Why Fuel Cards are More Beneficial to the Fleets than Credit Cards?

You might be looking for ways to lower your fuel costs now that the fuel price fluctuation is beginning to start again. Have you considered using fuel cards instead of a fleet credit card or paying cash for fuel for your truckers? While they might look similar to credit cards, using a credit card for fleet utilization isn’t always the most advantageous option. There are several benefits that fuel cards offer that you might not be receiving if you’ve been utilizing a fleet credit card for fuel advantages. 

Despite falling diesel prices, fuel remains one of the most expensive operating costs for carriers. Your company will be more lucrative the better you can manage that expense. Using a fuel card rather than a company credit card or liquid assets for diesel purchases is one of the simplest ways to control fuel costs.

We will go through the basics of fuel and credit cards, followed by their advantages in this blog. 

What Is A Fuel Card?

A fuel card, similar to a credit card, makes it simple to pay for and track your corporate fuel transactions. It also links to an account like a credit card. The fuel’s price is billed to your account when you fill up by merely swiping your card. Payments may reflect in your bank or credit card account. You don’t need to maintain and add up fuel invoices because every purchase is tracked and itemized on a single tax statement.

The only significant distinction in using a fuel card is that it necessitates accessing the driver’s unique PIN and the vehicle’s mileage. Behind the scenes, however, there are several other significant differences. 

For any purchase, there are corporate credit cards. In contrast, a fuel card is specifically for purchasing fuel and upkeep for company property.

How Do Fuel Cards Work? 

A private payment network of gas stations is the foundation of a fuel card. It is only functional at gas stations connected to this system. However, the optimum fuel cards will encompass the bulk of gas stations in the United States (95 percent or more).

The gas purchase information is available online as soon as the driver buys it. The company can access this information, prepare reports, and maintain cards anytime through a web portal. Drivers can manage their cards via a mobile app.

In contrast to conventional fuel payment methods, a fuel card has some significant advantages.

How Do You Use A Fuel Card? 

Utilizing fuel cards is very effortless. To put it simply, instead of using personal cash or a company credit card to pay for the fuel at a gas station, the employee uses a fuel card. The bill is then charged directly to the company.

It’s worth noting that most fuel cards are only legitimate inside a single network. For instance, the Shell Multi-Network Fuel Card works at gas stations operated by Shell, Esso, Texaco, Gulf, and Gleaner. To fill up at a supermarket petrol station, however, you must have a legitimate fuel card at Morrisons or Tesco, such as the FuelPlus Fuel Card.

Advantages Of A Fuel Card

Fuel cards, like cash and credit cards, are adaptable. They may even provide discounts on all of your company’s fuel purchases! With a dependable fuel card, you will also be able to solve some of the biggest problems with conventional fuel payments. Here are some of the advantages of fuel cards:

  • Efficient monitoring of fuel cards – By using fuel cards, you can gather specific information about your fleet’s fuel consumption. Many fuel card providers can compile this data into several reports that make controlling your company’s fuel efficiency convenient. You can also track fuel usage using card management software- typically available as a digital dashboard or application. Fleet managers can then identify trends and find ways to improve spending and fuel economy. 
  • Security – Fuel cards can be independently delegated to a driver or car and given a different ID/PIN- to reduce security risks. Every operator will have safe entry to the account and be able to instantly freeze or revoke cards if they are stolen or lost and reactivate or order new cards as required.
  • No Credit – Your fuel card can be pre-loaded with a predetermined number of liters using a pre-pay fuel account. Check with your fuel card supplier for a Flexi-pay card. The Flexi-pay solution gives you access to a resolved, industrially related diesel price while keeping you in complete command of the card’s spending limits.
  •  Simple To Limit Spending – You can choose to limit transactions to just fuel with the majority of fuel cards. The invoice won’t have to be divided or dissolved, which will be advantageous for your account department. Furthermore, you can be confident that your drivers aren’t paying for personal costs with company money.
  • Discounts And Rebates On Fuel – Since the companies that issue fuel cards impact the price per liter for their clients, those who own fuel cards receive fuel discounts that add up in the long run. Oil systems recognize fuel card providers because they buy large quantities of fuel. Because of this, some fuel card companies can offer customers a more desirable rate.

What Is A Credit Card?

With a credit card, a customer can borrow up to his pre-approved credit limit. Credit cards are a form of credit facility offered by banks. It allows consumers to make purchases of goods and services. As well as income and credit score, the credit card issuer determines the credit limit based on those variables. Credit card information includes the card number, recipient’s name, expiry date, signature, CVC code, etc. Credit cards have the advantage of not being linked to a bank account. As a result, every time you use your credit card, the sum is subtracted from your credit card balance instead of your bank account.

How Do Credit Cards Work? 

A credit card is primarily a small loan from the bank, to put it simply. While some may consider credit cards to be “easy money,” your credit balance is a loan with an APR (also defined as interest) that will be billed to you as the account holder if you do not pay off your balance at the end of a billing period. Upon approval of your credit card application, the bank will add a credit limit to your account. The credit limit represents the most the bank will permit you to splurge using the card. The credit limit of your credit card is affected by several factors, such as your revenue, liabilities, and credit score.

Credit card transactions deduct your available balance from your account. In contrast, making a credit card payment will give you more accessible credit for future orders.

How Do You Use A Credit Card?

Credit cards are simple to operate. You may have to insert your card into a reader or swipe it at the cash register when you enter a shop. You can also use your card to make non-contact payments in stores. Using your credit card when shopping online is as simple as filling in your card details, which include:

  • Your credit card number.
  • The date of expiration.
  • The CVV security code – is usually printed on the back of your card.

It’s also critical to utilize your credit card in ways that will assist you in improving your credit score while not costing you too much in terms of interest and fees.

Advantages Of Credit Cards 

With its simplicity and convenient pay-back options, credit cards have become an essential part of life. Credit card discount offers and transactions are unmatched by any other financial instrument. However, credit cards become debt traps if wrongly utilized or if you charge more than you can afford to pay back when the bill arrives. If you’re new to the concept of credit, here are five advantages:

  • Easy Credit Access – The most significant benefit of a credit card is the ease with which you can obtain credit. Credit cards operate based on delayed payment, which means you can use your card today and pay for your transactions later. Your bank balance doesn’t deplete every time you swipe because the money used does not leave your account.
  • Establishing A Credit Line – You can create a line of credit with credit cards. A credit line is critical because it permits banks to observe your active credit record based on card repayments and consumption. Credit cards are used by banking institutions to assess the creditworthiness of potential loan applicants and will be an integral part of the future loan or rental applications.
  • EMI Provision – If you want to make a large purchase but don’t want to use your savings, you can put it on your credit card to defer payment. In addition, you can choose to pay off your purchase in equal monthly installments, avoiding paying a lump sum and depleting your bank account. Using EMI to pay for a transaction, such as a television or an expensive refrigerator, is cheaper than taking out a personal loan.
  • Offers And Discounts – Incentives and offers to use your credit card are typically abundant with most cards. These can range from cash back to rewards points accumulated each time you swipe your card, which can then be repaid as air miles or used to pay off your exceptional card balance. Additionally, lenders provide savings on credit card purchases made on things like plane tickets, vacations, and large transactions, which can help you save money.
  • Flexible Credit – When using a credit card, you may have access to an interest-free period during which no interest is applicable to any impressive balance. You can get free, short-term credit for 45-60 days if you pay off the entire amount due by the due date on your credit card bill. As a result, you can benefit from a credit advance while avoiding the fees involved by having an established credit balance.

Why Do Fleets Need A Fuel Card Instead Of Credit Card?

Even with all the advantages, credit cards are not the most suitable option for fleet managers and drivers. Unlike credit cards, fuel cards offer a wide range of benefits specifically catering to fleets’ needs of controlling fuel expenses. Here are the benefits that fuel cards offer over credit cards: 

  • Controlled Spending – With the help of fuel cards, you can decide to control your transactions. Your invoices will neither be divided nor dissolved. However, with credit cards, there is no limit to spendinging as they offer you credit to a huge extent. You are likely to fall into the debt trap by overspending. 
  • Drivers Do Not Need To Pay – Additionally, fuel cards give drivers more comfort. Drivers are not required to pay for fuel out of their wallets, manage receipts, or request compensation. Furthermore, not having to carry cash can make drivers feel more stable.
  • IFTA Calculation – A fuel card provides much more information than a credit card, including the transaction price, owner name, date, and time of each payment. When a driver swipes the card, he or she will be urged to enter additional information such as meter readings and a driver ID (PIN). Access to fleet consumption data, receipts, and fuel costs will reduce your accounting and bookkeeping costs while also saving you time when submitting IFTA taxes.
  • Special Fuel Discounts – More than 90% of the country’s gas stations accept fuel cards. Most of them offer aggressive discounts and cashback plans, such as 2 to 20 cents off per gallon. In addition, many fuel cards have cheap to no transaction fees.
  • Fraud Protection – The best route to buy fuel is with a fuel card. At the point of sale, fuel cards use an operator ID/PIN, giving consumers additional security. Account information is only accessible to fleet executives, who can disable lost or stolen cards instantly.
  • Avoid Unauthorized Fuel Transactions – You can also restrict the number of charges per day, the routine purchase quantity, and even the quantity of gallons the driver can purchase per payment to prevent fuel card fraud daily. Try to obtain a fuel card that restricts the driver to only using a particular fuel, such as diesel.

We hope that this blog has enriched your knowledge on fuel cards and credit cards along with understanding why fuel cards can be more advantageous for you while purchasing fuel. A wise decision cannot only help you save money on fuel but also provide you with several other benefits. 

Preventative Maintenance for Semi-Trucks – A Comprehensive Guide For Fleet Managers

The fleet is the backbone of the transportation industry. Fleets vary in size and can be a small or big fleet. . However, any fleet with less than 50 vehicles is considered a small fleet, and anything more than that is considered large. Small or big, every vehicle needs to be maintained to ensure performance and get the maximum output. The truck and the driver form a cohesive team of man and machine. Hence it is necessary to have preventative maintenance carried out regularly to ensure the longevity of the trucks.

What is a Semi-truck?

A Semi-truck is a combination of a tractor (truck powered by an engine) that is attached to a trailer. The attachment is made with a fifth wheel called a hitch, a coupling device to haul or drag heavy cargo. The entire tractor-trailer unit is also known as the rig.

It is known as a semi-truck because the trailer, has no front wheels and is towed by a truck or tractor. The front of the trailer rests on the back of the truck or tractor. Semi-trucks are also known as 

  1.  Big Rig
  2. 18-Wheeler
  3. Semi-Tractor Trailer
  4. Semi-Trailer Truck
  5. Tractor-Trailer

Semi-trucks have two categories, sleeper and day cab. The sleeper has a bed in the back of the truck that is used, for long-haul trucking. The day cab is a truck without a sleeping area. Like all trucks, you have to do preventative maintenance for semi-trucks to ensure smooth long-term operations.

What is Preventative Maintenance?

Just as you go for annual medical check-ups to ensure that your body is functioning well, automobiles also require such check-ups to monitor their functioning more frequently. Trucks undergo the rigors of traveling on the most difficult terrains and climatic conditions. Hence, every truck in the fleet must be in top operating condition before each trip.

Preventative maintenance is regular vehicle maintenance or any assets to ensure proper functioning. This would prevent downtime resulting in losses and prove costly to the operator. 

What are the benefits of Preventative Maintenance?

Well-maintained vehicles form the pillars of any fleet. Frequent checks and maintenance reduce the operational hurdles, saving money and time and resulting in profitability. The benefits of Preventative Maintenance are manifold. Listed herewith are some of the benefits that will accrue:

1. Lower Downtime: Downtime is essential for any maintenance activity. Scheduled maintenance will reduce your downtime. A well-planned and scheduled vehicle maintenance will lower the possibility of breakdowns, resulting in the trucks being on roads more than in workshops. With the cost of capital continuously rising, lower downtime will save your money and benefit everyone.

 2. Increase in Overall Efficiency: Effective maintenance schedules will maximize the utility and output of the vehicles. An effectual fleet management system will go a long way in the performance of your fleet and increase truck drivers’ confidence.

 3. Truck & Driver Safety: Preventative maintenance helps guarantee the safety of your vehicles. Poor maintenance will put your trucks and drivers at risk. The damages will not only be confined to the goods but may also result in impairing injuries or fatalities of the drivers.

4. Increase in Fuel Efficiency: Trucks guzzle gallons of fuel, and preventative maintenance is one way to ensure fuel efficiency. With fluctuating global fuel prices, small savings will be a financial life saver for your vehicles. A tight vehicle maintenance schedule can help you achieve this goal.

 5. Cost of Replacement savings: Big fleets face constant breakdowns. It is always better to be prepared upfront and prevent breakdowns, as the cost of on-road repairs is very high. Moreover, some parts may not be available at the place where your truck might break down. Sometimes, the replacement cost is so high that you may find it difficult to bear. A preventative maintenance plan will help you tide over these unexpected situations.

What are the different types of Preventative Maintenance?

There are different types of preventative maintenance practiced. However, many find it hard to understand which method best suits them.

 Following four types of preventative maintenance are followed.

1. Time-based Maintenance: Also called calendar-based maintenance, it is done at periodic intervals. It’s a simple and commonly used maintenance, whereby vehicles undergo regular inspections. It’s preferred because it is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other types of vehicle maintenance.

 2. Meter-based Maintenance: It is also known as performance-based maintenance. This maintenance would include an engine oil change after a specific number of miles is covered.

3. Failure-finding Maintenance: This maintenance involves only finding a fault or defects in the truck. The objective is to find out if there is an existing problem and address it to prevent it from compounding in the future. It does not involve any replacement of parts. For example: Generating smoke near a vehicle to trigger its smoke alarm. In case of failure, the smoke alarm needs to be changed. 

4. Predictive Maintenance: Predictive maintenance is neither done periodically nor as a reaction to any malfunction in the truck. This technology-driven vehicle maintenance works on an algorithmic prediction. Due to this early detection, your vehicles can address any problems before they occur, resulting in cost savings for your organization.

What is a Preventative Maintenance Checklist?

A preventative maintenance checklist is a systematic program for vehicle maintenance and should be an integral part of your fleet management system. There is no defined checklist in the trucking industry. Every company has its own set of maintenance checklists suitable to the type of vehicles they own. However, as per industry standards, the following points listed herewith form a part of almost every preventative maintenance checklist.

  1. Engine
  2. Under the Hood, Fluid levels
  3. Chassis
  4. Brakes
  5. Driveability checks
  6. Emergency equipment

How to Create a Preventative Maintenance Checklist?

1. Your preventative maintenance checklist needs to be concise and not try to focus on too many things at a time.

2. A comprehensive checklist will keep the preventative maintenance process in check and control.

3. To be most effective, you need to have a list of each part that includes even the tiniest nuts and bolts integrated into your preventative maintenance checklist.

4. It is also necessary for you to have the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) manuals wherever possible. It will ensure that you are not missing out on anything important.

5. You need to check historical records of your fleet and factor instances of using non-original parts, apart from those mentioned in the OEMs. In case of such exceptions, your preventative maintenance checklist should have provisions for recording the same.

List of Activities in a Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Semi-Trucks

There is a wide range of activities that form a part of the preventative maintenance checklist for semi-trucks. Following are some tips that can be included in your list to help the fleet function more effectively and efficiently.

1. Make a Fleet Inventory

Firstly, the Preventative maintenance checklist should include details of the vehicles. You should note the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), brand and model, year of acquisition, and current mileage of each truck. You need to ensure that every semi-truck should have this checklist in its cabin. The activities should be separated, depending on their frequencies. There have to be separate checklists for Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Half-yearly, and Annual activities.

2. Engine

The engine is the heart of every automobile and needs the utmost attention. You need to take special care to ensure it is in good condition. Following inspections are required while checking the engine for preventative maintenance for semi-trucks.

  •  Check engine for oil, fuel, and coolant leakages
  •  Check power steering level
  •  Check radiator mounting for cracks or looseness
  •  Check A/c condenser mounting for cracks
  •  Test antifreeze protection
  •  Inspect coolant hoses and test the cooling system
  •  Inspect coolant recovery and pressure test radiator cap
  •  Check engine wire seals and connectors for damage

3. Check Fluid Levels Regularly

Fluids are essential for vehicle maintenance. You must check all fluids, including engine oil, brake oil, coolant or antifreeze, and power steering. Verifying the levels of these fluids does not take a long time. The fleet manager must ensure these requirements have been adhered to. In this way, any visible leakages between checks can be arrested immediately and fixed.

4. Changing Fluids

Changing fluids is critical to your vehicle maintenance. The frequency of changing fluids depends on the distance driven and the weight of the load carried by the truck. You need to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing fluids. You should specifically instruct the truck drivers not to compromise on the quality or brand of fluids in case of a top-up requirement during the journey.

5. Check Air Filters

The air filter is an integral part of vehicle maintenance. The air filter protects your engine and oil from outside particles and pollutants that contaminate and damage the engine eventually. As the air filter gets clogged, it will reduce the amount of air getting into your engine and impact its performance. Changing the air filter would depend on the type of routes your truck takes. If you drive in less polluted cities, the air filter needs a change after 20000 miles. In case of dusty roads, you need to change it between 10000 to 15000 miles.

6. Inspect Brakes

The most critical part of any vehicle maintenance is brake inspection. Brakes are life savers and have to be in the best condition. The brakes face the maximum brunt, and they are most likely to wear out or damage fast. You need to constantly monitor the brakes of all the vehicles and replace them immediately on the first signs of wear. Take your truck to the workshop if the brake pad linings are not compliant with the minimum width set by the FMSCA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Brakes are of two types Air brakes & Hydraulic brakes. You need to consider the following points while checking brakes:

Commercial Vehicle Maintenance Checklist - A Complete Guide
Source: doForms

 Air Brake Inspection

  • Inspect air lines and front brake chambers
  • Inspect front brake lining/pad condition and thickness
  •  Inspect front brake drum/rotor condition
  •  Perform ABS (Anti-lock brake) self-test

Hydraulic Brake Inspection

  • Inspect master cylinder and fluid condition
  • Inspect both front & rear brakes and lines
  • Inspect front brake lining/pad condition and thickness
  • Inspect all valves, hydraulic lines, hoses, and fittings for leaks

7. Tires

Tires need frequent inspection as they are prone to wear out soon. You have to look for bulges, uneven wear, cuts, abrasions, and cuts on the tread area and the sides of the tires. You need to check the tread depth by using the tread depth gauge on each tire. You should ensure that the tires are compliant with the minimum tread depth permitted by federal regulations. You need to do the following inspections of tires as a part of preventative maintenance.

  • Inspect for sidewall damage and cuts
  •  Inspect for irregular wear-out patterns
  • Check wheel bearings and lube cap
  •  Check and record the tire pressure
  •  Check for loose lug nuts
  •  Inspect for damaged or cracked wheels
  • Check and record tread design
  • Check wheel bearings and axle flange seals for leakages

8. Electricals

Electricals are very important in preventative maintenance activity. You need to check whether the headlights, flashers, turn signals, and brake lights on the truck and trailer are in perfect condition. Check if there are any cracks or holes in the lens. Check whether the all-around wiring in the truck has no cuts or abrasions. Additionally, check the batteries for loose connections or corrosion, and replace them immediately for any leakage.

9. In-Cab Inspection

Cab inspections are vital, as it is here that the drivers of the semi-trucks spend most of their time. The cabin must be comfortable and conducive for long trips. You need to consider the following points while performing preventative maintenance:

  • Check ignition key and start button
  • Check seat belts, seat suspension, and overall condition
  • Check dash lights and gauge illumination
  • Check dash gauges
  • Check horn operation
  • Check defroster and A/c heater controls
  • Check clutch pedals
  • Check steering operation
  • Check parking brake operation
  • Check wiper blades
  • Check mirror & brackets
  • Check window glass and operation
  • Check and lube doors

10. Apart from these, there are some checks that you need to perform based on hours spent on the road. The following table gives a break-up of the points that need to be a part of preventative maintenance for semi-trucks:

Sr NoHours Spent on RoadActivity
1For every 250 to 500 hoursBasic engine checks include the following oil ChangeOil filter change engine air filters change fuel filters change
2For every 1000 to 1200 hoursChange cabin air filters replace coolant filter (if required)Inspect air dryer (if required)
3For every 4800 to 5000 hoursHydraulic oils – Change or fill if required hydraulic filters – Replace at 80%Inspect pins and bushings for play or if they have worn outCheck radiator check hydraulic tank

11. Advanced technology has made the preventative maintenance process digital. A comprehensive fleet management system can streamline the entire process. Installing such a system in the vehicle will have manifold benefits mentioned herewith.

  • A GPS tracking solution can track driver routes, locations, and distances.
  • These fleet tracking solutions will send customized service alerts to the fleet manager. The configuration of these alerts can either be on distance traveled or any other criteria.
  • DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) track problems detected by a computer onboard the vehicle and can be generated in no time. It will help in alerting the fleet manager of any critical issues faced.
  • Hardwired GPS trackers in the truck engines help managers schedule maintenance based on mileage. The fleet management system also assists the drivers and managers decode the DTC code and understanding vehicle trouble.
  • All the preventative maintenance checks can be logged and documented in the software and retrieved whenever needed.
  • An exhaustive, preventative maintenance schedule for semi-trucking can help you automate the entire system and keep your vehicles and drivers in the best condition for the roads.

A good GPS tracker will benefit fleets in the long run. Matrack offers the best range of GPS trackers. MA-Hardwire is one such tested device that is tamper-proof and designed for Fleets management. With its compact design and direct battery connection, this real-time tracker will be a boon to your business..

Conclusion

A preventative maintenance checklist for semi-trucks will help keep your vehicles in good condition and avoid costly repairs and downtime. It is a mandatory requirement. The FMSCA requires at least one annual period of maintenance inspection. A good preventative maintenance policy will go a long way and benefit fleet managers, truck drivers, and the management in the long run.

Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist for Class A CDL – A Complete Guide

The Commercial Motor Safety Act of 1986 in the USA has laid guidelines that need to be followed for the minimum required criteria for a state to issue a CDL-Commercial Driver’s License. All inspections of CMVs (Commercial Motor Vehicles) in the USA are done, by the DOT (Department of Transportation)

Pre-trip inspection

It is an inspection done on CMVs before undertaking any trip. CMVs operate under testing terrains and varying climatic conditions. It is imperative for every CMV in a fleet that is on an arduous journey to be in the best operating condition. Operating vehicles on such a large scale does involve a lot of complications. The truck and the truck driver are at constant risk during any journey. The only way to mitigate any potential disaster is to ensure the fitness of the fleet and the driver. A pre-trip inspection is done to ensure that the CMV complies with the regulations in all respects for that long journey.

CDL (Commercial Driving Licenses) Categories

There are three categories of CDLs (Commercial Driving Licenses) Class A, Class B, and Class C. Each class or program has features that distinguish it from the other.

Class A CDL

Holding a Class, A CDL enables the driver to operate both vehicles & trailers. Vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) greater than 26,000 pounds or more, given that the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the hauled vehicle or the trailer is more than 10,000 pounds. Vehicles driven with a Class A CDL are as follows:

  1. Tractor-trailer or semi, big rig or 18-wheeler
  2. Truck and trailer combinations with double and triple trailers
  3. Flatbed vehicles
  4. Tanker vehicles
  5. Livestock carriers

Note that a Class A CDL holder can also operate Class B and C vehicles.

Pre-trip Inspection For Class A CDL

The CDL Inspections are prescribed by the DOT and governed by DOT regulations. You need to remember all the pre-trip inspection items before appearing for a CDL examination.

This pre-trip inspection checklist for a Class A CDL gives an overview of how to perform an inspection.

Points to remember:

  1. A comprehensive DOT pre-trip inspection checklist clears all safety or mechanical issues and ensures a smooth over-the-road experience.
  2. An inspection should take its own time to ensure vehicles are safe to be driven and adhere to all prescribed safety standards. The DOT inspection does not take long if everything is in order. The average time taken is around 30 minutes.
  3. All the CMV operators and drivers are required to follow the DOT pre-trip inspection to ensure safe operations.
  4. Your DOT inspection determines whether you are compliant with the DOT regulations. DOT audits review the checklist for pre-trip inspection to ensure compliance.
  5. Any violations found will lead to fines and impact your Compliance, Safety, and Accountability score.
  6. The Electronic Logging Devices(ELDs) installed should be in working condition.

Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist – Class A CDL

There are various versions of Class A CDL Pre-trip inspection checklists available. However, the pre-trip inspection varies with each company. This article lists the common and critical points followed by most companies in the Class A CDL- the Pre-trip inspection checklist.

Engine Compartment

  • You have to check the engine compartment for all kinds of leaks. You also need to ensure that none of the components are bent, cracked, or broken and that they are well mounted and secured.
  • You need to check all hoses and ensure no splits or cuts. Check hoses for leaks. You also need to ensure that all clamps are tight.
  • You have to ensure that all the fluid levels like the oil levels, coolant, and power steering fluid are adequate.
  • Check under the truck and trailer for oil puddles and have the leakage identified and fixed.
  • All parts of the steering system, front suspension system, and the front brakes system must be mounted properly without any damage.
  • You must ensure that the truck has properly inflated tires, the rim isn’t bent or cracked, and the axle seals are secured.
  • Ensure that the alternator is mounted securely with tight bolts. Ensure that there are no leakages. A damaged alternator seal can leak oil into the alternator. It can thereby impede the generation of power for electrical operations.

Front of truck

  • The steering box should be secure, and bolt tights without any leakages.
  • The steering box hoses should not be cut, pinched, or leaking. The fittings should be secured and not broken or cracked.
  • The steering linkage should be checked from steering box to wheel. It should not be bent, no cracks, bolts should be tight, cotter pins should be in place, and sockets not worn out or loose.
  • You must ensure that Springs and U-bolts are firm and not broken or rusted.
  • You must check whether the shock absorber is straight, bolts tight, and not leaking.
  • Tires must be 4/32” tread depth, with no cuts or bubbles on side walls.
  • Check the top of tires for even wear and flat spots, and check the pressure with a gauge.
  • The rim should not have any cracks, no rust, or aftermarket welding.

Coupling area

  • The coupling area is the connecting part of the truck and the trailer. You need to check whether the electrical lines and the air-lines are mounted and secure at both ends. There should be no abrasions, cuts, or audible leaks.
  • Airlines should be fixed at both ends without any abrasions, cuts, or bulges.
  • You must check whether the apron is mounted and secure, without bends, breaks, and cracks.
  • You must ensure that King Pin is mounted properly and securely. There should be no bends, breaks, or cracks.
  • You must check whether the Locking Jaws is locked fully around the kingpin.
  • Ensure the platform is mounted and tight, without bends, breaks, or cracks.
  • You must check the skid plate of the fifth wheel and the apron of the trailer and ensure that nothing is bent, cracked, or broken. Also, ensure that you have the fifth wheel greased.
  • There needs to be a proper clearance space between the tractor mudflap and the trailer landing gear so that they don’t run into each other while taking a turn.

Driver door fuel area

  • In the case of Airbags, you must check for cuts, abrasions, leaks, bulges, and missing bolts.
  • The Axle seal should not leak and be filled, as per specification.
  • You must ensure that the Brake Hose and Brake Chamber are not leaking air.
  • For the safety of the truck driver, the catwalk and steps should be mounted and clear of loose objects.
  • The door and hinges should open, close, and latch properly. The door seals should not be torn or rotten.
  • The Frame and Cross Members should not have any unauthorized holes or welds. The cross-member joint gives rigidity and forms the backbone of the truck trailer. They are subject to wear, weather, weight, and age. You must ensure their frequent monitoring.
  • The fuel tank should not be leaking, and the cap should always be tight.
  • Mirrors should be clean and for good visibility.

Side of truck

  • You need to ensure that door hinges are secure and bolts tight.
  • Handles are working without any damage.
  • The door opens and closes properly.
  • Mirrors are securely mounted, without any damage to the brackets.
  • The mirror is clean and not broken.

Rear of truck

  • The ramps cannot have cracks or be bent. They have to be firm and secured.
  • The mudflaps should not be torn and be secured.
  • The exhaust system must not have any signs of leaks or black soot layers around the clamps.
  • Lights and reflectors should be clean, in the proper color, and functioning well.
  • You need to attach DOT-recommended retroreflective sheeting in a pattern of alternating white and red color segments to the rear of each trailer. These need to be affixed in the locations specified by DOT.

Lights and reflectors

  • Walk around the truck and trailer after turning on low beams and running lights to ensure all are in working order, including the license plate light.
  • Signal both right and left directions and walk around the truck and trailer to confirm Turn Signals are in working order.
  • You must turn on the Hazard lamps 4-way flashers and walk around the truck and trailer to confirm that all are in working order.
  • Ask the examiner to check the brake lights. Watch for confirmation in the side mirror that they are in working condition.

In-cab Inspection

  • Ensure that you secure a fully charged 10 lbs ABC fire extinguisher in the truck.
  • Replacement fuses-Unless your truck is equipped with circuit breakers, you need to ensure that there is at least one replacement fuse for every fuse in the truck.
  • Seat / Safety belts – Safety belts should be secured and not cut, frayed or broken. You should ensure that they should adjust and latch properly.
  • Red reflective triangles – These warning triangles to warn other vehicles in case of a breakdown situation should always be present in the truck.
  • Heater/defroster and blower – You should ensure that they are in proper working condition.
  • Windshield – Has to be secure and not cracked or broken. No more than 1” crack is permitted. Clean and free of debris.
  • Wiper arms – Have to be secure and not cracked or broken.
  • Wiper blades – Not excessively worn out and in contact with the windshield.
  • Mirrors – Secure, not cracked or broken. They should give a clear view without any obstructions.
  • Steering wheel – Secured to the steering column. Not damaged in any way. No more than 10 degrees or 2” of free play in a 20” steering wheel.
  • Foot pedals – They should be oil, grease, and debris free. They should be properly grooved. Clutch must have 1” – 2” of free play and travel to the floor without any obstruction.
  • Doors and door latches – Not excessively worn and latches properly. They should be secure and not bent or broken.
  • Door seal – Does not leak, not bent, broken, cut, cracked, and is secure.
  • Horns (city and air) Demonstrate that they are working properly.

Brake Check

  • Hydraulic brake check – To check the brake, you must pump the brake pedal three times. Subsequently, apply firm pressure to the pedal and hold for five seconds. If the pedal moves, there may be a leak or some other issue.
  • Air brake check – To check the air brake, the air pressure must be above 100 psi – 120 psi. Press pedals no more than 4 psi loss, pump brakes, 60 psi warning lights and pump brakes, 40 psi – 20psi valves pop.
  • Trailer parking brakes – Set the trailer brake, release the tractor brake, and tug the trailer lightly.
  • Tractor parking brakes – Set the tractor brake, release the trailer brake, and tug the tractor lightly.
  • Service brake – Release both tractor and trailer brakes. Drive at 3-5 mph, apply the foot brake without touching the steering wheel and make sure you come to a complete stop. If it pulls to either one side or the other, it would indicate a brake adjustment, tire, or suspension problem and would need service.

Conclusion

Pre-trip inspections are not any mundane activity done casually. These inspections are vital to the health of the fleet and the truck drivers. Moreover, these inspections have to be conducted as prescribed by federal laws. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made it mandatory for pre-trip inspections before each haul.

The procedure of conducting the Pre-trip inspections has improved over the years. ELDs have become an integral part of these inspections. In the space of ELD service providers, one brand that stands out is Matrack ELDs. The ELDs are low on cost and monthly subscriptions. Matrack provides the best customer support and is the most reliable brand in the ELD market. Also, drivers need to file a DVIR for pre-and post-trip inspections. Matrack Fleet Management Solution, along with ELD helps in the filing of the report within minutes, making the process faster and more efficient. 

The introduction of technology and applications have digitized the process of pre-trip inspections. It is easy to get many customized reports depending on your business model. The data is cloud-based and accessed from just about anywhere.

With the trucking industry adopting technology in all spheres, the pre-trip inspections are only going to get better and more beneficial for all concerned.

Everything You Need To Know About Hot Shot Trucking in 2022

Did you know that truck drivers play a dominant role in the supply chain of goods? They use their driving experience to transport products from one location to another. A hot shot trucker is an expert who makes rapid shipments for companies with strict deadlines. Knowing more about hot truckers can help you decide if this is a career path you want to take. 

Despite continuously growing market share in recent years, hot shot trucking remains a comparatively small section of the cumulative transportation industry. It arose from the requirement for shippers to move freight speedily, cost-effectively, and with more inconvenience and planning than was traditionally the case with the industry’s major powers. Compared to the truckload and LTL sectors, it largely dominates the single-truck contractors and small fleet operators. Minimum wages and poor living conditions with driving company trucks have become too much for these operators.

In this article, we’ll look at what hot shot truckers are, what they do, the different types of trucks they operate, and how to find hot shot trucking opportunities.

What Is Hot Shot Trucking?

Hot shot trucking is a category of truck driving service that entails distributing smaller packages to one place on short notice. The essentials for an effective hotshot delivery will differ depending on whether the driver must commute a short distance or across the country. Companies frequently hire hot shot truckers if they have a tight deadline and need delivery as quickly as possible. 

Hot shot truckers specialize in loads of urgent demand, generally for instances in which the inability to transport goods within a certain period could result in difficulties within the organization. The title “hot shot” originated in the Texas oil fields of the 1970s, when pickup trucks delivered critical parts to excavation operations as rapidly as feasible. It is gaining traction as a viable option in contrast to traditional commercial truck driving.

How Do Hot Shot Truckers Work?

Since hot shot truckers generally don’t make big deliveries, they use utility trailers- and they work hot shot deliveries on a request basis, which means several of them freelance with their vehicles and find opportunities on their own. While some hot shot truckers work for a specific contractor or trucking corporation, these jobs are often filled by whoever is accessible. Several truck drivers undertake these time-critical jobs to provide a favorable opportunity to offer decent wages.

Hotshot truckers enroll their commercial vehicles to comply with legislation and avert fines. Since many hot shot truckers operate as sole proprietors, they must keep track of their business records, including monitoring their timeframe between consignments, recording the distance they traveled for the shipment, and assessing the accurate weight of their gains. Though states have different laws for transporting objects across interstate highways, the mass of a haul is crucial. Hotshot truckers are well-versed in the legal aspects and demands placed by agencies for them to deliver their loads.

The Types Of Trucks Used For Hot Shot Hauls

Hot shot trucking does not have many specifications. A hot shot trucker can operate several trucks, the most common of which are one-ton delivery trucks labeled as “medium-duty” by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). They are categorized as non-vehicles, but you can utilize them for hot shot haulage if you can operate authority, a USDOT number (if hauling across state lines), liability coverage, and evidence of business ownership.

Class 3, 4, and 5 hotshot trucks are the most common.

Class 3 

The maximum weight for Class 3 medium-duty trucks is 14,001 to 16,000 pounds. The most popular ones are the Chevrolet Silverado 3500, GMC Sierra 3500, Ford F-350, and Ram 3500.

Simply put, these are your standard consumer-grade heavy-duty pickup trucks. Contractors and last-mile shipment drivers frequently use them. They can be beneficial for hot shot logistics too. 

Class 4 

The weight limit for Class 4 medium-duty trucks is 16,001 to 19,500 pounds. Common examples include the Chevrolet Silverado 4500, Ford F-450, and Ram 4500. Although these are larger trucks, they categorize as non-commercial. If you intend to haul huge hot shot shipments, you should consider purchasing a Class 4 pickup truck. 

Class 5 

The weight limit for Class 5 medium-duty trucks is 19,501 to 26,000 pounds. The Chevrolet Silverado 5500, Ford F-550, and Ram 5500 are renowned models. Class 5 also includes some of the swiftest commercial trucks.

The Types Of Trailers Used For Hot Shot Hauls

Purchasing a trailer is a significant investment. The type you select depends on the truck you plan to use and the different kinds of loads you aim to transport.

Bumper Pull Trailers 

When compared to other options, they are considerably shorter, easier to use, and less costly to purchase. Because of their adaptability, they are a popular pick for commercial and civilian drivers. Regrettably, the trailer’s size may work against you when using it. They cannot haul large or heavy loads because they are shorter. The highest mass you can carry on a bumper pull trailer is no more than 10,000 pounds. When used to transport bulkier materials, they sway and become unsteady.

Gooseneck Hauling Trailers 

Because of their reliability, gooseneck trailers are prominent. Compared to bumper pull trailers, RGN trailers are longer and have tighter maneuverability. As a result, they are used to shipping larger and bulkier hot shot loads over new terrain. However, Gooseneck trailers are expensive to buy and may necessitate additional investment in specialized hitching structures. Based on the state of operation, operating these trailers may be restrained. Longer gooseneck trailers may entail additional training, licensing, and authorizations, which will incur additional costs. 

Lowboy Hauling Trailers 

The lowboy trailer has a low center of gravity and is ideal for carrying bulkier hot shot luggage. These trailers will rest flat on the surface once separated from the truck, making loading and unloading easier. You can avoid some size restrictions with lowboy trailers when shipping tall loads. These trailers, however, have a smaller deck area. Hence, they can haul greater loads but cannot transmit many loads together.

Dovetail Shipping Trailers 

They are ideal for transporting motorized hardware, including cars. Dovetail trailers are well known for being affordable and easy to resell when no longer needed. Nonetheless, these trailers usually hang low on the trailer’s rear, making it tough to transport cargo up a sharp incline without dragging them. Furthermore, the slow hanging tail at the end increases the chances of being rear-ended.

Step Deck Shipping Trailers 

Step-deck trailers are easily tiltable, giving them a loading benefit. While tilt deck trailers eliminate heavy lifting during loading, they require heavy maintenance. That is because they use hydraulic systems, which require standard oil and filter changes to function efficiently.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hot Shot Trucking

Hot shot trucking can indeed be profitable. Even if you have a regular job, it can be an excellent side gig if you have the correct equipment. However, it is not suitable for everyone. Hotshot- like other aspects of the trucking industry, has advantages and disadvantages as a career and a way of life.

Advantages

High Wages 

Hot shot trucking positions are expensive because of urgent and time-sensitive tasks given. Hot shot truckers can make more money compared to a regular trucking job. If you’re a hot shot trucker managing your work deadlines well and living in a suitable area, you may reap more benefits than others.

Low Maintenance 

Hot shot truckers frequently have lower maintenance needs. Their equipment demands less company-mandated service because they utilize their trucks and transit hauls with utility trailers. Hot shot truckers may be able to fix their equipment if something goes wrong. Lower maintenance requirements may also mean that hot shot truckers can save more money.

Balance In Their Work And Personal Lives 

Many hotshot trucker jobs are limited to a specific area or region. As a result, they may not have to travel as far to perform a task. They may be able to spend more time at home and enjoy their individual lives. It may also give them the freedom to decide when they want to work.

Visibility

Occasionally, operators cannot effectively monitor their freight’s transit progress and touchpoints when sharing the trailer space of a bigger trailer. It can result in costly delays when receivers aren’t prepared for a shipment’s arrival or falter when shipments arrive late. Sharing trailer space with other shippers can frequently impede load-tracking functionality, making visibility an essential cog in a smooth supply chain. Hot shot trucking eliminates these obstacles because each delivery has a specialized truck, trailer, and driver who are encouraged to provide the best service possible to the shipper.

Disadvantages 

Opposition

The majority of hotshot trucking jobs fill on an early bird basis. As a result, there may be some competition among truckers vying for a specific placement. A well-paying job that’s close to their place of residence is especially attractive.

Lesser Benefits 

Hotshot truckers typically freelance and thus do not operate for a particular corporation. As a result, a hot shot driver may not have direct connections to the employee benefits and protections as a regular trucker. Many hotshot truckers manage their income to take deductions and pay the correct amount in taxes. 

Irregular Work 

Because hot shot trucking jobs are available on an as-needed basis, they can be unpredictable. A hot shot trucker may plan their job schedule to guarantee they receive adequate jobs to meet their financial goal. The demand for hot trucking jobs can be cyclical, which means there are more open jobs at certain times of the year.

Freight Limitation 

Hotshot trailers can legally load only 16,500 pounds of cargo on their deck and are only 40 feet long. As a result, hot shot trailers will not be a viable option for shippers who require more potential than these limits allow. The problem aggravates because the drivers of these trailers – and many others – do not want to put unnecessary strain on their equipment by exceeding their capacities. As a result, finding a hot shot driver inclined to haul 16,500 pounds of freight can be challenging at times.

Average Salary Of Hot Shot Truckers 

Hot shot drivers earn around $100,000 yearly, but that’s on the higher end. Ask hot shot truckers how much they make, and you will get many responses. However, the average annual owner-operator income for hotshot truck drivers ranges between $49,000 and $75,000.

The amount you can earn as a hot shot trucker depends on several factors, including:

  • How much time do you devote to hotshot trucking
  • The hauling equipment you’re using
  • The geographical area in which you operate
  • The number of available loads The types of loads you transport
  • Your years of experience
  • Fuel costs
  • Your prices
  • Your expenses

How To Find Hot Shot Trucking Jobs And Loads Easily?

To help you find hot shot trucking jobs, follow these three steps:

  1. Explore Load Boards – Load boards are primarily discussion boards for transportation and logistics professionals and are the most explored ways to find hotshot trucking jobs. Companies post hot shot trucking tasks on these bulletin boards for truckers hoping for a quick load to deliver. These job boards enable them to find work often and with little difficulty. Because there are so many load boards online, it can be beneficial to oversee several of them to maximize your chances of landing a hot shot trucking job.
  2. Consulting Your Supervisor – If you are a truck driver for a legitimate transportation company, discuss hot shot trucking opportunities with your supervisor. They may be affiliated with industry experts or receive information about hot shot trucking jobs from other organizations.
  3. Join The RSS Feed – You can remain updated about hot trucking jobs by subscribing to the Simple Syndication (RSS) feed. An RSS feed is a program that offers users updates and notifications on their phones whenever a website adds new posts. If the load boards you use have an RSS feed feature, you can integrate their RSS feed code to an RSS feed app on a smartphone, which will notify you when a company creates a new hot shot trucking job on a load board.

We hope you’ve gained considerable knowledge on hot shot trucking and how they function. Hot shot trucking may be tricky once you start, but it is a great option to consider. 

Best Fuel Cards For Small Business In 2022

Running a small business means you are responsible for almost everything, from maintaining cash flow, completing administrative tasks, and ensuring continuity of the service. Among them, the most difficult one is to control expenses. It is easy for the cost to increase and make business owners busy finding ways to control it. 

If your small business includes more than one vehicle and often purchases fuel to run services, please give your attention here. 

In a fleet, a large chunk of a fleet budget goes to fuel bills, and you need to control this expense to manage your expenditure. 

A fuel card is one of the best ways to get cash back or rebates on fuel purchases and lower fuel expenses. It provides you with a flexible and safe way to pay fuel bills. Additionally, it also helps you to get discounts on vehicle-related charges. 

What Are Fuel Cards?

Fuel cards are similar to credit cards, but you can use them for fuel purchases. It is a card you can use to purchase gasoline, diesel, or other fuel at gas stations. It offers you discounts per gallon at the networking retailing partners.  

You can also use a fleet card to pay for vehicle maintenance and other related expenses. 

Types Of Fuel Cards For Small Businesses

You can find three different types of fuel cards:

  • Branded fuel cards are issued by the fuel companies directly.
  • Universal fuel cards are not limited to specific fuel providers. You can use them in different locations. 
  • Fuel merchant partners come along with fuel companies to offer merchant fuel cards. 

Business Card V/s Fuel Card- Which One Is Better For A Small Business

Generally, new business owners can get confused about which is better for their business- A business credit card or a fuel card. 

Let us discuss the difference between them and find out which one you need. 

  • A business card allows small business owners to carry out their day-to-day expenses. It helps them to get valuable rewards and organize their finances. 
  • On the other hand, a fleet card is a payment card that you can use to get rebates on gasoline, diesel, or any other fuels at networking stations. It also allows you to get discounts on other vehicle-related expenses. 

Fuel cards are the best way to save fuel expenses and shares major parts of operating cost for any fleet. You need a fleet card if your business depends on two or more vehicles to carry out operations. 

Similarly, business cards allow you to get rewards on payments. It can be anything and not restricted to one kind. So if your business does not purchase fuel frequently, a business credit card with no or minimum annual fees is good for you. 

Are you still confused about which one is better? Well, they both are indispensable parts of a business. So some of you may need both to meet different expenses of your fleet and get rewards. 

How To Find The Best Fuel Card?

Fuel cards come in different shapes and kinds. You have to consider your business’s unique needs to find out the best fuel card for you. 

Let us discuss some factors you can consider to sort the best option for you. 

Location

You should always check the location before buying any fuel card. Always choose the one that works in your operating region. Also, if you travel interstate, go with a widely accepted one. 

Price

Go with the fuel card that offers you- maximum savings on fuel purchases. So look for one with better discounts and rewards. 

But make sure to avoid cards with high maintenance or annual charges as then the whole purpose of the fuel card will get lost. 

Repayment Terms

Choose a fuel card that offers a flexible repayment option. Fuel card vendors like Matrack charge 0% interest on grace periods. 

Control

A fuel card that allows you better control over your card is always a good option. You can set a limit for each card to avoid fraud and restrict excess fuel purchases. 

Reporting and Tracking

Lastly, always look beyond fuel rebates. You have to save time from managing and calculating fuel purchases to make reports. 

Look for a fuel card that offers an advanced tool for reporting and tracking. You can generate reports in no time and have better insight into the fuel consumption in your fleet to make essential decisions. 

7 Best Fuel Cards For Small Businesses In 2022 

Matrack Fuel Card

A Matrack fuel card is the best way to save money on fuel purchases and control your fuel expenses. This card offers you considerable discounts and cashback on fuels. You can also use this card to get discounts on maintenance, lodging, and boarding, many more.

It is accepted by more than 230000 places, including fuel stations, truck stops, and convenience stores, so you can stop to refuel anywhere you want in the country. 

One of the best features of this card is that you will not have to incur any hidden fees. Also, you will get a flexible cash flow guarantee with 60 days of repayment. During this period, the company will not charge any interest. You can also claim a 1.5% discount for early payment.

You can also choose- a long repayment option without additional cost to get more time for repayment. 

The card allows you to have better control over the fuel purchases in your fleet. 

You can set spending limits to restrict drivers from purchasing excess fuel. All the transactions are listed online, so you don’t have to worry about collecting fuel recipes. You can view the comprehensive report and make better decisions. 

Some of the notable features of the Matrack fuel card are:

  • Purchase control
  • High spending limit
  • Economical and competitive fuel price
  • Interest-free grace period
  • Fraud alerts
  • Fuel tax refund
  • IFTA tax reports
  • And many more.

You can integrate the fuel card with the Matrack fleet management system to save up to 10 to 15% per year on fuel expenses. 

Visa Fleet Card

A Visa fleet card is another good option for small fleets to control their expenses on the road. It helps you to streamline your fleet management with accurate data. 

It provides you with better insight into your spending and imparts you data-driven insights so that you can make strategic decisions. When any of your drivers use this at a pump, it prompts driver ID and odometer reading. It allows you to view individual statistics and analyze how much one vehicle consumes. 

It also allows you to set spending and transaction limits, track purchases by vehicle or employee, ensure compliance, restrict cards for certain types of purchasing, etc. 

More than 236,000 fuel stations across the USA accept this card, so you can make a long-distance journey without worrying about fuel.  

Some of the notable benefits that come with this fleet card are:  

  • Emergency assistance services
  • Lost or stolen fuel card reporting
  • Emergency cash disbursement
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Cardholder inquiry service
  • Auto rental collision damage river

Shell Small Business Card

Another good option for small fleets is Shell Small Business cards. This card allows you to get fuel rebates of up to 6 cents per gallon at over 14000 Shell gas stations and participating jiffy lube locations

Shell Small Business card can get better control, convenience, saving, and security, along with fuel rebates.

You can set limits on what, when, and how much an employee can purchase. You can also access in-built detailed reports to monitor different aspects of the fuel activity in your fleet. You can suspend or terminate the card through mobile tools in an emergency. Another benefit of this card is that you get a 24/7 dedicated customer service team to resolve your query. 

The company does not charge you annual charges, activation fees, or hidden costs. You can claim up to nine assigned and four unassigned cards. 

Wex Flex Card

Wex Flex Card is one of the easiest and most flexible ways for small business to control their fuel expenses. Some highlights of this fuel card are:

  • It provides you a rebate of three cents per gallon of fuel purchases.  
  • It allows you to carry a monthly balance on your card.
  • There is no setup, annual or card fees, so you don’t have to pay extra for anything.

You can use this fuel card at over 45000 service locations and any vital gas station. You can download the WEX Connect app to find the nearest fuel station. You can filter fueling stations by price, brand, location, or distance. 

WEX fuel card provides better control over spending. You can restrict fuel purchases by hours of the day, days of the week, dollar per day week or transaction, and number of transactions in a given period.

The Wex flex card also helps you with accounting and report management. Hence you can focus on the revenue-generating activities of your business. You can get purchase activity reports, transaction summaries, financial summary tax exemption reports, etc. So you don’t have to chase down fuel receipts and spend hours making error-free reports. 

Also, if you need help or want to know more about any feature, you can reach their customer service team that will readily answer your queries as soon as possible. 

Fuelman Fuel Card

Get flexibility, freedom, and maximum control over your fleet by introducing a Fuelman fuel card. It is an ideal solution if you buy up to 1000 to 5000 gallons per month. You can use this card to get discounts on gas purchases, repair services, and other supplies on the Fuelman network. It includes 20,000 maintenance sites and 50,000 gas stations across the USA.

The Fuelman fuel card also prevents fraud and misuse on your feet by providing you with better control over your fuel purchases. It allows you to set purchasing limits on- when, who, and what your drivers can purchase. The drivers have to enter their identification numbers to access the card so you can get a clear insight into each employee. When the card detects any unauthorized activity, it will send you a real-time alert so that you can take action against it. 

One of the significant benefits of this fuel card is that 95% of all fuel stations in the USA plus 45000 service locations accept this fuel card. So you will never face any difficulty fueling up on your journey. 

The Fuelman fuel card also helps you with reporting and tracking. It allows you to view individual expenses by driver or vehicle to make strategic decisions. It also eliminates the chaos of collecting fuel receipts to generate accurate reports. You can get all the information at your fingers in the mobile application.

Speedway Superfleet Mastercard

Speedway Superfleet Mastercard is a fleet card that offers you free management benefits such as transaction reporting and purchase controls along with fuel rebates. This master card will help you to save money on fuel purchases and keep your vehicles running on the road freely. 

You can get volume-based rebates with this card and save up to 5 cents per gallon. You can use this card at 3000 speedway locations in the USA and 175000 fueling stations nationwide that accept Mastercard cards. So you will never run out of gas stations to fill your tank. 

Some of the notable advantages of this fuel card include:

  • Customize, detail reporting and billing 
  • Tax-exempt billing
  • Online and card-level security
  • Accurate Accounting 
  • Competitive pricing and quality products
  • Driver, vehicle, and odometer tracking

BP Business Solution Fuel Card

BP Business Solution Fuel Card is a convenient way to manage fuel expenses. It provides better control, security, and flexibility over fuel purchases in your fleet, along with rebates. 

It provides a volume-based rebate, so you can earn up to 6 cents per gallon if you purchase 10,000 gallons of fuel per month. You can use this card at BP or Amoco branded locations. 

It allows you to limit purchases by day, week, or month. You can also eliminate unnecessary spending with the card controls. You can access the account information reports of statements anytime you want. It also omits the chaos of collecting receipts for report management. 

You can also avoid fraud in your fleet and ensure better security with the help of this card. You can monitor after-hour purchases & daily transactions and deactivate lost stolen cards anytime. 

The only downside of this fuel card is that it charges $10 per month, but you can waive the monthly charges by purchasing more than 5,000 gallons per month. 

Final Words

If your business largely depends on vehicles or purchases several gallons of fuel every month, you need a fuel card. It can help you get better discounts or rewards on your fuel expenses. Additionally, it can allow you to restrict excess fuel purchases and fraud activity in your fleet. 

Dash Cam Guide – Read This Guide Before Getting A Dash Cam For Your Fleet!

The use of video dashcams has increased dramatically in recent years. The days of providing only low-resolution, narrow perspectives of the street in front of the vehicle are long gone. These tools combine broad views with crystal-clear imagery and artificial intelligence to monitor many aspects of driving.

While there are several kinds of dash cams, people with dual-dealing cameras can enjoy the features of advanced technology. These dash cams can track and recognize drowsy driving, fatigue, and distracted driving. Forward-best cameras capture what takes place in front of the vehicle, while dual-dealing with dash cams show what takes place in the cabin along with the street.

We’ll examine the advantages of dash cams for fleets, the multiple kinds available, and how to choose the best one for your fleet below!

What Are Dash Cams For Fleets, And Why Do You Need Them? 

Truck dash cams, also known as dash cameras, are small cameras that attach to the truck’s windscreen or rear-view mirror to protect the front and rear of the vehicle. They give truck drivers and fleet operators more authority over their fleet’s security by capturing video evidence of reckless driving, dangerous events, and accident context.

Dash cams have been the industry’s principal incident minimization tools for several years. They are an efficient and dependable method of protecting your fleet from fraudulent insurance claims. We can assist you in making the best decision for your fleet, whether you want to enforce an innovative dash cam program or want to optimize your current system. Because dash cam technology is constantly evolving, staying up to date on the various data processing and camera varieties accessible can help you build the system you need. When you supervise a fleet, security is of the utmost importance. It is also critical to ensure that your drivers control the vehicle safely.

“Tiredness and fatigue can affect your ability to focus long before you’re aware you’re getting tired. Fatigue-related crashes are frequently more severe because the driver’s reaction time and ability to maneuver to avoid or mitigate a crash are delayed,” said Jeff Maconaghy, President of Encompass Risk Solution. “

Dash cams can be beneficial in this situation. Dual-facing dash cams can utilize artificial intelligence to gather data like tiredness and inattentiveness, then instantly generate a notification in the cabin to notify the driver that they’re not focusing. In the meantime, fleet managers can monitor alerts and track driver behavior.

In the event of an accident, installing a dash cam is a great way to protect your company from false claims. According to research, passenger vehicles are to blame for nearly 80% of truck-and-passenger vehicle collisions.

Dash Cam Features You Should Keep In Mind

When it comes to dash cams, there are numerous options. Which is best for you and your fleet? Whatever option you choose, ensure that your cameras capture high-resolution footage that you can access at your convenience.

Before selecting the best dash cam for your fleet, consider the following features:

  • Storage – All of the fancy dash cam features will be useless if the documented footage is not accessible in the future. Micro SD cards or memory cards with preset storage limits or web dash cams that instantly share footage to the Cloud, minimizing the need for manual retrieval, are the two most popular storage options.
  • Real-Time HD Footage –  What good is all that video if you can’t view it for several hours from the incident? Your truck dash cam will notify you via email or mobile if an incident has occurred recently, thanks to its real-time video capabilities. You can obtain the recordings as soon as it happens by logging into the system. You can respond better to your situation and determine if and how much you need to be involved. If there is a court case, you can use the video (as evidence) to acquit your driver, saving you money on legal bills, time spent waging your lawsuit, and the emotional baggage that comes with a legal battle.
  • Internet Connection – WiFis and car-embedded network connections allow dash cam footage to upload to the Cloud easily.
  • Mounting – Suction cups or hardeners can mount dash cams on your vehicle. Adhesive attachments are a high-quality option that provides quick, simple, and secure installation.
  • 24/7 Safety – Fleet managers are concerned with the security of vehicles and cargo when drivers are not consciously driving. Leaving your truck unattended for a quick bite to eat or stop overnight is risky. The finest fleet camera systems will include anti-theft and damage warnings. When a predetermined event occurs, such as shattering glass or a door opening when it should not, the interior camera activates LED spotlights, and the exterior camera sounds like a caution beacon. You can keep thieves away with this feature.
  • Advanced GPS Monitoring – With GPS tracking built into your trucking camera systems, you can combine the strengths of real-time HG video with up-to-date location data. It’s effective not only in the event of an accident but also in several other situations. You rely on your drivers to arrive at their destinations on time. You can swiftly track your vehicle to confirm with the driver if something goes wrong. You’ll have the data for the trip history, which you can classify by day, week, or timeframe. When a client claims that your shipment was slow, you have solid evidence to back up those claims. Having a precise location for all your vehicles allows you to help enhance from a management standpoint because you can determine proper routes, work efficiency, and transit rounds.

Types Of Dash Cams That Your Fleet Needs 

Dash cams are available in several configurations, from lenses to mounts. As a result, it’s critical to understand which type will best meet the needs of your fleet. Here are the various dash cams and what they have to provide. 

Front-Facing Dash Cameras 

Front-facing dash cameras boost visibility for safety-conscious fleet managers by capturing advanced-quality video via a g-sensor of the path ahead. In less time than it requires to fill up a gas tank, the black box camera can be installed on the windshield, giving truckers and fleet operators immediate access to their operations. Front-facing dash cams use sensors to detect incidents and instantly upload footage to a dashboard- they can connect with Google Maps to provide fleet managers with multimedia and location history.

5 Best Dash Cam Front and Rear of 2022 - YouTube
Source : Howmuch tech

Location Of Mounting – Windshield.

Data Recorded – The path in front of the truck.

Dual-Facing Dash Cameras 

Dual-facing dash cams record inside and outside-facing recordings for a complete view of the street ahead and the truck (from the inside). The wide-angle lenses of this dash cam, designed to improve driver behavior, provide clear visibility of in-cab activity and the outdoor scenario. As a result, fleet managers can quickly identify dangerous or distracted driving. Later, distribute or share video footage with staff as a starting point for driver coaching. Are you concerned about driving at night? Take it easy. Specific dual-facing dash cams include an infrared LED for use in low-light conditions or on unlit roads.

TOGURDCAM Dual Dash Cam Front and Inside, CE41A Car Camera 1920x1080@30fps  for Taxi, Interior Driver Facing w/IR Night Vision, Cabin 2 Way Security  Parking Monitor Cameras, 1.5-inch display : Electronics
Source: TOGURDCAM

Location Of Mounting – Windshield. 

Data Recorded – The road ahead of the vehicle and the driver within the cabin.

Multi-Camera System 

Dash cams with multiple cameras offer a 360° view of every vehicle, safeguarding drivers and their CDLs. The drivers can learn what’s behind and alongside them, reducing blind-spot accidents and increasing clarity into vehicle interiors.

3rd-gen-multi Camera Dash Cam For Trucks. 2-4 Cam. Heavy Duty │ Falcon  Electronics — Falcon Electronics LLC
Source : Falcon Electronics

Location Of Mounting – Windshield. 

Data Recorded – A 360° vision of their surroundings. 

Exterior Dash Cameras 

Exterior cameras can be assembled on the vehicle’s exterior to acquire a 360° view of the truck and its surroundings. You can benefit from this feature when drivers are challenged with blind spots and have to make sudden movements or change lanes.

Thinkware Accessories - Exterior Rear Camera Dash Cam | Thinkware USA
Source : Thinkware

It can be difficult for a driver to see the big picture, especially when driving a large vehicle like a semi-truck or tractor-trailer. Exterior cameras record what drivers may miss, removing any doubt about accidents or property damage. Side cameras document an ultra-crisp view of items besides the vehicle. However, rear cameras capture other trucks or objects behind them that might go unnoticed in the rear mirror. License plates are readily absorbed by either camera, allowing in-accident identification of other vehicles.

Location Of Mounting – Outside the vehicle (usually on the side).

Data Recorded – The area in the vicinity of the vehicle. 

Interior Cameras 

Interior cameras record behavior within a vehicle to keep occupants safe and cargo secure. You can save the video and reduce vandalism and theft in public vehicles. Interior cameras in trucks and trailers can help reduce or eliminate cargo theft by observing all in-cabin activity. 

Aftermarket Supplier Offers New Interior/Exterior Dash Cam - RV News
Source: RV News

Location Of Mounting – Inside the vehicle (usually in the trailer).

Data Recorded – The area inside the truck (the driver and their behavior) is uploaded. 

Rear Dash Cameras 

These dash cameras capture footage of the street behind the vehicle. They’re excellent for recording objects when the driver is in reverse.

These Front & Rear Dash Cams Even Record Nighttime Video
Source: Gadget flow

Location Of Mounting – Outside the vehicle (usually at the back – near the license plate).

Data Recorded – The objects behind the truck. 

Benefits Of Dash Cams For Fleets 

The characteristics of these solutions are game-changers in transportation system management. The advantages of a dash cam with fleet GPS tracking can help you save money and time, efficiently maximizing the productivity of your activities. Let’s look at these systems to see the advantages of a dash cam for fleet vehicles.

  • Advanced Driver Safety – It should be a company’s biggest priority to provide a secure working environment. In several ways, fleet dash camera systems ensure the security of your drivers. As smart in-cab cameras recognize signs of exhaustion, they issue audible alerts to let your driver know to pull up for a rest or get off duty for the day. Having a 360-degree record of the surroundings also ensures that you can protect your drivers with solid evidence if other parties make false accusations after an accident. Your company can demonstrate its commitment to its principles. 
  • Improved Vehicle Security – When drivers know they are under watch, they will drive more responsibly and safely, minimizing the possibility of causing irreversible damage to your fleet. Furthermore, the enhanced coaching you will offer them because of access to driving footage will ensure that your drivers drive as safely as possible, further reducing the risk of vehicle damage.
  • Reduction In Idle Time – Drivers know this and avoid idling because of GPS tracking and real-time footage monitoring. It increases productivity and accelerates the supply chain, allowing you to provide faster service while reducing labor costs affiliated with additional time worked.
  • Efficient Customer Service – Drivers can be on their best behavior when under surveillance. Once you combine this with quick service provided by efficient routing and track the time of entry at client locations – it is guaranteed that your customer service will remain at the top. In addition, any customer complaints can be compared to video evidence, allowing the wronged party to receive compensation as soon as possible.
  • Efficient Routing – The efficiency of operations is critical to the lucrative management of a company. You can choose the swiftest and safest routes for basic routine tasks by having the area of the fleet’s vehicles integrated into maps. You can also ensure that your employees take the quickest path on their own. It results in significant time savings by accelerating the process and cost savings by lowering fuel, labor time, and vehicle wear and tear. 
  • Reduction In Fraud – Fraudsters are kept on their toes by monitoring. Increased driver responsibility facilitated by constant monitoring and historical evidence upkeep will protect your company from deceptive practices. A company can remove the risk of activities such as scammer attempts to crash into commercial vehicles with the intent to get money out of civil suits against large corporations.

Now that you’ve learned about dash cams and why they are essential to your fleet – the next step is to understand your requirement and invest in the right dash cam for your fleet immediately. Matrack Fleet Management Solution is compatible with all the dash cams available in the market, offering you 360-degree control over all fleet operations. 

10 Best ELD For Hotshot Trucks

Hotshot trucking includes using medium-duty trucks to ship time-sensitive and lightweight loads. It is flexible work where the geographic radius is limited, and the drivers do not have to spend more time on the road. 

As drivers use medium-duty trucks and drive less than others, they are often confused about whether they need to comply with the ELD rule or not. 

Well, most of the hotshot drivers with little expectation have to comply with the different rules and regulations of the USA, including but not limited to HoS and ELD rules. 

And therefore, you will have to maintain an electronic logging device in your fleet. On that note, you may find different ELD solutions in the market but remember not all of them are great for you. You have to hunt down the one that works best to meet your demands. 

To start, check out this article wherein we have done research from your side and compiled a list of some best ELDs in 2022. 

Hotshot Trucking- An Introduction

Hotshot trucking is a niche market that involves shipping lightweight and time-sensitive goods by mid-duty trucks. 

Hotshot drivers are small owner-operators that own one or two trucks. They often have to cover a shorter distance and carry partial load size. And hence, spend less time on the roads than their counterparts. 

Hotshot trucking is not a new term. It started in the 1970s when truck owners used to sit around the oil wells to deliver the fuel on time. But recently, it has gained popularity. Not only this, but it has become one of the most lucrative industries in the United States. According to a report, it has generated more than $732.3 billion in 2020. 

So when this industry has everything to offer you, from low startup cost to higher profit margin and more flexibility, it is a lucrative career option for one to try. 

Features To Look For In A ELD For Hotshot Trucking

About Redline Hot Shot & Transportation, Inc. – Hot Shot Trucking
Source : Redline hotshot

There are several ELD solutions in the market but not of them are good for you. You have to consider various things before choosing an ideal one for you. Take a glance at some of the significant factors you need to look for: 

  • Affordable price
  • Low monthly subscription
  • FMSCA-certified
  • Additional features such as fleet tracking, eDVIR, IFTA reporting, etc.
  • Exceptional customer support
  • No contract
  • No hidden fees
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Simple installation

Comparison Table (Price and Subscription)

DevicePriceSubscription Fees
Matrack ELD$14.95 
Azuga E-logsPrice not revealed.  
Teletrac Navman ELD$25
Rand McNally ELD 50$149.99$19.55-$24.99 
BigRoad Dashlink$25-$36
Verizon Connect ELD$35 
EROAD Ehubo ELD$175$19.99 
HoS247$19-$25
Zonar ELD$22-$70
AT&T ELD$80$14.95

10 Best ELD For Hotshot Trucks In 2022

The following article will describe the 10 Best ELD For Hotshot Trucks in 2022, allowing you to make an informed decision when selecting your ELD provider. 

Matrack ELD

Are you looking for an affordable ELD solution in the market? Here is one of the best budgeted ELD in 2022- Matrack ELD. You can get free hardware by paying a nominal monthly subscription fee of $14.95. Yes, you have heard right. You do not have to incur any upfront device cost. So you can relax and worry not about affecting your budget anyhow. Another noticeable feature is that there is no extra charge for the co-driver. You can use the same one for both switching the driver profile. It doesn’t bind you with any contract or charge any hidden fees. So you can activate or deactivate your plan as per your business demand. 

It works on plug-and-play installation with zero configuration- so you can install the device in 5 minutes without help. It is compatible with light, heavy, & medium trucks and buses. 

You can download the mobile application available on the play store or app store. It can help you automate HoS, eDVIR, IFTA, and many more. The drivers can use the same to start or end their day, change their duty status, edit, review or submit working logs. The fleet managers can access the same information from the intuitive dashboard. 

Here are some exciting features that this solution will provide you, except for compliance. 

  • Simple installation
  • DoT inspection mode
  • Multiple HoS rules
  • Electronic DVIR
  • Compiance monitoring
  • Fleet tracking
  • IFTA reporting

Azuga eLogs ELD

Another reliable electronic logging device for your hotshot trucking business is Azuga E-logs ELD. It simplifies the logging process so that you can comply with the rule. It also comes with loaded features to help you boost productivity in your fleet. 

You can rely on this e-logging device to meet your compliance need. It not only meets but exceeds FMCSA 395.15 regulations and ELD rules. It also helps streamline compliance operations and automate time-consuming tasks so you and your employees can free themselves from revenue-generating activities. Real-time driver’s status helps fleet managers with resource allocation and dispatch planning. 

If you have to cross the borders of US-Canda now and then, Azuga is a good match for you. The device is not only compliant with the United States but also with Canada. It automatically switches rules based on your location. 

Some of the highlighting features of the Azuga e-logs are:

  • Real-time HoS alerts
  • Comprehensive back-office reporting
  • Conflict detection to resolve inconsistent or incomplete logs
  • DVIRs
  • Easy to use
  • Android and iOS
  • Supports different languages, including English, French, Canadian, and Spanish

Teletrac Navman ELD

Are you looking for something more than a simple compliance tool? If yes, here is a solution for you- Teletrac Navman ELD. It can help you stay on top of your compliance needs, including HoS, ELD, DoT roadside inspections, IFTA, or DVIR. It can also provide real-time alerts, boost communication, automate document management, etc. 

With Teletrac, managers can improve resource management and allocate loads properly without disobeying the HoS limit. They can view the remaining working hours of each driver on a single dashboard. They can also see if anyone is violating or about to violate the rule and inform them. Drivers can also access their HoS details to know when they can drive and how many hours. So they can schedule their time accordingly for the future. 

Apart from these, Teletrac can also help you to optimize fleet operation. You can view the vehicle status before or after the trip to know when you have to send them for repairs. Also, it helps to detect faults. You can also calculate fuel tax easily with automatic recording and reporting features. All you have to do is upload the pictures of the fuel receipts from the mobile application. Nd you are done. The device will automatically calculate the IFTA fuel tax and generate an error-free report. 

Some notable features of this ELD solution are

  • Monitor driver behavior
  • Create a driver risk profile
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Fleet tracking
  • IFTA and DVIR

Rand McNally ELD 50

Rand McNally ELD 50 is a compact electronic logging device. It is fully FMSCA certified. When it comes to compliance, you can relax after having bought this device. You can install it in a few seconds without any professional help. All you have to do is plug into the J-Bus port, download the driver app & select a subscription plan for yourself, and pair it with your smartphone. And you are all set to enjoy compliance with the ELD rule. 

As it is connected to the vehicle, it derives several data from the engine, including

  • Average fuel mileage
  • Boost pressure
  • Gallons per hour
  • Battery voltage
  • Coolant temperature
  • Oil pressure

The Rand McNally allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to fill, view or certify logs. You can download the mobile application from the play store or app store. 

It has a simple user interface, and hence, you can access its features without difficulty. You can also compete DVIRs and change duty status using the app. Also, if you are in a remote location where the network is not available, the device will store that HoS data for up to 2 days. And when you finally enter a good connectivity area, you can upload the logs. 

BigRoad Dashlink ELD

Another simple, affordable, and flexible ELD solution on our list is BigRoad Dashlink ELD. It is an easy-to-use option that allows you to stay in compliance with the ELD rules with ease. It is designed with drivers in mind, and therefore, it offers a user-friendly mobile application for you to count HoS, change duty status, and view traffic conditions. You can rely on this device no matter where you are- whether in the United States or Canada. As it fully complies with both laws. 

Some of the notable features of this ELd solution are:

  • Automatic recording of duty status
  • Ability to connect two drivers for the same truck 
  • Simple Plug ‘N’ Play installation
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Fuel tracking feature
  • Risk notifications
  • Accurate HoS logs
  • And many more.

Verizon Connect ELD

Verizon Connect ELD is a comprehensive ELD solution that helps you comply with the prevailing rules and regulations. An integrated fleet management system also assists you to optimize fleet operation.

Drivers can download the mobile application available on Play Store or App Store. It has a simple interface so they can use it without any difficulty. It also helps them to avoid violations and penalties during roadside DoT inspections. 

The fleet managers can access important data such as working hours, remaining time, HoS status, violation alerts, etc. It allows them to avoid violations beforehand so you can save them from hefty fines. They can also make proactive decisions using these data. 

Verizon allows fleet managers to have better control over their place with the help of automatic driving status updates. They can view when the drivers are driving, taking a break, or idling. It allows them to restrict vehicle idling, reckless driving behavior, etc. 

Some highlights of this ELD solution are

  • DVIR reports
  • 24/4 driver app support
  • Easy installation
  • 99.9% system uptime, worldwide access
  • Monitor fuel consumption
  • Vehicle maintenance

EROAD Ehubo ELD

EROAD Ehubo ELd is a simple and driver-friendly ELD solution that offers you superior network connectivity with accurate data. So you can rely on it to meet your compliance demands. It is a single in-vehicle device, so won’t have to incur any third-party device costs. Also, it is made with the driver in mind, so it is easy to use, and your drivers can adapt it in no time. 

They can start or end their day with this device by logging in or out with the intuitive touchscreen. It will automatically update the driving status according to the vehicle. Also, you can use the same screen to monitor, review or edit your logs and send them to the back office.

You can access all the related information from their web portal. So whether it is for inspection or taking any decision, you can always rely on this solution. 

The device is fully FMSCA-registered and third-party verified, and therefore, it can save from any violation or associated fines. Also, while you are spending on this device, it will help you with compliance and other operations of your fleet. If you ever encounter any problem, you can reach out to their customer support team, and they will readily solve your issue as soon as possible. 

HoS 247 ELD

Another popular choice among drivers and owner-operators is HoS247 ELD. It is an FMSCA-certified device that you can stay in compliance with the different rules and regulations prevailing on the roads of the USA. It has a simple installation process, so you can install it on your truck by yourself i.e., without professional help. Also, you can uninstall it and use the same hardware on your other vehicle in no time. 

The company offers a dedicated mobile application that you can download from the play store or app store to automate HoS, manage and edit logs and edit DVIRs. It also offers a training program so you and your driver can learn how to use the device and avoid fines during roadside inspections. 

Some of the notable features of this solution are

  • Intuitive Fleet management portal
  • Real-time GPS tracking
  • IFTA mileage
  • Fleet maintenance
  • Vehicle diagnostics
  • Top-rated customer support

Zonar ELD

Zonar ELD is a self-certified ELD with the FMSCA, as well as third-party certified, so you can sit back as you know that no matter whether you are on-road or not, you are always in compliance. It is an automatic and tamper-resistant device, so you can save yourself from fines and reduction in CSA score. 

Also, if you often travel in and beyond the US border to Canada, this is a perfect choice. This one not only meets FMSCA rules but also Canadian rules. Also, it automatically updates according to the region, so you don’t have to do it manually. 

With the help of the Zonar tablet, the driver can easily submit or edit the working logs, check their remaining working hours, update their duty status or send it to the back office for approval. While you can access the related information online. So you can use the web portal to glimpse the driver log or check violation trends. It can also help you to identify vehicle malfunction and take steps to avoid future breakdowns. If you have any questions regarding the solution or the regulation, you can always reach out to their dedicated team of experts. They will resolve your issue as soon as possible. 

AT&T ELD

Are you looking for a simple and affordable ELd solution, then check this ELD by AT&T. It is FMSCA compliant solution that can help you automate HoS and stay in compliance with the ELD rule. Not only this, but it can also help you improve driver safety, vehicle maintenance, and customer satisfaction. 

One of the features is push-to-talk which boosts proper communication between you and your drivers. So even if they are in a remote area with no or low cellular network, you can connect to them. 

To start, you have to connect the ELD to your vehicle’s ECM. and then enjoy automated HoS, eDVIR, real-time GPS tracking, violation alert, and many more.

The in-motion feature changes the driver’s working status, so you can know when they are on the rod or taking a break. The device also sends you real-time alerts when it detects any driver of your fleet is about to break a rule. And thus, AT&T fleet complete ELD is the best way to stay in compliance with the ELD rule and protect oneself from any possible violations. 

Final Words

Keep in mind that some hotshot drivers may be an exception to the ELD rule, but most of them have to comply with it. If you have material, an operator vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds, or open travel interstate, you have to maintain an electronic logging device. 

Before you come up with any decision, look into customer reviews and do some research. Also, if you have any questions, do let us know in the comment section below. 

Fuel Cards – How do they help truckers and the fleet industry?

From the early years until the introduction of fuel cards in the 80s, key and standalone card locks helped record fuel expenses for fleet operators. In this system, fleet operators were issued private keys by the company selling diesel. Drivers could access the pump through this private key and data recorded by the company through a totalizer. At the end of the week or month, each fleet operator would get a bill for their share of fuel, based on the totalizer number taken down by the company selling diesel.

With subsequent technological advancements, magnetic stripe or swipe cards capable of storing wide-ranging data replaced the key locks/card locks. 

Since the introduction of magnetic stripes used on credit cards by IBM in the 1960s, credit cards have become the most preferred mode of electronic payments. However, the introduction of fuel cards and their advantages over credit cards made it a popular choice with fleet managers. These cards used for trucking and fleet operations got greater acceptance due to the flexibility and range of benefits offered.

Matrack helps you get an insight into how fuel cards work and their benefits:

What are fuel cards?

Fuel cards help pay for buying diesel, gasoline, and other kinds of energy sources at gas stations. These are plastic cards with magnetic strips or RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) chips, which empower truck drivers to pay for gas or diesel at regular gas stations. With fuel cards from Matrack, you can pay for other expenses like boarding, lodging, and vehicle maintenance. 

Who issues fuel cards?

Various banks, financial institutions, and merchant establishments tie-up with fleet and fleet management service providers to issue dedicated fuel cards. For example, Matrack has a tie-up with American express bank. Matrack’s Amex fuel card is a comprehensive service that covers all the bases required for the trucking industry. The fuel card provider earns a commission on the diesel sold when it sends its members to partnering stations or truck stops.

Who uses fuel cards?

The transport industry is the biggest user of these cards. The card providers issue them to the fleet management companies, who, in turn, give them to their drivers. Truck drivers or commercial drivers use these cards for fuelling their trucks at the locations owned or prescribed by the card provider.

How does a fuel card function?

When filling diesel at a pump, the truck driver swipes the fuel card, enters details like unit number, mileage, and trip number, and takes the receipt. Since these cards are issued to drivers and employees, the bills are sent directly to the company. The card issuer generates a single itemized bill at the level of each authorized individual user. 

Benefits of using a Fuel card

Cash Flow

Fuel is the second biggest expense in the transport industry. While large fleets have contingencies to support the cost and inflated prices, owner-operators and small fleets need the cash flow to keep the business going. Fuel cards with long-term repayment and a low-interest rate offer the much-needed respite and help them keep their business afloat. 

Convenience

Fuel cards for trucking offer a lot of conveniences. They reduce the risk of drivers carrying wades of cash, vulnerable to theft. They reduce administrative expenses incurred because of reimbursements made to employees for using personal credit cards for official purposes.

Security and Control

You can have better control over your fuel usage. You can set individual limits for drivers to give you a better insight into their spending patterns. You can monitor exactly how much each truck driver is spending on the routes. If the company finds that the driver fuels their vehicle frequently, they can downgrade the purchase limit.

Fuel card Stock Photos, Royalty Free Fuel card Images | Depositphotos
Source: Depositphotos

Savings

Savings are the most important feature offered by these cards. In the case of a credit card, you pay the credit price for using them. Paying with credit cards or cash also results in missing out on discounts and savings. In addition to discounts, fuel cards offer you many more additional benefits.

Additional services

Many fuel card companies provide additional services like giving a personalized account manager responsible for clients’ needs. They provide various reports which will be helpful in planning fleet optimization. Certain cards allow you to pay for lubricants such as engine oil, accessories, and credits for car washes. Fuel cards for trucking offer discounts on emergency repairs, maintenance & tires.

Convenience for Truck Drivers

A truck driver undertakes the rigors of transporting the goods and has to multitask and manage time and resources. It is not an easy job. A fuel card eliminates the hassle of advance payments for diesel and other maintenance expenses and waiting for reimbursements.

Flexibility

These cards offer flexibility and help avoid getting trapped by offers of cash advances from brokers. This practice gets you tied down with such brokers and turning down high-paying opportunities due to a lack of cash to cover the fuel cost.

Centralized billing

These cards consolidate the billing process and this, in turn, helps streamline the accounting system. If the fleet operates from multiple locations, it helps in generating a central billing statement for individual branch invoices.

Alerts

You can customize fuel cards to set alerts for transactions that need close monitoring. These alerts can be time or location-based. For example, transactions made outside the geographic location or site, or if drivers do not fill diesel at a designated fuel station, you receive an alert.

Different types of fuel cards

Every fuel card company has something unique to offer to its customers. To take optimum advantage of these cards, the operators should know where they are accepted. Not all cards get accepted at every gas station. In case of such concerns, it is better to go with globally accepted cards like MasterCard, Visa card, etc.

There are a variety of cards available in different forms like:

  1. Universal fuel cards: These cards do not belong to any particular brand. They provide universal coverage and provide benefits like online reporting tools. 
  2. Branded fuel cards: These cards are issued directly by companies and offer interesting customization options. 
  3. Merchant Fuel Cards: These cards are issued when fuel merchants partner with fuel companies for global or branded cards

Which fuel card to choose?

This question is dependent on various factors. It is imperative to know what will suit your business and choose accordingly. You can consider the following points while selecting a fuel card.

  1. Routes coverage and location: You can choose a card that has acceptance on regional, national and international routes.
  2.  Vehicle type: You need to choose the card depending on the type of vehicles that make up your fleet, whether haulage vehicles or a small mixed fleet.
  3. Fuel type:  You need to consider if you would prefer a pump-price or fixed-price card.

One of the most important aspects of fuel cards is the cash flow. In the transport industry, the drivers or fleets ideally get paid after a period of 60-90 days after the job is done. Large fleets have funds for these, but small fleets and owner-operators do not. With a fuel card that offers low interest and long-term repayment, they can pay for the fuel once they receive payment for the job.

IFTA – International Fuel Tax Reporting

 IFTA is an arrangement between 48 US States and 10 Canadian provinces that reports fuel use by commercial carriers. IFTA report is a quarterly report that needs to be filed by every IFTA licensee. It is a detailed report of jurisdictional distance traveled and motor fuel purchased in each jurisdiction for the quarter. The reporting software can use the consolidated data from these cards and logs for IFTA calculation and reporting.

Fuel Card Integration

This feature is the Integration of the Fuel Card with GPS devices. This integration feature gives an idea of MPG (Miles Per Gallon) usage regarding fuel spending and vehicle performance. It further enables us to identify the best and worst-performing vehicles and drivers. Data for individual vehicles or fleet is available, along with summary tables that give an insight into fuel used, distance traveled, and MPG used.

In the crowded space of Fuel cards, it gets confusing on which brand to choose. While many companies offer good features, the Matrack Amex Fuel Card deserves special mention. The vendor offers flexibility and benefits. There are substantial savings on fuel in addition to great coverage across locations. Matrack’s Amex Fuel Card offers a 1.5% early-pay discount and a 60-day no-interest payback period.

Conclusion

The fuel card industry is looking at a bright future by adapting and integrating new technologies. Introduction of telematics, RFID in fleet management has proved invaluable for fleet managers and drivers. However, it will be interesting to see how the industry adapts to the Electrical Vehicle (EV) scenario. The infrastructure needed to support widespread EV charging will take some time to materialize. Power shortage is a global reality.

The challenges are many, but the field is wide open with abundant scope. These are exciting times for the fuel card industry, and it is up to the stakeholders to make the most of the opportunities.

The Six Levels of DOT Inspections – A Guide To Decode The DOT Inspections

The Department of Transportation (DOT)

Established on October 15, 1966, The Department of Transportation (DOT) is the governing authority for transportation in the United States of America. The mission of the DOT is to serve the American public and economy through the safe and equitable movement of goods and services. As a part of the DOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) plays a critical role in maintaining the nation’s interstate highways. The FHWA provides funding using funds collected through various taxes like fuel & motor vehicle excise taxes.

Role & Responsibility of the DOT

The highest responsibility of the DOT is to ensure that the Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs) are in top-notch condition to run on the Interstate Highways. Assessment of the physical and mental state of the drivers operating the fleet and ensuring that they are fit enough to perform their duties also falls under the purview of the DOT.

DOT Inspection

The DOT has mandated various inspections to ensure the safe and seamless functioning of the transportation network. For better efficiency, the DOT inspections have been categorized into six Levels. These six levels are critical and cover the entire gamut of CMVs or Fleet as they are popularly known. Every level of these inspections is different and has specific requirements. These inspections can be held during any time of the year.

DOT Officials

These are designated DOT inspectors or police officers assigned with the responsibility of carrying out various inspections of the CMV fleets. Apart from these officers, several groups work in unison to ensure that the carriers and drivers adhere to the DOT laws. Some of these groups are

  1. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides funding for all inspections and reports to the DOT.
  2. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is a non-profit organization that aims to achieve uniformity in the CMVs inspections by certified inspectors committed to driver and vehicle safety.

The essence of this article is to give an insight into The Differences between the six levels of DOT inspections.

Level I – North American Standard Inspection

It is a very comprehensive DOT inspection starting with the driver. It includes checking the driver’s license and scrutiny of the medical examiner’s certificate. The officer will talk to the driver and test for drug and alcohol consumption. They also check  the driver’s record of duty status and service hours. There is a walk around by the official who examines the following details: 

  1. Brake systems
  2. Cargo securement
  3. Coupling devices
  4. Exhaust systems
  5. Fuel Systems
  6. Lighting devices like headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals, and flags on projecting load.
  7. Steering mechanisms
  8. Suspensions
  9. Tires
  10. Van and open-top trailer bodies
  11. Wheels, rims, and hubs
  12. Windshield wipers
  13. Buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans, or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits, electrical cables, and systems in the engine and battery compartments

Level II – Walk-Around Driver / Vehicle Inspection

It is not different from the Level I- North American Standard Inspection. It is a walk-around and includes inspecting the driver & vehicle. It covers all the guidelines for checking as per DOT laws. The walk-around entails an inspection of only those items where the officer does not have to get under the vehicle. These inspections can be done on the road or anywhere else. 

Level III – Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection

This level pertains only to the driver and not the vehicle. The focus is only on the driver’s credentials and documentation. It is a critical inspection for the driver as it  includes examining the Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate. The Hours of Service (HOS) is a mandatory document needed to be maintained. However, the Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), which have replaced paper log books, make record keeping efficient. The FMCSA views HOS violations as a grave danger to highway safety and can exercise sanctions against the fleet owners or the individual driver.

Drivers transporting petroleum or flammable materials should obtain a HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials) Safety Permit as prescribed by the DOT. According to DOT rules, HAZMAT employers have to ensure the training and testing of the HAZMAT employees. Recurrent training is required at least once every three years.

Note: Level III inspections should not include mechanical equipment violations specific to Level I or Level II.

Level IV – Special Inspections

The Level IV inspection is a one-time examination of a specific vehicle feature. These are rare and are done mainly for comparative or research purposes, usually when DOT asks the states to gather information for analysis. These inspections can also be driver-related but mostly center around mechanical items.

This DOT inspection is more of a surprise inspection and requires all the parties  to be alert.

Level V – Vehicle-Only Inspection

As evident by its name Level V inspection is only for Vehicles listed in Level I North American Standard Inspection. It is conducted in the absence of a driver at any remote location or the carrier’s facility during a compliance review or safety audit. 

Level VI – North American Standard (NAS) Inspection for Transuranic waste and Highway Route Controlled Quantities (HRCQ) of Radioactive Material

The DOT has mandated that all vehicles and carriers transporting HRCQ of radioactive material are required to pass through Level VI- North American Standard Inspection. CMVs on the highways transporting hazardous freight, nuclear material, or medical waste of radiological shipments will be subject to a DOT inspection.

Level VI inspections are stressful and tedious for the driver and the officials. It is bound to be stressful as it involves the transportation of hazardous cargo, and if leaked or spilled could have disastrous consequences for the environment. The drivers transporting radioactive material are given training equivalent to the officials inspecting the shipment.

Expectations at DOT Inspection

A DOT official or state trooper can stop a driver at any location. The following tips will be of help to any operator or driver:

  1. The driver should be responsible and pull over as directed by the officials without arguing.
  2. The driver needs to be composed and co-operate by providing all the documents required for the DOT Inspection.
  3. The fleet operator should ensure that each truck in the fleet should have the logbooks updated.
  4. For trucks equipped with an ELD, the driver should know how to access the logs and email them to the DOT official.
  5. Keep the driving license, all documents, and permits in an organized manner. Ensure permit books are updated regularly and be aware of the status.

Common Violations during DOT Inspection

Following is a general list of common violations observed by drivers and fleet during DOT Inspection

For Drivers –

  1. Logs not updated / False Logs
  2. Expired or invalid driving license
  3. Missing or invalid medical card
  4. Not having paper logs in case of ELD failure 

For Vehicles – 

  1. Brakes not powerful enough or other breaking problems
  2. Malfunction of lights that including headlights, brake lights to turn indicators
  3. Leakage of lubricants
  4. Unable to produce proof of annual inspections
  5. Inadequate tire tread depth
  6. Improper Hazmat placards & markings
  7. No or expired Hazmat permits

The outcome of DOT Inspections

The three outcomes of DOT Inspections are as follows:

  1. No Violations found: Reflects well on the Fleet operator and driver. It will augur well for the CMV as the likelihood of being pulled over for another inspection is negligible unless there is a noteworthy problem
  2. Violations not serious: In such cases, where not very serious violations have been found, the vehicle can continue plying on the road. However, the violations will count against the CMV Operator or driver. They must resolve all observations and issues indicated by the DOT within 15 days of the inspection.The operator must send a report to the FMCSA informing them that all the repairs have been completed within the stipulated time frame.
  3. Out of Service: In case of serious violations, the vehicle and operator will be Out of Service. They can resume operations only after all the violations have been rectified and documented.

Many violations can be avoided by using Electronic Logging Device (ELD)  ELDs are very useful during roadside inspections. ELDs automatically record critical information, which helps the operators and the regulators alike. Matrack ELDs are very reliable in terms of accuracy and can expedite the inspection process. Also as the ELD can be integrated into the Matrack Fleet Management solution, operators and drivers can schedule preventive maintenance and avoid fines during such inspections.

Conclusion

All the six levels of inspection are crucial, and the DOT has robust checks and balances in place to ensure adherence to the regulations. The DOT Inspections form the backbone for regulating CMVs and their drivers. Such strong regulation act as a deterrent for any malpractices or carelessness by the CMV operators. The continuing efforts of the DOT to regulate the CMV space will benefit the Operators and Drivers in the years to come.