It’s a pain to keep up with the expiration and renewal dates of every vehicle’s registration whether you manage a large or small fleet. If you miss something it can be costly and cut into your profits before you even realize it.
Keeping track of vehicle registration
Every state requires vehicle registration of some kind, and most are renewed annually. When managed responsibly, the process can be relatively painless. When you fall behind, however, the fees and headaches can quickly pile up.
If a vehicle’s registration expires, you can find yourself with fines anywhere from $4 to $500. Some states even calculate fees as a percentage of your property tax. While $20 may not seem like much, remember it’s per vehicle. Those penalties can add up across all vehicles in your fleet!
Avoiding vehicle insurance penalties
Just like registration, you must have insurance on each vehicle in your fleet. This can also be difficult to manage across all fleet vehicles as it needs to be renewed either monthly, semi-annually or annually.
Vehicle insurance fines and penalties can be staggering. Driving a vehicle without insurance can result in fines up to $1,000.
If your driver is pulled over for a safety check or minor violation and is found without up-to-date insurance, penalties can be as simple as a traffic ticket up to a suspended driver’s license, suspended vehicle registration, substantial fines to have registration and insurance reinstated as well as increased insurance premiums.
If your driver is involved in an accident, it’s an entirely different story. Not only could all of the above penalties take place, but your company and the driver could also be held liable for damage, sued, charged with jail time or even have assets taken if you can’t pay for the damages.
Managing your vehicle inspections
For your and others’ protection, vehicle safety inspection is required by every state. Like vehicle registration, inspections (DOT, etc.) are normally done semi-annually or annually for all commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds. Daily vehicle inspections or DVIRs, as the name implies, must be completed daily. It is vital to keep commercial drivers accountable for completing DVIRs and to keep track of inspection dates to avoid penalties.
Most people cringe when a vehicle inspection is due, but this can actually turn into an opportunity to save money if inspectors find a vehicle issue of which you are unaware. This could save you money in the long run, preventing an accident or higher repair bill!
Fines for expired safety inspections can vary from state to state. For example, the state of New York would fine you $25 to $50 if your safety inspection expired anywhere from zero to 60 days. 60 days or longer would result in a $50 to $100 fine. Some states have steeper fines, and some will not allow you to renew your registration until the vehicle has passed a proper safety inspection.
Also, vehicles that fail required inspections will be placed out of service until repairs are fixed. This can add an additional downtime cost of $841 per vehicle, on average.
Staying on top of your vehicle insurance, registration and inspections across your entire fleet is the best way to avoid unnecessary fines, penalties and legal issues. To easily manage this across fleets small or large, a fleet management software is key. By storing documents and information in an accessible system and setting specific renewal reminders for each of your vehicles, you can rest assured that these items will get done on time, steering your company clear of harsh penalties and fines.