DOT & ELD Guidance Blog

Preparing Your Fleet for Success in 2022

2022 is shaping up to be another challenging year in the trucking industry. Motor carriers can find success in 2022 by using the following best practices.

J.J. Keller Senior Editor Daren Hansen

Daren Hansen - Sr. DOT Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

November 19 , 2021

With the ongoing pandemic, global supply-chain disruptions, and the shortage of drivers, 2022 is shaping up to be another challenging year in the trucking industry.

However, the challenges aren’t insurmountable. Motor carriers can find success in 2022 by using the following best practices.

1. Driver Hiring, Compensation, and Retention

The shortage of qualified truck drivers may be at an all-time high, but creating a progressive, fair, proactive, safety-minded culture helps entice and keep drivers.

Consider these five best business practices aimed at finding and retaining good drivers in the year ahead:

  1. Adopt a sound screening and hiring process and stick to it. Don't lower your standards to fill seats.
  2. Pay your drivers at or above the industry average, and consider sign-on bonuses as an incentive.
  3. Involve your drivers in company operations and significant decisions. Listen to drivers’ concerns and take action to address them.
  4. Lighten your drivers’ loads by helping them track and meet their compliance obligations. For example, schedule new DOT medical exams before they expire, help drivers use the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, and offer guidance and training on hours of service, cargo securement, and other mandates.

Commit to “safety first,” including both vehicle and driver safety. Go above and beyond the safety regulations, which are the minimum requirements.

2. CSA and Enforcement

2022 may bring movement toward a structural revamp of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) enforcement program, but it’s not going away. In fact, in the coming year, you can expect more FMCSA off-site audits than ever before.

Conducting internal audits can help reduce or eliminate roadside inspection violations and crashes and keep your CSA scores low. In turn, this will help prevent fines and penalties, rising insurance rates, and lawsuits. Put safety management controls in place to ensure compliance at all times. This includes:

Watch your CSA data closely. Look for trends in your Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) that point to compliance problems. Then take action to correct them or challenge any violations or crashes that don’t belong on your record.

The CSA BASIC Categories

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Hours of Service Compliance
  • Driver Fitness
  • Controlled Substances & Alcohol
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Hazardous Materials Compliance
  • Crash Indicator

3. Distraction

Driver distraction is a significant and growing highway safety concern, and technology plays an important role in causing and preventing distraction.

  • Enact strict policies against the use of distracting technologies while driving. Regularly remind drivers to “keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”
  • Make sure drivers are aware of the severe state and federal penalties resulting from texting and handheld cell-phone use while driving.
  • Offer ideas for “alternative distractions” like chatting on a hands-free device, sipping a beverage, or singing along to the radio. Studies have shown that these activities improve alertness and safety.
  • Install and use dash cameras and electronic logging devices (ELDs) to monitor your drivers’ behavior (and potentially lower your insurance rates).

As we look to 2022, use these tips to address challenges. And consider using a fleet management system like J. J. Keller® Encompass. It’s helped thousands of fleets improve DOT compliance, hire good drivers, identify poor driving habits, automate hours of service, reduce accidents, and maintain a positive, productive company culture.

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