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Controversial regulations in Florida are now allowing trucks to be able to run 8,000 pounds heavier on non-interstate highways. Despite opposition from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the new regulations say tractor-trailers may weigh up to 88,000 pounds on designated routes while fleet loads on interstate highways would continue to be restricted to 80,000 lbs. Several major trucking lobbyists claimed that the trucking industry needed this weight expansion in order to cut high fuel costs and create stability in a tough economy.
The new fleet legislation, signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist, began taking effect in July 2010. Many opponents to the new laws say claim that the legislation, attached to general transportation bills House Bill 1271 and Senate Bill 2362, were moved through the legislative process with no outreach to the local communities in which these heavier fleets would travel. Previous regulations stated that the trucks be must be 4 tons lighter in order to travel safely on Florida roads and highways.
Among the concerns cited by OOIDA are premature highway deterioration, increased maintenance costs, and truck driver safety concerns. Opponents claimed that allowing more weight is dangerous and damaging to local roads. Heavier trucks are harder to stop and accelerate which can cause more accidents. According to their estimates, heavier trucks could cost local and state governments more than $150 million per year to offset additional highway maintenance.
Fleet managers who want to save money on fuel, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve their environmental image should consider becoming a certified partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Program. Participation in the EPA’s program is completely voluntary and helps fleet operators and truck drivers to save fuel, save money and help the environment at the same time. Sounds like a win-win for fleets looking to cut costs and go green at the same time. The SmartWay program is a collaboration between the freight industry and the federal government to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, improve fuel efficiency and strengthen the freight industry as a whole.
The EPA’s SmartWay program identifies products and services that that reduce transportation related costs and emissions such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Certification in the SmartWay program requires fleet vehicle operators to use verified low rolling resistance tires, such as GoodYear’s Fuel Max technology tires or Dunlop’s FM series. According to GoodYear, both of these lines of tires can improve fuel efficiency by up to 4%.
GPS fleet management systems are designed with one primary goal: to save business managers time and money. There many benefits to using a fleet GPS management system. Here is a list of the top 10 reasons.
1. Increased Profits and Performance
Access to vehicle efficiency and driver productivity data helps a company manage the costs related to fleet operations. There can be a significant reduction in employee overtime costs and driver down-time; reduced maintenance costs directly affect the bottom line. Plus improved route efficiency and fleet metrics allow for expanding customer base. GPS truck tracking saves approximately $5,484 per employee annually.
2. Improved Fleet Operations
GPS tracking systems enable real-time decision making plus enhanced accountability of drivers and assets. Fleet managers will no longer have to rely on driver log sheets, service forms and truck maintenance records to keep track of fleet vehicle operations. Instant access to vehicle efficiency and driver productivity data can help a company better manage the costs related to fleet operations. GPS vehicle tracking allows companies to add more jobs to each work day. Companies typically see a 25% increase in work orders completed after implementing a GPS tracking device.
3. Reduced Fuel Costs and CO2 Emissions
Poor driving behavior such as speeding and unnecessary idling wastes fuel and can be identified with a GPS fleet tracking system. Fleet vehicles can use up to 800 gallons of fuel per year due to unnecessary idling alone, which costs approximately $2400 per vehicle per year. Every unnecessary mile you eliminate will reduce your carbon footprint and can make your entire fleet more productive and environmentally responsible.
Fleet managers are constantly trying to figure out ways to increase productivity while cutting costs. The global economic recession combined with rising fuel costs has made fleet management more challenging than ever. With fuel topping $3 a gallon or more in some regions, fleet operators are searching for ways to make their drivers more efficient, while also abiding by strict legal requirements that restrict vehicle idling and hours of service. Considering the current economic times, even a small decrease in costs can mean the difference between a profit or a loss for many fleet operators.
The challenges facing fleet managers are becoming increasingly difficult. A fleet tracking system that lowers operating costs can help many companies to not only survive but thrive in today’s tough economic climate. A fleet tracking system can provide a return on investment in approximately four to nine months, depending on your industry. Modern fleet tracking and management systems are making it possible for managers to reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, while simultaneously improving safety and legal compliance, and optimizing vehicle and driver operations. A GPS tracking system helps dispatchers to route the nearest vehicle to a specific location, navigate the best route, and minimize maintenance costs. Fleet managers can also reduce truck driver overtime and administrative costs by automating fuel costs and tax reporting with electronic truck driver reports.
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