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Do You Need a Fleet Compliance Manager?

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The biggest fear for most fleets is a massive DOT violation. There’s an issue with your drug & alcohol testing policy, a driver who is out of compliance rear-ends someone, or a driver who didn't do a vehicle inspection causes an accident. Any one of these can be game over for a company. So what do you do? One solution is to invest in a fleet compliance manager.

What is a Fleet Compliance Manager?

The position of “fleet compliance managers” has many names. It’s also referred to as Fleet Compliance Officer, DOT Compliance Manager, Fleet Compliance Administrator, Fleet Compliance Coordinator, and more. However, the core responsibilities don’t change.

A fleet compliance manager is responsible for anything and everything related to DOT compliance. This includes:

  • Driver Qualification File Management
  • Vehicle maintenance/overseeing vehicle inspections
  • Organization of driver vehicle inspection reports
  • Driver safety and safety training as it relates to compliance
  • Drug & alcohol testing
  • Hours of Service compliance
  • Meeting DOT requirements
  • Internal compliance audits

In short, a Fleet Compliance Manager is tasked with making sure your company is constantly in compliance.

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How to Decide if a Fleet Compliance Manager is Right For You

For many companies, a fleet compliance manager is a necessity. Without compliance being the sole responsibility of one person, you’re at risk of serious DOT violations. So how do you know if hiring a fleet compliance manager is the right choice?

Frequency/Severity of DOT Violations

This one is simple. The first place to look is your current DOT violations. What is your average spend on DOT violations per year? Is that a pill you can swallow?

If they’re too high, you clearly need to do something about it. The only way to get different results is by doing something different. A fleet compliance manager is one solution.

However, let’s say you spend very little on DOT violations per year - perhaps much less than you would on a Fleet Compliance Manager. We caution you against being too optimistic about your future. Just because you haven’t had your nuclear verdict yet doesn’t mean you won’t.

Companies who get slapped with a million-dollar fine wish they would have acted before it happened.

Company Size

The second consideration is company size. Your risk of DOT violations goes up the more drivers you have, and vice versa. Not only that, but the fewer drivers you have, the easier it is to manage that process.

With only a handful of drivers, it could easily fall to someone else in the company to manage your DOT compliance.

Cost vs. Risk

Hiring a fleet compliance manager is an investment. In Ohio, the average compliance manager makes about $100,000 per year. You must determine if this cost is worth it to you. In other words, you need to make sure you receive a positive return on investment  

Look at it this way: according to the FMCSA, companies received a total of about 1200 critical DOT violations at an average of .088 per investigation in 2019. Simultaneously, there were over 68,000 non-critical DOT violations issued to companies at a rate of 5,22 per investigation.

And, the average cost of a compliance issue is over $5,000.

If a Fleet Compliance Manager is able to reduce your DOT violations significantly while preventing nuclear verdicts, you are likely to receive a positive return on your investment.

Without a Fleet Compliance Manager, you save on your bottom line, but your risk for DOT violations goes up. It could be just a matter of time before you get dinged for the big one.

Software vs. Personnel

A common solution for compliance management is compliance tracking software. This is for good reason. Companies who invest in compliance tracking software benefit from:

  • A reduction in violations
  • Never losing or misplacing a file
  • Alerts when a driver is out of compliance
  • Overall improved efficiency

For smaller companies, investing in the software may be enough. However, for larger companies, it is likely necessary to invest in both compliance tracking software and a fleet compliance manager.

The software and the personnel have a lot of synergies together. The software alerts you that someone is out of compliance, but for each alert, there is an action that needs to be taken. That falls on your fleet compliance manager.

Conversely, if you hire the manager without the software, that person’s job is a lot more difficult than it needs to be. You’re paying them the same salary for worse results.

Be Proactive Against DOT Violations

A single DOT violation can put you out of business. However, it never has to happen. Invest in a fleet compliance manager. Give them the software and tools necessary to succeed at their job. These steps will set you up to reduce your annual payments to the DOT and prevent future massive violations.

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