How to Improve Vehicle Maintenance And CSA Scores

Fleet management system helps Veolia Environmental Services realize $41,000 in annual savings


“By using Zonar and catching and fixing problems before our trucks leave, we’re avoiding having to pay a tremendous markup for whatever parts and pieces the roadside serviceman is going to sell us to fix our truck,” Bomgardner says.

Veolia also realizes savings through maintenance shop efficiencies because Penske can better respond to unscheduled maintenance issues, he adds.

“If the ‘check engine’ light comes on while the truck is out on the road, I’m going to see it at the same time or soon after the driver sees it on his dashboard,” explains Bomgardner. “Using Zonar, we can then determine whether it’s a problem that needs to be addressed right away or if the driver can continue to finish his run. I can then alert Penske that our truck is coming in and this is what the truck’s sensors are telling us.

“In these kinds of situations, we’re going to have downtime no matter what,” he observes. “Zonar gives us a heads up so we can minimize the effect on our operations by getting our trucks and drivers in and out of the shop faster and back on the road sooner.”

FACTUAL DATA FOR INCIDENTS

Another significant positive aspect of Zonar is being able to produce hard-to-refute records that show, among other things, how fast the company’s trucks are actually traveling when drivers are involved in accidents, says Bomgardner.

From August 2011 to August 2012, there were three accidents in which he was able to trace the path of the truck and clearly show what company drivers were doing. From a disciplinary standpoint, it cleared all three drivers from repercussions as far as the company was concerned.

“The Zonar system protects our company and our drivers when they’re involved in accidents by giving us the ability to show what happened,” he says. “That’s how we sold it to our drivers who were initially concerned about this ‘Big Brother’s watching you’ aspect.

“I think all of our drivers have really come to appreciate the need for this, particularly since we’re a hazardous materials hauler.”

Bomgardner says the company is better prepared should its safety records ever get audited by state or federal inspectors. Currently under CSA, all accidents count against the carrier and the driver, regardless of who is at fault.

A SUPPORTER OF CSA

Bomgardner says he has been a big proponent of CSA since it was introduced in late 2010 for two key reasons. One is that it places equal responsibility for safety on the company and its drivers. Secondly, it makes driver behaviors and pre- and post-trip inspections more critical to running a safer operation.

Bomgardner acknowledges that CSA could be a double-edged sword if it ever shows company drivers speeding or driving erratically. But since the Zonar system alerts him to vehicle speeds, it allows him to monitor driver behaviors and quickly identify potential problems and then address them before they lead to accidents.

Zonar’s onboard computer and EVIR make it easier to monitor and counsel drivers on their driving behaviors and for drivers to conduct their pre- and post-trip inspections correctly and more efficiently, he says.

“Because we’re doing better pre-trip and post-trip inspections on our equipment, we’re catching more problems before they leave to go on the road, and we’re identifying potential problems and fixing them before we go out. At the end of the day, we’re providing a better service for our customer and operating safer equipment on our highways.”

VEHICLE INSPECTIONMETHOD

Here’s how electronic vehicle inspection reporting helps Veolia accomplish better pre- and post-trip inspections. Zonar’s radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are placed, just once, on the division’s vehicles in critical inspection “zones.” These weather-tough tags contain information about their location on the vehicle, the components to be inspected and the identity of the vehicle or trailer.

Using Zonar’s 2010 inspection tool, Veolia drivers conduct their inspections by placing the reader within inches of each tag and indicating the condition of the components within the zone with one-handed, push-button responses. When a defect is discovered, the driver selects a description from a pre-defined list and indicates if the vehicle is safe to operate.

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