate compliance easily.
These findings highlight fleet managers' evolving concerns and focus areas in their quest for improved safety and regulatory adherence.
Increasing Emphasis on Regulatory Awareness for Fleet Managers
The study revealed that 42% of fleet managers emphasized the importance of staying informed about regulatory changes as the key element of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration compliance.
Respondents expressed their challenges in the job, with some highlighting the difficulty of ensuring compliance and staying updated with rule changes. Maintaining continuous compliance with all vehicles was also mentioned as a significant challenge.
One respondent specifically mentioned the need to keep track of various OSHA or FMCSA requirements and state, city, and county guidelines relating to safety and DOT regulations.
Another respondent pointed out the struggle to take all necessary steps during driver recruitment.
These comments shed light on the multifaceted responsibilities faced by fleet managers in achieving and maintaining compliance in a dynamic regulatory landscape.
Fleet Managers Identify Key Areas for Improvement
Fleet managers consistently evaluate and enhance their drivers' knowledge and skills, with certain areas deemed more crucial than others.
The highest priority, according to 62% of respondents, is the safe and correct operation of a specific vehicle type, marking a significant 39% increase from 2022.
Other important driver knowledge and skills identified include:
- Preventing injuries while working and driving (28%).
- Knowing the appropriate actions to take in the event of an accident (27%).
- Avoiding distracted driving (26%).
Joshua Lovan, Business Industry Advisor at J. J Keller noted, "Companies that prioritize safety as their primary goal tend to receive a more positive response from drivers," explaining why 63% of fleet managers believe their company predominantly or entirely emphasizes continuous learning.
Regarding driver training, respondents emphasize the importance of the practical application of learned skills (52%) and tailored training that meets individual needs (45%).
Furthermore, demonstrating comprehension of the training content experienced a 12% rise from 2022 to 2023.
Regrettably, 37% of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the level of support they receive from their companies regarding continuous learning.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
As the risk of “nuclear verdicts” and FMCSA audits continue to increase, fleet managers will likely prioritize staying up-to-date with regulatory requirements and improving driver knowledge and skills.
With the insights shared in the report, stakeholders within the industry can better discuss the priorities and constraints fleet managers face and continue to help them going forward.