GPS tracking technology has become nearly ubiquitous in fleet management operations today. Everywhere you go, you can find fleet vehicles that have GPS devices buried somewhere inside—GPS units are even starting to become commonplace in personal vehicles.
If you’re not already using GPS tracking for your vehicle fleet, odds are you’re running into one or more of the following extra costs:
1: Fuel Theft/Fraud Costs
In a perfect world, we’d all be able to trust every driver to provide honest, accurate fuel consumption reports. Unfortunately, in the real world, you’ll occasionally run into drivers who write in the wrong numbers on fuel expense reports either accidentally or on purpose. Some drivers may share their fleet fuel cars with other drivers or friends for monetary compensation, making you pay for fuel consumed by people, not on your payroll.
GPS tracking and fleet management software helps curtail these costs by logging the actual miles traveled, total operational time, and even average RPMs of a vehicle’s engine so you can accurately track how much fuel should have been consumed. If you spot a large discrepancy, you can address it to prevent future fuel fraud/theft.
2: Fuel Waste
When drivers aren’t staying on task behind the wheel, you can incur extra fuel waste from excessive idling or unplanned/unauthorized detours. Or, a vehicle could get stuck in a bad spot of traffic with no way of knowing what the best alternative route is.
GPS tracking and navigation devices can help reduce fuel waste by keeping drivers on task behind the wheel and allowing you to reroute drivers when they’re stuck in bad traffic. With GPS navigation aids, you can change a route in real-time to avoid large traffic jams caused by accidents, construction, and other situations on the road.
This helps prevent excessive idling, as well as:
3: Unnecessary Repairs for Excessive Wear and Tear on Fleet Vehicles
Every minute that the engine’s running and every mile the wheels move adds wear and tear to your fleet vehicles. When drivers sit in idle for too long or make unauthorized side trips with your fleet vehicles, they’re not only burning fuel, they’re adding to your maintenance costs.
Over time, the extra miles traveled and active engine time make it so that you have to run more maintenance on each fleet vehicle—more oil changes, timing belt replacements, brake checks, etc.
However, even when you’re staying up to date with the recommended maintenance for specific vehicle milestones (50K miles, 100K miles, etc.), you can still easily miss a critical issue if the repair shop isn’t hooking up the vehicle for a full diagnostics check.
GPS tracking devices and software that integrate with a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics systems can help minimize your maintenance costs in a few ways, including:
- Cutting Back on Excess Idling. While some engine idle time is unavoidable, excessive idling is a problem. By monitoring driving habits, you can identify excessive idling and find workarounds to prevent it.
- Keeping Drivers from Making Unauthorized Side Trips. In most cases, you probably don’t want your drivers to run personal errands on company time in company vehicles. With GPS tracking software, you can review a driver’s route adherence, and discourage unauthorized side trips.
- Providing Early Warning of Faults in Key Vehicle Systems. With onboard diagnostics integrations, if a sensor in the vehicle detects a problem, you’ll know right away that something needs fixing. This lets you focus on less expensive preventative maintenance rather than costly and disruptive emergency maintenance.
4: Hours of Service Violations and Investigations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other USDOT organizations are starting to crack down on Hours of Service (HOS) violations. Recently, a new rule mandating the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) was passed by the FMCSA requiring the complete phase-out of paper records in favor of ELDs.
Without an ELD Rule-compliant device, vehicle fleets that have to maintain records of duty status logs may soon be facing severe fines and other penalties.
GPS tracking devices can log when an engine starts, how far a vehicle has moved, and when the engine is shut down—information which can help you establish the actual hours of service that your drivers have put in.
With this data, you can be better prepared for any investigations of violations that may occur… Not to mention prevent those violations in the first place by reaching out to drivers on the cusp of making a violation and making them get some rest.
5: Damages from Reckless Driving Suits
Even the safest vehicle fleets have an accident or two sooner or later. The problem is that establishing fault in these accidents, or avoiding reckless driving charges, can be difficult without a lot of data on hand showing your fleet’s safe driving efforts.
While dash cams are great for providing some conclusive proof of fault in an individual accident, it’s just as important to reduce crash risks in the first place. Unfortunately, manually reviewing dash cam footage for reckless driving behaviors is difficult and time-consuming.
However, GPS tracking data can provide clear indications to let you know if drivers are habitually accelerating or braking too hard, taking corners too sharply, and engaging in other dangerous driving behaviors that may not be readily obvious from a dash cam’s limited point of view.
With GPS tracking data, you can identify dangerous drivers in your fleet and correct their bad habits—hopefully before an accident occurs. This reduces your company’s risk of being found at fault for an accident, and the damages that come with such verdicts.
These are just a few of the potential costs that your vehicle fleet might be incurring without GPS tracking both now and in the near future. For more on how GPS fleet tracking can help you save money, check out some of our other resources now!