Fleet managers are increasingly being faced with new requirements for managing crews, complying with social rules and testing security procedures. There are many stringent legal standards in both national and international transport. Failure to comply with these standards could result in severe penalties and, in the worst-case scenario, may even lead to the loss of the EU community licence. Below, we’ve listed some typical “compliance” stumbling blocks and how to avoid them.


Stumbling block – documentation obligation


Each fleet manager’s punctually recurring tasks include storing and archiving driver and vehicle data. The relevant provisions of the EU and driving personnel regulations not only provide for punctual reading out of data – the data must also be backed up on a second data medium and retained for one year.  However, even after this task has been completed, the risks still loom, because after the expiry of the retention obligation, the data must be deleted. This is a fact that’s often overlooked – because if driver card data still hasn’t been deleted by March 31st of the following year at the latest, that’s an infringement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which can result in substantial fines.

Manually created download and storage plans, manual reminders of deletion dates and more – anyone who has to manage more than two vehicles will quickly run into a memory problem! This is why these processes, at the very least, should be digitalised and automated. Fleets that have not yet taken the step into digitalisation will soon experience increased efficiency and security. The spectrum of offered solutions is broad, ranging from simple applications to OEM systems and holistic fleet management service offers. VDO’s new Remote DL 4G automates the actual data download process – it enables data transmission from all European countries at any time without drivers needing to lift a hand.


Stumbling block – departure control


Improper departure control may also result in fines. If a deficiency that would typically have been detected during an adequately carried out departure check results in an accident, this could constitute a criminal offence – with much more serious and far-reaching consequences than just a fine. The reasons behind the lack of checks are usually the same: On the one hand, the risks are underestimated. On the other, lack of time and intense competition result in inadequate safety management, which is still frequently characterised by disorganised paperwork. 

Fleet managers should switch to practical app solutions rather than continuing to ask their drivers to write departure control checks by hand. For example, the free TIS app documents and saves departure control procedures through checklists, and photo uploads are also possible – without paperwork. The Verified Inspection (CVI) from Continental is even more sophisticated. It’s a professional application that uses the transmitters installed in different vehicle areas to record exactly where and how long the departure control check was carried out. With its launch on the German market planned for the end of this year, this intelligent solution is suitable for heavy and dangerous goods transport. 


Stumbling block – working times


Driving times and rest periods are regulated uniformly almost everywhere in Europe, but working time depends on national legislation. It includes activities such as loading and unloading trucks and maintenance work. The driving time specified EU-wide can typically amount to nine hours in one day and be increased to ten hours under certain conditions. On the other hand, working time in Germany amounts to 8 or 10 hours, while in France this can be increased to 12 hours.

Here again, a digital solution is available that can distinguish between driving and rest periods and working hours and also knows the working time laws of individual EU countries. VDO Fleet Tachograph Management does just that and ensures an overview of vehicles operating abroad and their associated working hours. This helps to avoid fines caused with no deliberate intent but through the lack of the necessary knowledge.


Stumbling block – ERRU


The European Commission has launched the ERRU trans-national penalty points network to make European roads safer and deal with infringements in international traffic. ERRU allows states to exchange information on infringements across borders and infringements can also be reported and inspected in the ERRU. They are also given penalty points. Let’s suppose that a pre-determined limit for penalty points is reached. In this case, the transport manager’s eligibility for the job or even the company’s reliability can be regarded as impaired, and the transport permit can be withdrawn. Fleets in cross-border traffic may also be threatened with new hurdles here.

However, another VDO service can solve these problems as well. The VDO Fleet Scorecard (ERRU) enables fleet managers to recognise in good time if specific limit values could be exceeded and whether planning errors or the misconduct of individual drivers are the cause of the violations. With just two mouse clicks, the digital micro-service displays an overview of all the infringements in the fleet, including those caused by individual drivers. This micro-service is part of the VDO Fleet Tachograph Management Service offer described above.


Digitalization is the solution


There are two reasons why fleet managers should seek advice on how and to what extent they want to digitalise their business processes. On the one hand, the transport and logistics industry in Germany and Europe is experiencing increasing regulations. Fleet management is being highly challenged and even overstretched in some areas. On the other hand, the strategic use of digital solutions in handling tachograph data offers a great opportunity. Ensuring compliance with legal requirements is only one side of this golden coin. The other side has many promising possibilities, which can make scheduling, delivery and maintenance more efficient, reduce operating costs and, in the future, also individually optimise insurance and toll amounts. Intelligent cloud-based solutions help to comply with legal requirements and manage personnel more effectively – they also make the fleet more efficient – and consequently more profitable.