Out of State Ticket – Avoid Losing Your License

Dealing With An Out of State Ticket

Getting a ticket in another state can be a challenge to deal with. The thought of returning to Massachusetts to go to driving school, traffic court or pay a fine can be overwhelming. The good news is that Tampa based Fleetistics offers the National Safety Council Defensive Driving Course which is often sufficient to address an out of state ticket if okayed by the court. Of course, this must go through the proper process.

 

Talk to the Judge or Traffic Court

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Call the court of jurisdiction to discuss the possibility of taking the NSC certified Fleetistics DDC course as a way to resolve the ticket without returning. Send them this URL https://www.fleetistics.com/resources/nsc/ and ask if taking this course will suffice. Be sure to take notes on who you spoke to and when. Get everything in writing and hold onto it for 5 years. If there is an error you do not want a warrant for your arrest. Once you provide the DDC certificate of completion ask for a letter for your files indicating you have satisfied the court.

 

 

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Defensive Driving Course

 

Fleetistics is the only active certified NSC DDC trainer in Florida. We offer a friendly atmosphere, comfortable conditions, and a friendly instructor. The day is long but we make it as painless as possible. If you enter with an open mind you will actually appreciate the safety refresher, especially if you have children you are working to protect.

The DDC course is a combination of instructor lead conversation and videos provided by the National Safety Council. You are required to complete the workbook and be in attendance for the entire course in order to receive your certificate. For more on registering for the course click this URL. https://www.fleetistics.com/resources/nsc/

 

Commercial Driver Training

Commercial fleet operators can utilize the NSC DDC training as part of a progressive discipline and training program for at-risk drivers. Employers can pay for the training or require the drivers to pay depending on the safety and training program offered. This step shows the driver you are serious but that you care enough to offer remedial training and a final opportunity to exhibit the driving habits required to avoid costly accidents and litigation. Employers have more to add to their defense if subjected to a wrongful termination lawsuit by a driver. Insurance companies may offer discounts if the training is provided 1-2 times annually to keep safety on everyone’s mind.

 

Collision Reconstruction Limits Heartbreak Over Collision Damage

You can’t always prevent collision damage,

but you can prevent the heartbreak. Thanks in part to Geotab’s Collision Reconstruction add on, there is a happy ending to what could have been a very sad story.

I think we all have a vision of our dream car from our youth. For me it was always a little red rag-top. A couple of years ago I found her. She was a Chili Red Mini Cooper with a blue denim convertible top. Her name, chosen by her previous owner, was Rosie.

She had a lot of life left in her when I was recently hit from behind. The impact pushed me into the vehicle in front of me so I had collision damage both front and rear. As I dialed 911, I watched the other two very young drivers call their parents. Though the damage appeared superficial, my dream car was possibly going to be totaled, and ahead of me the negotiation with the insurance company loomed large.​

Accessing the Collision Reconstruction Data

The first thing I did when I got home was fire up the the computer to pull the accident data. With the collision reconstruction add on, it took just a couple of minutes.  The truth is often not exactly what we remember,and in this case, that was the case.

How could I have been so certain I was at a complete stop when I was hit from behind?  The collision reconstruction data showed I was driving 6 mph and slowing to stop. I wondered in that moment if the other drivers had similar flaws in their memory of the event. Also, the data indicated an initial accident level impact at the rear of my vehicle propelling me forward at 6:07:06 PM. Two more minor spikes on the graph indicate backward motion at about half the force of the initial impact. I suspect one of those may have been the force of my roll bar deploying.

Processing the Claim

Processing of the claim for the collision damage was somewhat slow. The insurance company had to reach all three drivers involved for their statements before they could make a determination of fault. I had advised the insurance company that I had the data and could prove exactly what happened, but they had to go through their process. Apparently the crucial information they needed from the driver in front of me, was how many impacts he heard, relative to what he felt, to verify that the rear vehicle actually hit me before I hit him. I wondered if his memory was clear on that point, but was confident the data would back me up if it was not.

Had there been any question, the G force and speed graphs above would tell the entire story. Had it ended up in litigation, the engineers at Geotab would have provided me with expert testimony in the form of a formal report explaining and validating the data from their collision reconstruction. Lucky for me, the insurance company just wrote a check to cover the collision damage.

Unfortunately,

The next day I received the dreaded call… after further review it was determined the frame was bent, and due to severe collision damage Rosie and I would not be seeing any more highway miles together. The insurance company settled, and I was off to find a new car. Knowing that I had solid facts acquired through collision reconstruction, allowed me to negotiate from a position of power, rather than accepting whatever the insurance company decided. I had a nice fat down payment in my pocket, and my former loan was paid off.

I promised a happy ending, so here it is. Not quite 2 weeks from the collision event, I was driving my new car. I could not find another Chili Red one, but British Racing Green can grow on a person. My new road pal is 2 years and 50K miles younger, has a turbo charger, and a far superior sound system. I am naming him Jack Hammer, after the salesman at the Mini dealer (I swear that is his real name).

Thanks Jack!

Thanks Geotab!

Driver Improvement Through Targeted Driver Training

Ongoing driver improvement through targeted driver training is one of the hottest trends in fleet management today.

When based on actual driving history, it is an effective tool for driver improvement. A recent article in Commercial Carrier Journal mentions the need for more targeted driver training.  The article warns that in cab alerts are distracting to the driver. Classroom trainings like those endorsed by the National Safety Council are great, and have been the standard for many years.  We teach the NSC Defensive Driving Course on a monthly basis at our own corporate office, but it takes advance planning and time off the job for drivers to attend.  Business requires something that is readily available when needed.

Over the past couple of years, 2 primary models of targeted driver self-improvement have emerged.  Not surprisingly, they are simple merit models and demerit models.

Merit vs Demerit

Examples of merit models are game apps. Driving data is converted into a score and drivers compete for recognition.  Competition is the primary motivation because it is fun, and because nobody wants to be a loser.  Adding a reward, like a cash bonus for the most improved driver, maintains interest. Clearly, competition will promote driver improvement, but is still not targeted driver training.

Demerit models look for problems and assign targeted driver training.  Specific behavior, for example speeding, results in lessons assigned to the driver on how speed can be dangerous.  This achieves driver improvement in two ways.

  1. The driver learns how speed can be a danger to himself and others through the lessons assigned.
  2. The driver doesn’t want another course assignment that he has to complete after work hours, so he changes his behavior.

The goal is to provide a custom training course based on need.  Each driver is assigned lessons based on their driving deficiencies. A program like this is often administered by the Safety Department in larger companies, but in small and medium size businesses, who is going to do all that? Many businesses would like to implement targeted driver training, but only if it is a “hands off” approach.

Predictive Coach course modules

Predictive Coach Course Modules

The Keys to Automating Driver Training

To automate the process your GPS tracking system provides the data directly to the training app.  Training content on a variety of subjects is organized into courses and lessons.  When thresholds for unwanted behavior are met, the app assigns the appropriate training to the driver.  Drivers access training from their personal devices, and no supervision is needed. Training is easy to use, interesting, and focused on driver improvement. Managers only need to be notified when drivers fail to complete the assigned courses, but they can review lessons assigned and completed if they want.

Predictive Coach meets all of the criteria.

  1. Improves driver behaviors with a data driven training program
  2. Eases the burden of safety monitoring through automation
  3. Eliminates willful negligence around driver discipline
  4. Integrates seamlessly with your Geotab tracking solution
  5. Proven to produce results through targeted driver training

Predictive Coach automated driver training has been evaluated by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute is proven to reduce dangerous driver behavior.

Predictive Coach Study Improvement Graph

Individual Predictive Coach courses contain 3 to 7 individual lessons.  The lessons are automatically assigned to drivers when exceptions to rules occur.  The driving rules used are the ones you configure with tolerances you set.  Managers are notified when assigned lessons have not been completed, and they appreciate the compact dashboards and reports that are available for reviewing and comparing drivers. Drivers can complete the courses on laptop, phone or tablet from virtually anywhere.

That fits our definition – automated driver improvement through targeted driver training.

Schedule a demo to learn how Predictive Coach is affordable, easy to implement and protects your fleet and organization.

Navigating US Road Conditions and Gridlock

Gridlock is Slowing Us Down

Road conditions and traffic congestion or gridlock are a major factor that affects punctuality, productivity, and safety.  Unfortunately, driving in less than ideal road conditions, and stopping to wait in gridlock is something we must live with.  In any case, awareness helps us to avoid some of the worst situations and better cope with the rest.

Can We Eliminate Gridlock?

We all encounter it and we all hate it, but can anything be done about it?  Texas A&M recently released its annual Urban Mobility Report. It explains some of Road conditions - Gridlockthe WHY and offers a long list of potential remedies to avoid gridlock.  It is clear there is no one solution, but many small things that can be done to impact this problem plaguing metropolitan commuters and fleets.

What are some things a business can do?   Both small and large businesses can use remote workers where practical.  Another idea is to schedule services for off-peak travel hours by offering incentives to customers for scheduling their service in those off-peak hours. These simple measures are just starting points.  The Big Data that is available through the efforts of companies like Geotab, can be used to better understand and prevent the ongoing gridlock in the US.

 

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Road Condition in the US

According to The Reason Foundation’s Annual Highway Report, pavement condition in the US has continued to decline over the years.  Some states do better than others when it comes to filling potholes and repairing deficient bridges.  It is interesting that the dollars we spend on construction projects to improve road conditions do not always correlate to the percentages of improvement achieved.

Heavy Duty Trucking, commenting on the report, posted, “The percentage of urban interstate mileage in poor condition increased in 29 states with one-third of the nation’s urban interstate mileage in poor condition being concentrated in just five states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Louisiana, and New York.”  “Massachusetts ranks low in the overall rankings but shows the nation’s lowest traffic fatality rate, while South Carolina reports the highest.”

 

Highway Safety

Safety awareness and training are key to every driver coming back safe every day.

There is a wealth of information available on highway safety in the US.  This information is provided by safety experts, insurance organizations, and fleet technology providers.  Understanding the safest and most dangerous places along your routes can save lives.  Here are a few resources you may find helpful.

Bad Weather = Poor driving conditions creating gridlock.

Snow and ice create a dangerous combination.  They cause accidents and endless gridlock.  Knowing when to avoid dangerous weather saves time, lives, and expensive commercial vehicles.  You can add forecast weather service to your GPS tracking easily. MyFleetView allows you a 30 day trial of our weather services.  The map displays where your vehicles are in relation to the weather conditions  and weather related roadway threats you select.  See how below.

Weather - Watches and Warnings

Weather – Watches and Warnings

Northeast Roadway Threats Overlaid on Watches and Warnings

Northeast Roadway Threats Overlaid on Watches and Warnings

Adding current and forecast weather to your MyFleetView map is easy!  Start your 30 day trial today!  Here’s how.

4 Steps to Adding Services

4 Steps to Adding Services

Adding Services step 1

Adding Services step 1

Adding Services Step 2

Adding Services Step 2

 

 

Vehicle Cameras for Fleet Management

Vehicle cameras are becoming more and more popular as a fleet management tool.

Rosco vehicle cameraAs with any new tool, it takes time to understand the best ways to leverage camera use on your fleet vehicles.  When selecting and setting up your vehicle camera system, managing consumption to avoid data overage needs to be considered. Ask yourself some questions when you begin.  What information will be most beneficial to you in video format? How do you plan to use it? Who will be responsible for reviewing it?

There are several different types of camera systems, designed for different purposes, and it is important to select the system that will record and deliver the specific type of video record you need.  No longer are cameras just a risk management measure to have a record in case of an accident.  Forward-facing cameras monitor the road and potential hazards in front of the vehicle.  They can stand alone, or be used with peripheral cameras.  Some systems also have an interior view of the cab to record what the driver is doing.  Adding side, rear, and cargo area cameras can provide valuable information as well as security. Our camera systems  integrate with the Geotab tracking platform for fuller functionality.

Automatic Event Recording

Vehicle cameras designed to record events are primarily used to document the conditions an event occurs.  Events may be predefined by the camera system or you can define them yourself when integrated with your vehicle tracking system.  Being selective about how many of your rules generate email notifications helps to limit unnecessary email overload.  In the same way, be selective about the rules you choose to trigger video downloads to avoid data overage. Speeding is a common rule that you may want to trigger a video download, but if you have several speed rules, choose carefully the one that triggers the video. A rule like 5 mph over the posted speed limit can trigger often and use up your data plan in a hurry.

 

Vehicle camera

Cameras with AI

Other vehicle camera systems use artificial intelligence to identify events.  They can identify speeding, lane drift, following too closely, even road obstructions.  Combined with a smartphone app, these systems give feedback to the driver to avoid potential hazards.  With an in-cab view, cameras with AI can also identify and record cell phone use and smoking events.

 

 

Live Feed

Some business models such as the Security industry may benefit from live feed capability from vehicle cameras.  Supervisors can view live video to consult with and advise the field employee. Managers can view job site progress and several jobs without leaving the office.  Live feeds need to be used responsibly.  If you forget to turn off the feed and leave for lunch, extreme data overage is the likely result.

You can see examples of video from a variety of cameras as well as installation tips on our YouTube channel.

Monitor your Data Consumption

If your system offers a feature to monitor how much data you have used, check weekly to see that you are within your data plan limits.  Becoming familiar with how much data you are using will allow you to get the most out of your vehicle camera system without incurring costly overages.

data consumption

 

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