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Can You Solve This Math Problem?

11/06/2015 by Parth Raval

At 6:30 AM, a customer in Los Angeles calls to confirm a pickup time. At 6:42 AM, a shipper in Palm Springs leaves a message regarding a delivery window. By 7:00 AM, customers in Santa Barbara, Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland and Seattle have all confirmed their loads for the next two weeks. Based on the hours of service schedule, the dispatcher has determined which driver can complete these jobs. The only question now is which order the cities should be visited in order to save the most amount of fuel, waste the least amount of time, and satisfy all customers’ requirements.

This type of problem is at the heart of what fleet management professionals do every day. It’s called the Traveling Salesman Problem and in its core form it looks deceptively simple. “What is the shortest possible route that connects a list of cities and returns to the original point?” It may come as a surprise that this is one of the hardest math problems in modern times. Experts at universities including Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and Stanford have spent over 100 years trying to solve it. It is so challenging, in fact, that the Clay Mathematics Institute will award $1,000,000 to the person who discovers the solution.

It appears intuitive. Given a list of cities, one would only have to tally up the different trips that connect them and then figure out which trip is the shortest. The problem with this approach is that the number of possible trips dramatically increases with the number of cities. In the example above, there are 40,320 possible trips between the 8 cities given. Even if a computer could calculate one trip’s length every second, it would take over 11 hours to find the shortest possible trip. Mathematicians have had success finding the shortest route between 50, 100, 1,000 and even 50,000 cities. They have been able to find routes that are only 40% longer than the shortest possible route between any set of cities. But they have not been able to create an algorithm that finds the shortest possible route between any number of cities in the world. Such an algorithm would have implications that touch codebreaking, manufacturing, economics, biology – and, not least of all, fleet management.

A solution to the Traveling Salesman Problem would mean fleet managers would be able to quickly identify the shortest possible route for every one of their drivers, every time, no matter how many locations were on the list. Fuel costs would be slashed. Maintenance schedules would be relieved. It would be a much different world. In the real world, there are plenty of tools that help fleet managers reduce costs and time spent on the job as much as possible. Some of these tools may already be familiar and some are about to be mandated by the federal government. They help find the shortest possible route that is known to modern mathematics, reducing waste and expense along the way. They make the complex world of fleet management much simpler. They are readily available, trusted by many, and, fortunately, won’t cost anyone $1,000,000.

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Combating Manager Fears- How to Tackle Driver Fatigue

11/05/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

In our second installment of the blog series, Combating Manager Fears, we examine a new university study that is helping keep America’s drivers safe on the job. 

Drowsy or fatigued driving kills 800 people a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s no wonder fleet managers are concerned for their driver’s well-being. And with help from Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), there may be a possible solution to calm fears.

According to VTTI’s Center for Truck and Bus Safety, the first step in combating driver fatigue is to understand the issue at its core.

Fatigue is not the same as sleepiness. Although fatigue often comes from sleep deprivation, it is also possible to become fatigued from monotony or eye strain. Although many drivers are chronically under-slept, getting only three or four hours of sleep per night (the average person needs twice that), a driver who gets plenty of sleep can also be fatigued. And while sleepiness often goes away if the driver opens the window or turns on some exciting music, fatigue is not so easily banished; just because a person no longer feels sleepy does not mean he or she is safe to drive.

Most dangerous is chronic fatigue, the result of several days on end of overwork and minimal sleep. The deficit becomes cumulative, too deep for coffee or a quick nap to touch. Even if the driver feels relatively normal, he or she may still be impaired, exhibiting poor judgment, poor performance, and even tunnel vision. Fatigued driving can be as serious as drunk driving.

In addition to insufficient sleep, risk factors for fatigue on the job can include long hours behind the wheel, either heavy traffic or very light traffic, driving during times when the body is naturally primed for sleep, and driving alone.

So what is being done to combat fatigue?

VTTI has spent years on a collaborative effort to develop the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP) for the trucking industry. The result is a group of educational materials aimed at drivers, carriers, shippers, receivers, dispatchers, and even drivers’ families. Preliminary results look promising; participating groups show definite improvements in how much sleep each driver gets as well as reductions in the number of unsafe incidents that could be the result of fatigue.

But for programs such as NAFMP to really be successful, fleet managers across the industry may need to reevaluate their fleet and company culture.

A driver might not realize how dangerous fatigue is or how deeply tired he or she has become, but fatigue is uncomfortable. Nobody gets into that state, let alone stays there, without some kind of incentive.

For drivers, all too often, that incentive comes, directly or indirectly, from the demands of the job.

Fleet managers can provide critical assistance by restructuring policies and even company infrastructure so as to support and reward driver health and safety—and not incentivize over-work.

As health and safety become part of fleet culture, fatigued driving, and the risk that goes with it, will fade away.

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In Their Own Words: Dedicated Systems

11/02/2015 by Parth Raval

This week, Teletrac spoke with one of our customers who’s ahead of the curve. Dedicated Systems is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin and runs 57 long-haul delivery trucks. In anticipation of the upcoming federal mandate, they are already using electronic logs (e-logs) to track driver hours of service. We spoke with Scott Conklin, who is a Driver Manager for Dedicated Systems. Here’s their story.

You are a family owned company and have a very strong relationship between management and drivers. Has implementing fleet management software ever caused friction?
It’s a process. I want drivers to understand that I don’t want to track them, personally, I want to track the business. I want to see if drivers are available to run another load, or if they’re OK if no one has heard from them. The software is for the driver’s benefit.

I have one guy who complained when we put the unit in his truck. But now he sends all his messages through the software and if we don’t send him his load information, he says, “Why didn’t you send this to my tablet?” Once the drivers get used to the software, there are no problems.

How has using fleet management software changed how you work?

Fleet Director is the second program I open every day. The first is my email. With Fleet Director, we can pull all the raw data surrounding our business. We can say to a driver, “These five drivers are working in a certain way and are earning the company money. You can drive this way too.” We can set benchmarks and say, “This is your goal for next week.” When we come back, we can say, “This is how much you saved and how much better you’re doing.” We keep the conversation positive.

Within six months, our top 15 drivers saved enough in fuel to pay for everyone’s pay increases. With Teletrac, we have the data to see in which direction our company is moving.

Has the e-log mandate posed any challenges?

There are two years to comply. And it’s important to remember that it’s industry-wide, it has nothing to do with our business. We make sure our drivers understand that too. We have one driver who was running hard and didn’t have enough hours to complete loads. I said, “Let’s put you on e-logs so we can track your time and know exactly what you can and can’t do. You can use both paper and electronic logs to compare the two. I don’t care if you mess up the e-log, I’ll fix it. Just try using both.”

What do you drivers think once they start using the e-logs?

They like e-logs because they make things simple. They save time. One of our drivers ran over on her hours. She was using both paper logs and e-logs. We looked at both and it turned out she was 40 minutes over on her paper logs and almost an hour under on her e-logs. So it was a one hour 40 minute swing just by running e-logs.

Instead of having to manually fill in a paper log and draw a line, drivers can just hit a button and they’re on or off duty.


Fleet management software is a tool – used in concert with a clear business strategy, it can be tremendously powerful and effective. The same goes for e-logs. They are a tool that can help companies see how their business is performing and how to move their operations in the desired direction. With the right guidance, any company can have the same success becoming compliant with e-logs as Dedicated Systems. 

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The Rising Importance of Telematics in Trucking

10/30/2015 by Kim Alexander

Telematics technology is becoming more and more important to the trucking industry. And it could soon become the default standard for heavy trucks with hardware included, as discussed by panelists at the Technology and Maintenance Council of American Trucking Associations’ October event in Philadelphia. For this to happen, manufacturers will have to agree on a common data bus so that telematics providers can make sure their software functions in sync with all trucks.

Part of what is driving the move towards universal adoption is simply the usefulness of these systems. Telematics improves maintenance and repairs, fuel efficiency, security, road safety, communication, and navigation. The other aspect is the upcoming regulation that will require electronic logging of hours of service (HOS).

Once adoption approaches universality, other benefits will surface that can be applied to the entire industry. These benefits include the collection of data from every connected truck that can be pooled and used by manufacturers to design improved trucks with streamlined maintenance procedures, better suited to the actual way that truckers drive.

Standardization of basic hardware will not mean a standardization of service, however. In the future, as now, there will probably be many different telematics providers, each offering a somewhat different approach with features that can make the lives of both drivers and fleet managers easier. 

As federal compliance fluctuates, a telematics system that includes an HOS solution can make record-keeping efficient and more reliable for drivers. No more getting dinged for non-compliance just because of a lost form. Two-way communication can take the guesswork out of handing unexpected situations on the road, such as bad weather or a major traffic jam. Turn by turn directions help drivers detour around construction efficiently instead of wasting time caught in traffic.

Meanwhile, GPS tracking and alerts let fleet managers keep track of all vehicles at all times, an especially important feature if a truck is stolen or damaged. Safety Analytics helps managers identify which drivers are practicing safe driving habits, and which drivers need additional training—thus increasing the fuel efficiency and safety of the entire fleet for substantial cost savings.

And of course, what is good for the driver is good for the carrier. Stress-free, high performing drivers tend to stay committed to their employer, helping reduce turnover and training costs of new drivers.

Telematics is proving to be important to not only a vehicle’s health and performance, but the well-being and efficiency of businesses as well.

*About the author- Kim Alexander is a member of Teletrac’s support team serving as the Major Account Manager for Ryder System Inc.

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Government Intervention in Trucking

10/29/2015 by Parth Raval

The introduction of the ELD mandate has restarted a national conversation regarding the government’s role in private business. At its root the mandate, which requires long-haul drivers use an electronic device to record their working hours, raises a question that is as old as the American economy itself – to what extent is the government justified to interfere in private business? A question this complex does not have a simple answer.

The history of the government influencing commerce begins with the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” This “Commerce Clause,” particularly the second section concerning “the several states,” has been subject to numerous interpretations. Many of these interpretations have led to positive change. Backed by this piece of legislation, Congress has been able to fight corporate discrimination, counterfeiting, racketeering and other illegal acts. It has also been able to create the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Cabinet department that houses the FMCSA. The FMCSA is the government agency behind the ELD mandate.

Many businesses see the ELD mandate as the government interfering in their affairs, as the mandate closely monitors how drivers allocate their working time. Whether or not this interpretation is valid comes down to the balance of power that must exist between the government and private businesses.  Governments must be able to address corruption and, in the American economy, private businesses must be allowed to compete with each other. The ELD mandate does not hinder free competition. It does, however, help prevent companies and drivers from violating federal laws concerning work hours. Those laws themselves are subject to consistent discussion to ensure they accurately reflect drivers’ needs. The ultimate effect of the ELD mandate will be that companies who routinely violate federal laws will either be forced to comply or forced out of the market. Businesses should take this into consideration when researching the mandate and assessing the differing points of view surrounding it.

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The 5 Spookiest Roads in America

10/27/2015 by Sarah Barbod

As Halloween approaches, occurrences of paranormal activity, spooky haunts, and urban legends awaken. Haunted houses seem to take the limelight this time of year. But a nighttime drive can take you down roads that lead to some frightful encounters. From ghostly sightings, to mysterious moving bulbs of light, we’ve gathered the top five most chilling and bizarre stories of the supernatural on America’s highways and back roads.

5. Prospector’s Road- Georgetown, California

The legend of Prospector’s Road involves only a single ghost—a murder victim from the California Gold Rush era. During this time, bragging about riches was not acceptable. It is said gold miners would kill fellow diggers who were too ostentatious about their findings. But why does a place with just one ghost occurrence make the list of scariest haunted roads? Because this ghost speaks—reportedly appearing out of the bushes and whispering, “Get off my claim.”

4. The Devil’s Promenade near Hornet, Missouri

The Devils Promenade is the local name for a small, rural road in Oklahoma where a mysterious light has been appearing during the night. It is referred to as the Hornet Spook Light because most people who see the light are headed east, to Missouri. The mystical floating, moving ball of light of varying colors and sizes has been regularly sighted in the area for over a hundred years. Popular legend explains the light as the ghost of two Native American lovers looking for each other. Some scientists explain the phenomenon as geologic activity due to the regular occurrence of earthquakes.

3. Route 2A- Haynesville, Maine

Route 2A passes through the Haynesville Woods. It is a genuinely dangerous road, due to slick and snowy conditions in the winter. Many fatalities have occurred here over the years. And, it is said, the spirits of the dead have not left the area. Some stories involve a young woman who approaches vehicles and begs for help, then immediately vanishes. Others tell of a ghostly little girl walking along the side of the road alone.

2. Clinton Road- West Milford, New Jersey

The legends of Clinton Road range from organized crime groups dumping bodies in the woods, to bizarre supernatural pickup trucks that suddenly appear out of nowhere. The most famous story from this road is of a little boy who drowned in the rapids below a bridge. Supposedly, if visitors toss a coin into the water, the boy’s ghost will throw the coin back.   

1. Highway 666 (Now U.S. Route 491)

This road, nicknamed the Devil’s Highway, passes through Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. It has been renamed, presumably because of negative satanic associations with the old number, 666. Numerology aside, all sorts of legends have sprung up concerning the highway, from the “hounds of hell” that shred the tires of moving vehicles, to the haunted red semi-truck occupied by an evil spirit. But whether you believe in such things or not, it’s best to be cautious especially at night when some people speed through the long, rural stretches of the road with few turns. Drunk driving is also very common, as are animal crossings. Due to these conditions and the high fatality rate in the New Mexico portion, ghostly sightings and spooky activity are said to be high.

Are these roads really haunted? Or is it all just misguided folklore? 

If you have experienced a ghostly sighting or a spooky occurrence across one of America’s highways, share your story below. We would love to hear from you!

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The Changing Future Of Delivery

10/22/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

There is a shift happening in the supply chain industry. According to trends and technologies presented at this years’ McLeod Software Users’ Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, freight transportation is going through a revolutionary change with emerging competition from companies including Uber and Amazon.

How exactly can these companies influence delivery?  

Uber has shown what communication technology can do for the taxi industry. The company has always said it should not be regulated like a cab company because it is not a cab company—it is a communications service—its smartphone app helps riders and independent drivers connect with each other. Amazon is also trying similar models for delivery driving. But if Uber is not a cab company then it should have no trouble adapting its services to other markets and competing with delivery fleets, too.

We are looking at an entirely new business model where the traditional lines between industries might not apply anymore.

Just as radical a change could involve who receives deliveries of goods. Traditionally, most products have been shipped to retail shops where customers congregate to browse and to buy. Home delivery is not a new concept, but it has always been secondary. That is changing as more and more customers shop online—and as consumers get accustomed to shopping through a computer, the option of home delivery even from nearby stores has become appealing. It may be that in the future most retail stores will function primarily as mini-distribution hubs rather than as display spaces. What such a shift of emphasis will do to the trucking industry is hard to guess, but certainly the way shippers build their distribution networks will change, to the advantage of some trucking companies and to the detriment of others.

Finally, we could be looking at radical changes in what gets delivered. Three dimensional printing is now an established technology, but it is hard to predict exactly what these devices will do to the marketplace. It is certainly possible that many homes and businesses will have their own machines capable of printing a variety of goods that consumers used to have to go to the store and buy. In such a case, much of America’s shipping volume will shift over to various types of print stock, rather than finished goods. Of course there are some product that cannot be printed, such as food. Nevertheless, cargo that currently provides truckers with a lot of business may not exist in the coming years with the rising popularity of 3-D printing. 

It is hard to predict the future because unexpected opportunities, technologies and challenges can always arise. But it is becoming clear that radical change is quite possible. And companies flexible enough to adapt may do very well. 

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Combating Manager Fears- How To Tackle Driver Safety

10/21/2015 by Sarah Barbod

In our first installment of a new blog series, Combating Manager Fears, we examine the different initiatives fleet managers and government officials are taking to keep America’s drivers safe on the job.

The daily operations of a fleet involve many moving parts. And for a fleet manager, maintaining efficiency and accelerating productivity, while keeping costs down and staying compliant with government regulations, can be a balancing act.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability program (CSA) went into effect in 2010. Instead of creating new safety rules, CSA made it easier and less costly to monitor commercial truck drivers and their employers for safe practices. If a roadside inspection reveals any lapses, the driver earns points. Accumulating too many points can result in disciplinary action, up to and including being placed out of service. The points also accrue to the carrier so that companies cannot clean their safety records by letting go of unsafe drivers—nor can drivers escape bad records by switching jobs. Instead, points gradually expire over a period of years so that the longer someone goes without a lapse, the lower their score goes.

The bad news is that it’s impossible for a fleet manager to ensure safe driving without some way of tracking driver performance. Waiting for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to spot problems is not efficient, in part because by that time it is too late to avoid getting points. The other problem is, of course, that no driver gets inspected often enough to truly prevent unsafe driving habits from causing accidents.

The good news is that tracking driver performance is easy with a GPS fleet management solution. Following the framework provided by the CSA and incorporating an Hours-of-Service (HOS) solution, managers can use the CSA’s program to focus attention on the specific features most likely to incur points—and most likely to cause accidents. For example, many of the infractions that the CSA addresses involve fatigued driving. And indeed, exhausted or distracted driving is a factor in many otherwise preventable accidents. Teletrac offers an HOS solution that proactively addresses several different infraction categories while making the roads unquestionably safer.

The HOS solution is a tool that lets drivers enter and submit electronic logs from their in-vehicle displays. There is no ambiguity about whether the driver is taking his or her required rest breaks. Another tool, Safety Analytics, lets managers clearly identify which drivers have the most unsafe events, such as speeding or excessive braking, and which have the least amount. Not only can managers use that information to decide which drivers need extra training or disciplinary action, but a driver’s safety record within the company can be used as a multiplier to set base pay. Incentives like these can boost morale and remove the temptation to forgo needed rest in order to cover more ground and earn more money.

GPS fleet management systems give managers the tools they need to keep their drivers safe.

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The 10 Best Truck Stops in America

10/19/2015 by Sarah Barbod

Everyone needs to take a break during a long trip on the road. Truck stops and rest areas offer hard-working drivers a chance to relax, recharge, and even have some well-deserved fun. In between the small highway stops and fast food meals, check out some of these locations throughout the United States that help make the road seem a little more like home. 

Jubitz- Portland, Oregon

Jubitz boasts of being “the world’s classiest truck stop.” It may well be. Besides a hotel, a full-service restaurant open 24-hours a day, and fuel and maintenance services, the complex offers a movie theater and a lounge with nightly entertainment.

Little America- Little America, Wyoming

Little America is a mini-chain full of plenty of stops for both truckers and travelers to enjoy throughout the country. The large complex in Wyoming includes a hotel, an eatery, a fuel center complete with private showers and a convenience store, and a repair shop with a mechanic on call.

North Forty Truck Stop- Holladay, Tennessee

In addition to the overnight parking, the Wi-Fi, and the showers, this stop also boasts laundry facilities, a barber, and even a massage practitioner. Plus, the restaurant serves some of the best fare around and has a reputation for excellent service. Next time you are there, check out their local specialties such as fried pies.

Speedway- Disputanta, Virginia

Speedway is one of the largest, most successful truck stop chains in the country. The Disputanta location features a trucker’s lounge, a restaurant, and space for over a hundred trucks parked overnight.

Pilot Travel Center- Bath, New York

As a chain travel center throughout the United States, Pilot Travel Center has become well-known for their convenience and abundance of locations. In Bath, New York, the center provides a variety of food choices, both hot and cold, with 70 parking spaces, fueling stations, showers, wireless internet, public laundry, and much more.

Whiskey Pete's- Primm, Nevada
It may not look like a traditional truck stop, but Whiskey Pete’s offers a place for truckers to rest and recharge near the state line of California and Nevada. On top of the truck stop, there are a plethora of casinos, hotels, outlet stores and even a roller coaster next to a 24-hour restaurant, business center and gas station.

South of the Border- Hamer, South Carolina

The self-proclaimed “home of America’s favorite highway oasis” is hardly a hidden gem. With its golf course, reptile lagoon and wedding chapel, this highway truck stop has become more of a roadside attraction that people visit from around the country. And be sure to check out the 200-foot Sombrero Observation Tower if you make the trek to this Southern landmark.

Morris Travel Center- Morris, Illinois

Open 24 hours a day, the famous R Place at Morris Travel Place is one of the top truck stop restaurants in the United States. Since it’s opening in 1967, R Place has evolved into a unique restaurant that offers an exquisite bakery, homemade pastries, and its Ethel Burger, a 4-pound masterpiece.

Sapp Bros- Sidney, Nebraska

The Sapp Bros truck stops pride themselves on superior customer service that extends far beyond what one would typically expect. And the bathrooms are the pinnacle of that service for any trucker. Each bathroom offers a granite countertop and is guaranteed to be clean. If for any reason it’s not, simply push the button in the bathroom and the staff is immediately notified to come assist you!

Iowa 80- Walcott, Iowa

Finally, it’s the Iowa 80: The World’s Largest Truck Stop. You’ll find everything here from a movie theater to a wonderful trucking museum. Truckers are sure to stop by here with all of the amazing services that are available. There is also a colossal store that features three tractor trailers inside and is covered in chrome accessories. Feel free to stock up on your favorite veggies as well with the restaurant’s legendary 50-foot long salad bar.

Have you visited any of these locations? Or maybe you have recommendations of your own. Share in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you! 

*This article was originally written on 9/13/2013 by Michal Olszewski, and updated on 10/19/2015 by Sarah Barbod.

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The 6 Most Scenic Autumn Drives In America

10/09/2015 by Sarah Barbod

One advantage of driving for a living is the opportunity to explore expansive areas of the country and drive along some of the most beautiful highways. With the arrival of fall, leaves are changing and some highways have transformed into the most beautiful roads and landscapes dotted with fall foliage. This list of scenic roads was compiled based on reader studies from USA TODAY and 10Best. Time periods for peak color variations differ from place to place and year to year, but the season generally falls somewhere between the beginning of September and the end of October. Most of these roads are also great places to take a break, hop out of the vehicle and go for a walk or a bicycle ride.

6. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

The Blue Ridge Parkway is so long and goes through so many elevation changes that it doesn’t have just one foliage season—it has several. Almost any week in the fall might see somewhere along the Blue Ridge in peak color. The high elevation of the region supports some of the same species that grow up north, but look also for brilliantly yellow hickory and tulip poplar, especially in the southern end of the 469-mile-long route. For those who want to get off the paved road, there is plenty of camping and hiking.

5. Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive – Washington

The Olympic Peninsula is known for its lush evergreens, but there are pockets of bright fall color here, too. And just as impressive as its foliage is its autumnal animals are equally notable. Fall is the time to experience the bird migration, the storied salmon runs, and the bugle of huge Roosevelt elk. The 350-mile route winds through every landscape the Peninsula has to offer, from sea sides to high ridges.

4. Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, Ohio

Maples, sweetgum, dogwood, and oak give fall in Ohio a lovely variety. Hocking Hills also has caves, equestrian trails, paddling, and plenty of history to explore. This Scenic Byway is 26 miles long and a great way to explore the area, but visitors should definitely leave the road, too. Exciting options include balloon rides and a zip line.

3. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

“The Kanc,” is not just a great way to take in some brilliant New England color; this 35 mile-long American Scenic Byway winds through the dramatic topography of the White Mountains National Forest. Fall arrives early because of the high elevation, usually in late September or early October.

2. Upper Delaware Scenic Byway - New York

This Scenic Byway takes its name not from the state of Delaware but from the mighty Delaware River. Along its 70 miles, the road passes hiking and fishing opportunities, shops and restaurants, art galleries and museums. In the fall, the views of forested hills turn red and yellow and orange.

1. M-22 – Michigan

M-22 follows the shore of Lake Michigan 116 miles through wineries and galleries, and miles of beautiful trees. Yellow ashes, crimson black gum and sweet gum, and red and orange maples light up the countryside. The colorful display of leaves can last for two months straight.

What about you? Have you explored any of these roads? Are there any you want to add to the list? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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How the ELD Mandate Affects Owner-Operators

10/09/2015 by Parth Raval

It’s no secret that opinion surrounding the federal government’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is heavily divided. While some businesses have embraced the plethora of information that ELDs can provide, others are vehemently opposed to this added level of regulation. Owner-operated fleets in particular are likely to view this mandate as an encumbrance, as ELDs place more control over how drivers use their time. It is easy to understand why these fleets are opposed to ELDs. Owner-operated fleets are independent businesses that may view the mandate, along with all federal regulations in general, as governmental interference.

It is important to remember that businesses will have two years to comply with the federal mandate. It will not be an overnight change and businesses will not be found to be in violation starting October 30th. There will be time to adjust to the new rule. Once ELDs have been implemented, owner-operators can decide how involved they want to be with the generated data. They can elect to simply record their hours of service as they would on paper logs. They can also integrate their ELDs into a larger fleet management system. There is the freedom to choose within ELD technology.

A larger point surrounding ELDs is the question of encroaching on driver’s territory. Drivers who have been working for decades are comfortable with how they do their job. They do not need a computer to assist them – this is the pervading thought in anti-mandate arguments. In the end, however, the purpose of the ELD mandate is not to cancel out a driver’s experience and common sense on the road. It is to make it easier for drivers to record their hours of service and businesses to see how to allocate their resources. Owner-operated fleets can decide how much or little data they want to incorporate in their operations. The choice is still theirs. 

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Is Working After Hours The Best For Your Fleet?

10/08/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is funding a pair of studies conducted by a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and the Florida Department of Transportation to evaluate the cost-benefit of nighttime and off- hour deliveries and pick-ups.

Finding new solutions to combat the ever increasing local traffic and congested city roads is crucial to the productivity and time sensitive operations demanded from customers. GPS tracking software has been helping fleets navigate through traffic in many different road conditions at all hours of the day and night.

Carriers that use GPS tracking also keep their costs down, their deliveries on time, and their drivers happy. GPS tracking software’s primary feature is to give managers a real-time display of their vehicles’ locations. Teletrac’s Fleet Director Software offers the tool Multi-map Tile View that goes a step further by making it easy to see up to 20 different locations at the same time without toggling back and forth between separate screens. Have more than twenty vehicles? Simply drag and drop vehicles into the display in order to choose which twenty to view. Switch between single and multiple views and replay incidents at will. A good overview of where a fleet’s vehicles are and what they are doing makes clear, strategic management easier.

GPS technology is great for navigating as well. With the Send Route feature, managers can send new routes, complete with detailed directions, to drivers who are already on the road. Send Route is great for last-minute assignment changes and selecting the shortest routes to reduce drive time. The feature results in more flexible and efficient dispatch and faster, more reliable service.

Two-way Messaging helps drivers communicate with dispatch. Templates and preset “canned” messages make it easy to send common messages without having to retype the same words over and over. Free-form messages work the same way as ordinary texting—except that Two-way Message automatically turns itself off when the vehicle is in motion, to help prevent distracted driving. This feature makes management as a whole more efficient and flexible and they also allow drivers to call in if road conditions or other problems occur.

Carriers that utilize a GPS tracking system with routing, mapping, and two-way messaging tools, experience efficient, cost-effective operations, no matter the time of day.  

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