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What is a Fleet Audit?

what is a fleet audit

Like most people in the trucking industry, the idea of an audit probably makes your skin crawl. However, we’re not talking about the DOT. We’re talking about a type of audit that can save you major repair costs, protect your drivers, prevent accidents, improve company efficiency, and reduce your cost of loss. That’s the power of a fleet audit.

What is a Fleet Audit? And Why Are They Important?

A fleet audit is a process (done internally or externally) that measures your fleet’s compliance, financial performance, vehicle maintenance, employee safety, driver safety, safety training, and more.

The goal of a fleet audit is to catch potential issues before they cause you problems. For example, a fleet audit can uncover:

  • Compliance issues that would cost you major fines
  • Vehicle maintenance issues that could lead to accidents
  • Employee safety issues around the shop, facility, etc.
  • Unsafe driver behaviors that could get someone hurt or killed
  • Training issues with managers, supervisors, drivers, etc.

Those are all situations that can financially cripple a carrier or even put them out of business. With fleet audits, you can find them and fix them before they hurt you.

Download DQ File Checklist 

What Should You Inspect During a Fleet Audit?

As we mentioned, fleet audits can cover a wide range of issues from financial to safety to maintenance and more.

We recommend that you develop a fleet management audit program covering the following areas:

  • DOT compliance records
  • Driver safety and safety training
  • Vehicle safety and maintenance

DOT Compliance Records

Don’t leave it up to the DOT to tell you that you’re out of compliance. That comes with hefty fines and frustrations. Clean up your act before the investigators come knocking.

You need to regularly audit your compliance department to ensure that driver qualification files (DQFs) are in order.

Once a month, randomly select a DQF. Go over it with a fine-tooth comb. If something is missing, follow up on it immediately. Figure out how and why your team missed a step and then put practices in place to prevent that from happening again.

By the way, if you’re looking for a DQF checklist, check out the one we made. It’s free and updated for 2021.

It’s important to note, though, that your monthly random audits won’t be enough on their own. They’re a great litmus test, but things can still fall through the cracks. That’s why we highly recommend you implement a DOT Compliance Tracking System.

Companies who invest in DOT tracking software benefit from:

  • Never losing a DQF again
  • No more spreadsheets, sticking notes, or manilla envelope
  • The guarantee that you will pass every DOT audit

Driver Safety & Safety Training

If you want to avoid a nuclear verdict, you must invest in driver safety procedures and safety training. The money you spend on training your drivers will be half of what you save on reduced accidents, injuries, and fees.

An effective driver safety/training program has:

  • Detailed policies and procedures regarding driver safety and driver training
  • Intensive new-hire training covering all aspects of driver safety
  • Behind-The-Wheel training for new hires (especially new drivers)
  • On-going training for all drivers

A program like A-Fleet makes it easy to implement world-class online safety training for your drivers. You can easily assign training to any driver, track training progress, and download training records for later access.

However, these safety programs, policies, and procedures aren’t worth their salt if you don’t perform audits.

You must assign the following Fleet management audit procedures to someone in your company:

  • Verifying that all new drivers have completed the necessary training
  • Verifying that drivers are completing their recurring/ongoing safety training
  • Monitoring driver behaviors to ensure compliance with safety policies and procedures
  • Tracking safety, accident, and injury data to determine if your company should invest in a more robust training program

When you follow these fleet management audit procedures, you can prevent accidents and greatly reduce your cost of loss.

Vehicle Safety & Maintenance

If you want to avoid expensive repairs on your car, you do little repairs as they come up. It works the same way with your trucks. The issue is, if you’re not performing vehicle audits, you won’t catch a potential issue before it costs you big time.

You must develop and follow a vehicle audit checklist. It should include:

  • Training your drivers on pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Audit at least one driver per month at random to ensure they are performing these inspections correctly.
  • Vehicle mileage and necessary repairs/maintenance based on miles
  • Yearly inspections on major repairs done to vehicles
  • Quarterly in-depth vehicle inspections performed by your maintenance department
  • Quarterly review of vehicle repair costs - if the numbers are rising, investigate why and fix the issue

When you implement a vehicle audit program like this one, you will protect your drivers and prevent costly vehicle issues. It will save your company more time and money than you put into the program, guaranteed.

Implement Your Fleet Audit Program Today

Whether you choose to handle it internally or hire a company, the costs you save with fleet audits are well worth the money. However, don’t forget that there is software on your side.

A DOT Compliance Software Program like A-Fleet Comply makes it easy to track essential DQFs and other necessary driver compliance issues. A program like A-Fleet helps you implement and track driver safety training to prevent accidents and avoid litigation.

Even if you handle fleet audits on your own, there’s no reason they need to be complicated.

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