For years, many fleets of all types have treated vehicle-issued violations as just another routine cost, like vehicle maintenance or insurance payments. It can be difficult to keep track of which drivers are responsible for which violations, and some companies consider parking tickets and the like less important than fast customer service. Such casual attitudes towards fees and fines is on the way out, though—and good riddance.
Part of the change is driven by the fact that violation-related costs are going up, thanks to technological improvements such as photo enforcement that make issuing tickets much easier. Many jurisdictions are also coming down heavier on vehicle-related issues, levying much larger fines than in years past.
Tolls, parking, and photo-enforcement of stop signs and traffic lights together make up 95% of vehicle-issued violations for fleets.
In Maryland, the number of toll violations tripled from 2008 and 2012, according to a new study by American Traffic Solutions. From 2010 to 2011, Washington DC increased its income from parking fines by over $12 million. Across the country, photo enforcement tickets increased by 12% between 2010 and 2012. If a driver does something wrong, he or she is more likely to be caught and fined.
Fleets also are paying more attention to avoiding violations in order to avoid bad publicity and to improve public safety on the roads.
So, fleet managers have every possible motivation to ensure that drivers follow the rules—but how can they do it?
Part of the answer is simple training, deliberately fostering a culture of safety in the company. Instituting policies that reward good driving rather than punishing it is important, too. For example, a company that rewards its drivers only for mileage is creating an incentive to speed. Managers who insist on service vehicles getting to the work site quickly no matter what incentivize parking violations. It is important to think about possible unintended consequences of company policies.
But another part of the answer is better data gathering and record-keeping. Here, GPS tracking features can help. If a fleet manager can tell where is or her drivers are and how they are driving, then he or she can easily spot those drivers who need additional training or disciplinary action—before citations are even issued. If a driver does get a violation, it is much easier for managers to tell which driver was involved. And, finally, if a driver gets a ticket in error, GPS tracking makes it easier for he or she to appeal (just remember not to pay tickets automatically, before talking to the driver—once a fine is paid, most jurisdictions consider the matter closed and will not hear an appeal. The driver is then stuck with the violation on his or her record).
GPS tracking and other fleet management software features create better drivers, saving fleets 70 to 90%* in violation-related charges and creating a safer road for everybody.
Source: American Traffic Solutions. "Traffic Violations Are On The Rise: How Fleets Can Prepare."