Insights, ideas and inspiration for modern-day fleet managers
Since their business is based on operating a fleet of commercial vehicles, towing companies are faced with multiple challenges. Not only do their fleet, drivers, and internal operations have to comply with DOT regulations, they also have to be experts at asset management. That's a huge expectation, especially when the responsibility falls on just a few key decision makers.
It's also an impossible task to accomplish without the help of technology. From DOT compliance help to asset maintenance solutions, using tech means leaders can more effectively track their business operations, ensuring smooth operations, safety, and efficiency.
Tow trucks, like all commercial vehicles, fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well as the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). They are also bound by the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation, both locally and federally. Compliance is mandatory and every aspect of the fleet's operations are, in some way, regulated.
Tow truck drivers fall under the federal guidelines established for all commercial vehicle drivers. In most states, tow truck drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL). They also have to be able to pass both drug and alcohol testing and a background check before they're legally allowed to operate the tow truck. Employers are required to maintain driver qualification files including the following:
Operating a tow truck can be a dangerous proposition, which is why there are requirements for trucks to be well-lit and visible to other motorists. They're also equipped with safety equipment that ensures the vehicle being towed is secured as it is transported. In addition, tow truck operators are required to be licensed, obtain the proper permits, and acquire adequate insurance to cover their liability.
Beyond its employees, a tow truck company's most valuable assets are its fleet of vehicles. It's imperative that they are not only well maintained, kept in good repair, and presentable, they also need to be protected from theft and loss. Again, technology makes this easy by way of electronic record keeping and vehicle tracking.
Federal law requires tow truck companies to maintain records of all the vehicles within their fleet that have been in service for 30 days or more. Those records have to be made available to inspectors during a DOT audit, or when an incident occurs and the records are requested by authorities.
A functioning tow truck is a valuable piece of equipment, both for the company who owns it and for potential thieves. When a truck is parked in the lot, or left outside a truck stop or at a rest area, it's vulnerable. Tracking the movement of a tow truck during its routine operations not only helps prevent theft, but it also helps keep better tabs on drivers and improves productivity.
Regulatory compliance and fleet vehicle maintenance are both vital to a tow truck company's operations. Failure to comply with the DOT's regulations can result in huge fines, penalties, lost productivity, and may even cost the company their ability to operate. Record keeping is an essential part of compliance and records have to be maintained for every driver, vehicle, and activity the company undertakes. Likewise, they are under obligation to properly maintain their fleet vehicles to ensure they're safe to operate on the roadways.
Navigating the complex world of DOT compliance and fleet vehicle maintenance requirements can be a daunting task. You don't have to go it alone, though. Contact Whip Around online, or give us a call at +1 (704) 912-5593. Our friendly team will be happy to answer your questions, provide you with quick demos of our services, and we even offer free on-boarding so you can get on the road to success.