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Safe and effective fleet management needs a strong focus on compliance. Ensure your business complies with all regulations with our guide.

Ensure your operation runs both safely and legally by considering the range of regulations you have to comply with. Rules change from country to country, but regardless of where you operate, it’s important to be aware of the official bodies at play and the rules they set for managing fleets.

Being compliant is not a choice, it is a necessity for every business

From specific rules for transporting chilled goods, to the roadworthiness of vehicles and tachograph considerations for drivers, being an effective fleet manager means keeping up to date with policies in every country you operate in to make sure you comply.

Key regulations you’ll need to be aware of centre around:

  • Legal documentation
  • Vehicle weight limits
  • Driving restrictions
  • Licensing and permits
  • Driving hours (tacho times)
  • Vehicle emission

As a fleet manager, ensuring compliance will be your responsibility. Failing to comply with the correct regulations can lead to large fines and reputational damage, so it is vital you take regulatory compliance seriously.

Key areas of compliance

Compliance covers a broad spectrum and it’s important to keep on top of them all. Some of the common regulations you need to follow when running a fleet in any country include:

  • Vehicle safety – Unsafe trucks and trailers are bad news, increasing the chance of breakdowns and endangering your drivers and other road users. Running a fleet using vehicles that are not considered roadworthy by the country’s regulatory road body could risk a fine for your fleet, which the driver may have to pay in certain countries.
  • Documentation – Depending on where your drivers are working, the vehicles are registered and what goods they are carrying, different driver documentation is required. Regularly check this, as it can change, and ensure all drivers have the correct documentation.
  • Licensing – Your fleet needs an up-to-date set of licenses that shows all vehicles are properly taxed. In the UK you can use the Post Office Licensing (POL) scheme and Bulk Electronic Relicensing Transaction (BERT) to tax all of your vehicles in one transaction every month, for example.
  • Tachograph times – Monitoring and digitally storing the working hours of your drivers, including details of the frequency and length of their rest breaks, is imperative. Regulations exist to make sure driving and resting times are respected, and that there is an accurate and timely read out and archiving of driver card data and tacho mass memory.
  • Driver and customer data – You need to handle your data with as much care as your vehicles. Any private data that you hold on clients and customers must be correctly collected, stored and used for you to stay on the right side of the General Data Protection Regulation – also known as GDPR.
  • Overloading – It can be dangerous to drive with an overloaded trailer, causing increased wear and tear. Many countries also have legal regulations in place to penalise overloaded vehicles.

Compliance challenges for fleet management

The wide scope of regulations dictates that fleet managers need to be proactive and monitor any changes to regulation rules. Regular training and refresher sessions can be run with employees to cover any updates or areas of particular difficulty – such as sticking within legal tachograph times.

Businesses are only as compliant as the people they employ

This is vital, as businesses are only as compliant as the people they employ. The best process in the world can collapse if people can’t put it into practice – with drivers at the front line of your fleet.

Your business may run fleet operations across international borders. That brings its own challenges in terms of ensuring both drivers and vehicles are compliant with the local regulations at every stage of the journey.

The scale of the challenge is matched by the potential punishment. Failure to comply can result in heavy fines that have a devastating financial impact upon your business.

Fleets that fall foul of regulations can suffer reputational damage too, which raises the prospect of a loss of custom in the medium to long term.

Ways to improve compliance efficiency

To address the key areas of compliance for your fleet:

  • Embrace digitisation. Big data and other digitised fleet management products can reduce the burden when it comes to collecting, storing and accessing the data you require to comply with fleet regulations. Record, archive and export tachograph data with TX-SOCIAL from WABCO, for example. Automation can also reduce the chance of human error when it comes to logging and analysing data related to your fleet.
  • Arrange regular driver training. Keep on top of training and everyone will know the standards they must adhere to. Don’t forget aspects such as GDPR either – this might not come naturally to those working with a fleet – and don’t neglect your own training. Explore how our Top Driver Training Program can help.
  • Improve processes. When running a cross-border fleet, put in place efficient processes to keep on top of driver locations and routes. Use these to make sure each one has the correct licences and documentation to avoid any hold-ups during their deliveries.
  • Enhance your workshop. Make sure your workshop is equipped with the best tools for making repairs and improving the performance of trucks and trailers. This can boost the vehicle safety and make sure each one is compliant with the latest regulations, reducing the chance of breakdowns and vehicles not being roadworthy.

Being compliant is not a choice, it is a necessity for every business. By tapping into the latest technology and implementing a robust training programme, your fleet will stand a much better chance of avoiding financial and reputational damage.