Become an Owl by Increasing Fleet Safety; Donlen Named to CIO

In the recent FridayFleet article “Are You an Owl or an Ostrich?” we looked at potential liability of having unsafe fleet drivers. (In case you missed it, you can check it out here.) The key message: Not knowing what your drivers are doing behind the wheel – being an “ostrich” – puts your business at added risk.

Below, we’re providing a few ways to help you become a wise owl. Taking a proactive approach, having visibility into your fleet, and effectively communicating with drivers are only a few of the ways that will help you build a safer fleet.

Tracking and Monitoring:

The importance of having visibility into your drivers’ behavior can’t be overstated. By tracking and monitoring, you have ability to proactively address certain behaviors that can really help to reduce your accidents and associated costs. Behaviors such as speeding, rapid deceleration and acceleration are red flags – and precursors to potential future trouble if not addressed. And making drivers accountable for their behavior can engage them and help them understand how actions can not only affect their own safety, but help the fleet as a whole to improve performance.

In next week’s FridayFleet®, we’ll take a look at two companies who are using DriverPoint® Telematics effectively:

  • Simon Roofing had two challenges. First, they needed to better track and protect their assets that are scattered around the country. Second, they wanted a way to ensure their customers that they were actually on a job site when they said they were. You’ll read how they’re using DriverPoint to improve customer relations and increase visibility into their fleet.
  • Source Refrigeration & HVAC, Inc. wanted insight into their drivers’ behavior and thought that information could have an affect on other areas within the fleet. You’ll read how they influenced fuel, safety, and maintenance and are using DriverPoint data to give insight into total fleet performance.

(We’ll also be releasing results of our 2013 Telematics Survey. It’s an issue you won’t want to miss!)

Accident Avoidance:

1 in 5: That’s how many claims the average fleet makes per year; one claim for every five vehicles they insure. And of those 20% of your vehicles that will be involved in an accident, almost half are the fault of a third party.

Avoidance is the best way to reduce the costs associated with accidents: processing claims, higher insurance costs, repairs, rentals, and if necessary, replacement. Not to mention the loss of fleet productivity. But most important, avoidance will help keep your drivers safe. But how can a fleet avoid accidents?

Unfortunately, some accidents can’t be avoided, but reducing those that are from driver error can significantly increase your overall fleet safety profile, reduce your expenses, and help keep productivity levels high. A multi-faceted proactive approach may be your best weapon, including a comprehensive driver policy, driver training, and compliance.

Driver Policy Checklist:

If you don’t already have a driver policy in place, or perhaps you haven’t reviewed it lately, it could be time. Your driver policy can contain information on cell phone usage, traffic violations, safety guidelines, revocation of company car privileges, acceptable personal use, defensive driving, and alcohol and substance abuse while driving.

In addition, a driver policy gives drivers one source for all information relating to their use of a company vehicle, including ordering and maintenance. You also need to have it readily available to drivers. No more searching email or the company intranet for the relevant policy – it’s in one spot. For Donlen customers, that means having it available in DonlenDriver®.

> Download this handy driver policy checklist (PDF)

Your Donlen Account Manager can assist you with driver policy creation, making recommendations and providing guidance based on your fleet makeup and utilization.

DOT/FMSCA Compliance:

Keeping your fleet in compliance will help ensure safety. A few critical areas include:

  • Permitting, including trip, hazardous material, super loads, and over length/width load permits
  • Periodic inspection tracking to help eliminate citations for expired inspections
  • Proper DOT maintenance record and retention compliance
  • Hours of service compliance
  • Driver vehicle inspection report tracking
  • Behavior analysis, including controlled substance and alcohol, crash indicators, and unsafe driving

Of course, the first step in understanding compliance is to understand the distinction between the two different classes of commercial motor vehicles (CMV). For the basic requirements, check out these regulations at a glance >

Driver Training:

There may be instances when your drivers need additional training, which can be done proactively or after an event such as a moving violation or accident. Driver programs can teach your drivers how to drive in a way that can improve MPG, reduce CO2, and subsequently improve safety. Reinforcement in key areas such as driver behavior, vehicle maintenance, trip preplanning, and understanding CO2 impact can have a long-lasting effect on drivers. When your drivers understand how small changes in their behavior can make a difference, not only will you reduce overall fleet costs with an MPG improvement, but you can have a safer fleet.

For example, we all know that tailgating should be avoided. But we see it happening all the time on the road. Maintaining a safe distance between the vehicle in front avoids the need for rapid deceleration (saving fuel) but also lessens the chance of rear-ending the vehicle (improved safety). Having a driver complete an online course will help them remember their accountability when they are behind the wheel.

And when driver training is used in conjunction with telematics data that shows drivers exactly how they’re performing you can see a huge impact on your fleet safety.

Safety Training:

Safety training either as a result of traffic violations or after an accident, or proactively to help avoid these situations, can be beneficial to your fleet:

  • Better loss control
  • Helps drivers avoid personal injury and vehicle damage
  • May help you qualify for a discount with your insurance provider
  • Ability to identify problem areas for specific drivers
  • Focused, targeted content when needed

Safety training modules, developed in conjunction with the Traffic Safety Marshals Advisory Board and available online, include:

  • The Importance of Maintenance
  • Non-Moving Injuries
  • Driver Distractions
  • Defensive Backing and Parking
  • Speeding and Braking
  • Escape Routes and Space Cushions
  • Lane Changes and Passing
  • Adjusting to Weather Conditions

Our Commitment

Donlen is committed to your driver safety program. Your Account Manager is available to help you implement and draft policies, review your current procedures, and provide information about DriverPoint Telematics or any other programs that can help you increase your fleet safety.

Donlen Chosen by CIO magazine as one of the CIO 100 Award Winners

We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve been named as recipient of the 2013 CIO 100 by IDG’s CIO magazine. The 26th annual award program recognizes organizations around the world that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology (IT).

“For 26 years now, the CIO 100 awards have honored the innovative use of technology to deliver genuine business value,” said Maryfran Johnson, Editor in Chief of CIO magazine & events. “Our 2013 winners are an outstanding example of the transformative power of IT to drive everything from revenue growth to competitive advantage.”

“Compliance is a moving target. The rules keep changing, it’s different across states, and the paperwork involved is enormous,” said Dennis Straight, Donlen SVP and CIO. “Working together with Hertz Equipment Rental operations, Donlen’s IT group streamlined a cumbersome process and developed Donlen Logistics™. Giving fleets ways to streamline their processes is our main focus.”

Donlen is using our proprietary technology to greatly increase the productivity of our customers. Donlen Logistics will help customers meet US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Record of Duty compliance and increase fleet safety and productivity with dispatching and routing capability. A key point is that it provides online access, reducing the need for records storage.

The recipients of this year’s CIO 100 award were selected through a three-step process. First, companies filled out an online application form detailing their innovative IT and business initiatives. Next, a team of judges reviewed the applications in depth, looking for unique practices and substantial results. Finally, CIO editors reviewed the judges’ recommendations and voted on the final 100.

Congratulations to our team who worked on this tool.

FleetWeb® Tips

Quickly find surrounding alternative fueling stations by location in FleetWeb.

  • Click “Show Icons” link at the bottom of FleetWeb
  • Click “Find” icon
  • Input address or Donlen Vehicle Number, and click the “Point of Interest” drop down
  • Select Alternative Fueling Station
  • Choose desired fuel type and click “Find Points of Interest” to see map of surrounding stations


Hertz Value Lease™ Deal of the Week

donlen-hertz-value-lease-chevy-captiva-06132012 Chevy Captiva LS*

  • Estimated Mileage: 24,380
  • Exterior Color: Brown
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $16,845

*Vehicle was available at the time of posting to FridayFleet. The exact vehicle may not be available after this date. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purposes only. Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease vehicles that may be right for your application.

And finally…

And finally, we all know cats have nine lives, but one little kitty may have used more than one this week. A semi-truck was pulled over for speeding, and during the stop, the officer heard meowing from the engine. I’m sure both the driver and the officer were surprised to find a black kitten inside the air cleaner of the engine. The brave kitty had been hanging on for about 285 miles since the driver left Wisconsin headed for Illinois. The kitten – now named EB, short for “engine block” – is now up for adoption from the Kane County Animal Control if you’re interested. She seems to be fine, with no residual effects from what was probably a pretty scary ordeal. What could be better than to end the week with a feel-good kitten story?

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on June 14, 2013

About Donlen
Donlen is the industry’s leading provider of integrated financing and management solutions for corporate fleets. Utilizing a highly consultative and strategic approach, Donlen helps fleets reduce cost, improve utilization, and increase driver productivity. Donlen’s innovation has been honored with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Development” and the “2012 InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators Across America.” Their workplace excellence has been recognized on the IAOP “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list for seven of the last eight years, and as one of the “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Northbrook, IL, Donlen is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE: HTZ). For more information about Donlen, visit