HGV drivers have it drilled into them that even small mistakes can be incredibly costly. While not every mistake is going to have huge consequences, a lot of HGV drivers – even those with a C + E licence – don’t realize how the things that they do (or do not do) can reduce the safety of their fleet, the efficiency of the business, and its long term productivity and profitability.
Some oversights are hard to fix but there are a few simple things that are quite impactful and that will make a big difference to a fleet manager’s ability to work efficiently. Let’s take a look at those mistakes:
1. Not using the driver card in the tachograph
Drivers need to put their card in to the tachograph before they start driving. Failure to do so is illegal. It means that the tacho recording will not be linked to them as a driver, and that can cause trouble at the head office as well, making it hard for them to sort out payroll and validate time sheets. When there is no card in the tachograph, there is no ‘qualified drier’ linked to the vehicle, and this could make it difficult to prove who was driving if an insurance claim is necessary.
2. Recording breaks in the ‘other work’ category
Pressing the wrong button and putting a break down as ‘other work’ might seem like a small thing, but it can leave your hours looking vastly different to what they actually are, and may mean that it looks as if you have been breaking the law. Breaks are a legal requirement, and you are only allowed to drive for a certain length of time before you are required to rest. Recording the breaks correctly helps fleet managers to make sure everything is running as it should be.
3. Failing to Plan Breaks Properly
Drivers spend a lot of time juggling their schedules, and it’s understandable that they may occasionally forget to plan breaks properly. Fleet managers are in charge of making sure that goods get delivered on time, and they need to know the schedules of their drivers. Planning ahead and working your route out to support legally required breaks can help make the day less stressful for everyone.
4. Reporting Hours Incorrectly
Incorrect reporting of hours makes timesheets and payroll a nightmare and can lead to confusion about which drivers are available and which are not. It is important that drivers log their workday correctly so they get paid the right amount and so that they remain safe on the road as well. Making yourself look as if you have been driving longer than you have will eventually get you caught out, and trying to spend more time than you are legally allowed to on the roads is dangerous for everyone.
5. Being Hard to Contact on the Road
You should not answer your phone while driving, because that is indeed dangerous and illegal. You should, however, make an effort to make sure that you are reachable so that fleet managers can keep you informed with changes and find out your whereabouts as well. Drivers should make sure that fleet managers are clear on ETAs and plans. This makes it easier for them to plan the rest of the day’s staffing and deliveries.
If you can make those things a part of your day to day habits then it will make the whole operation safer and more efficient and take a lot of stress out of managing the rest of the fleet. Using a Mobile Resource Management platform alongside the tachograph in your vehicle can help to keep everyone informed and streamline communications across the whole fleet. All the driver has to do is make sure they are carded in to the vehicle, and the platform will handle the rest of the job.