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Trending News and Stories in the World of GPS Fleet Tracking

Eliminating Human Error With GPS Tracking Technology

08/06/2015 by Oswaldo Flores

The recent report of a Kentucky based driver involved in a nine-vehicle crash that killed six people has taken over the transportation news circuits.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) served the trucker with an “imminent hazard out-of-service” order on July 19th, barring him from operating a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce, after determining the driver had falsified his records-of-duty logs. The FMCSA also discovered the driver committed a variety of infractions, including testing positive for a controlled substance and lying about his safety record on his employment application.

Authorities were able to identify the falsified logs, and subsequent additional violations, from the vehicle’s GPS tracking system, according to the Department of Transportation. The system, monitored by the trucker’s employer, revealed the driver had been on-duty driving during hours leading up to the crash. Those on-duty hours were not recorded on the driver’s paper log.    

If it were not for the GPS tracking unit, vehicle activity would not have been recorded. In collaboration with the trucker’s employer, the FMCSA, and the Department of Transportation, the dangerous driver has been taken off of the road.

Fleet managers can avoid tragedies like this by investing in a GPS tracking solution that immediately verifies a driver’s true driving behavior. There are numerous GPS tracking solutions with different features and tools. But only a few that incorporate complete tracking solutions with paperless logs.

Teletrac offers Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) that automatically record a driver’s daily hours of service right from the in-cab display. Manual logs are gone and true vehicle activity and operational hours are recorded. With this information, safety and compliance are improved across an entire fleet. 

Fleet compliance and regulations are major concerns for businesses. While the reputation of the Kentucky based carrier has suffered, your business does not need to. With ELDs, human error is reduced and fleet managers can benefits from a variety of features:

Up-To-Date Driver Status

By viewing driver statuses in real-time, fleet managers can easily plan jobs, dispatch deliveries, maintain direct communication with drivers, and increase fleet efficiency.   

Data

Teletrac’s HOS solution provides up to eight days of driving data from the in-cab display. With these records, fleet managers can determine driver behavior, vehicle activity, and filter through metrics that are crucial to business.

Customizable Solution

With multiple drivers on a specified route, Teletrac’s customizable HOS solution accommodates slip seat operations, revealing real-time data on drivers.

Accidents such as the kind the Kentucky based driver was involved in are preventable—the regulations he violated are those designed to keep him and the public safe. By incorporating an ELD solution, human error could have been prevented and compliance could have been met. 

*About the author: Oswaldo Flores is a member of Teletrac's marketing team. He is an expert in product management in the transportation sector for the United States and Mexico.

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Delivering The Future: A Postal Service For The 21st Century

08/06/2015 by Sarah Barbod

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is going through a modern renovation thanks to the Internet. The historically traditional letter carrier service has partnered with Amazon.com to offer extended delivery hours on Sunday, including perishable packages holding groceries (available in select cities).

The Internet has fostered the growth of online retailers, and now with Amazon, U.S. postal workers will be working seven days a week.

To make the process efficient, the USPS is investing in new equipment and GPS tracking technology.  In order to track packages in real-time, the agency has devoted $200 million for new internet-connected handheld scanners. Furthermore, with over 189,000 delivery trucks nearing their quarter life, USPS hopes to replace their fleet with new vehicles configured to hold Amazon’s packages.  

As the U.S. Postal Service moves to reconfigure its business for the ever-changing and expanding e-commerce space, other businesses have been utilizing numerous GPS tracking solutions that incorporate asset and cargo tracking to help improve productivity and efficiency in their company.

One GPS tracking solution is Teletrac.  

With Teletrac’s smart tools, fleet managers can oversee remote cargo, and track the business’ trailers and assets. Protection of equipment is made easy with Teletrac’s trailer and asset tracking unit equipped with a web-based interface allowing full visibility and real-time access to the company’s assets. The unit does not require an external antenna as it contains GPS and cellular data, further securing cargo against outside interference and theft.

Teletrac Drive automates driver tasks, navigation, and communication in one easy interface. Drivers are empowered to stay guided by following a color-coded map and turn-by-turn, voice-guided directions. This advanced navigation application integrates local speed limits, road restrictions, including weight/height guidelines on city streets, helping drivers stay focused and productive.

The two-way messaging feature ensures clear communication between driver and dispatch. Fleet managers can also use the messaging capability to improve productivity by sending route information and other important information directly to the vehicle’s in-cab display. Load delivery assignments can be communicated to drivers in the nearest location to the delivery destination, saving the company money on fuel and time.  

Although the U.S. Postal Service already has an extensive delivery infrastructure, it is just beginning to update its business model with GPS tracking solutions to help adapt to new types of deliveries. Following the USPS’ example, it is becoming more common for traditional businesses to invest in new equipment and technology to move the company, and the economy, forward. 

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A Brave New Road- Modern Technology And The Combat Against Hackers

07/30/2015 by Sarah Barbod

A recent report from Wired.com revealed hackers taking control of a Jeep while it was still in motion, exploiting a security weakness in Chrysler’s Uconnect console. The hackers fiddled wirelessly with the air conditioning, the radio, and the windshield wipers, and then turned the Jeep’s transmission off.

Headlines in various publications have spread fear over this report. Yet, there is no need to be frightened. The hackers in Wired.com’s report were security professionals searching for weaknesses in the vehicle’s telematics system. They committed their tests in a controlled environment and submitted their findings to Chrysler, who quickly issued a recall.

Jeep’s Uconnect system helps drivers use Bluetooth-enabled cell phones to essentially turn the entire vehicle into a giant smartphone. And with any smartphone, they can, in principle, be hacked. Some hacks are malicious or criminal. Car manufacturers have caught on to the potential for mischief, so they are busy finding and fixing issues—just as they find and fix problems in other aspects of vehicle design.

There is no need to fear a telematics system. Automobiles have always had vulnerabilities—and auto-makers have innovated new mechanisms for combating crime. Everything from locks, to alarms, we’ve developed measures to keep our vehicles safe. Telematics vulnerabilities are new, and many times anything new can seem scary. And this hacking occurrence from Wired.com’s report should not become a regular occurrence.

There is other technology designed to equip drivers and businesses with fleets of vehicles with safety tools while on the road. Numerous GPS tracking solutions incorporate safety features and resources to better monitor drivers and help prevent accidents.

One solution is Teletrac.

The enhanced tracking features Teletrac offers make it easy to find and recover a stolen vehicle. With interactive mapping features, speeding or dangerous driving behavior that may warrant a sudden theft can be quickly detected. Recovering the vehicle within hours, rather than within days, means there is a chance of recovering the cargo as well. The transponder is typically very well hidden and tamper-proof so that thieves cannot find and disable the device. The services can include the option to set alerts to notify fleet managers if a vehicle leaves a designated area or is activated during non-scheduled hours.

Improved communication between the driver and dispatch also means the fleet manager can respond to emergencies immediately instead of only noticing a problem hours later when the vehicle doesn’t arrive as scheduled—that can be a life-saver in the event of a medical emergency or a hijacking. The driver can call in to update the schedule in the event of bad weather, instead of risking driving through dangerous conditions.

While the transportation industry may have new vulnerabilities arising with the evolving landscape of technology, we also have the security of GPS tracking software to look after drivers and their equipment.

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How An IT Company Improved Business Efficiency

07/30/2015 by Sarah Barbod

Finding the right GPS tracking solution for your business, no matter the size of fleet, can sometimes be a time consuming process. And with evolving technology constantly pushing its way into business, companies in need of vehicle tracking systems need a reliable platform that can adapt to their maturing fleet.

For Cheri DeRamus of LEK Technology Group in Alabama, incorporating a GPS tracking solution in her business began as a simple checks and balances in order to “keep the employees honest,” she said. LEK Technology Group is a structured cabling and information technology company, and the workers often go straight to the worksite in the morning without stopping at the office. When they are done on a project for the day, they simply go home. Cheri wanted some way of verifying her employees’ work schedule and location status.

Originally, LEK Technology Group was utilizing a GPS tracking provider that did not mature with company’s needs. Coupled with some unsatisfactory customer service and poor pricing options, Cheri recently made the switch to Teletrac’s Fleet Director system, and uncovered the new features and savings she never received with her previous GPS tracking provider.

In addition to keeping employees truthful, with Fleet Director Cheri gained customer honesty as well:  “I have had [a customer] say [my worker] wasn’t there [at the job site] that long, so I have had to pull a report from my GPS system to prove to my customer my vehicle was there for the period of time in question,” claims Cheri. With vehicle activity statuses, Cheri was able to view activity logs of particular vehicles in her fleet on a map showing the exact location and specific time frames the vehicle was operating at a location.

Equally as important as tracking driver locations and customer claims, Fleet Director’s insurance benefit was one of the main reasons Cheri switched LEK Technology Group’s GPS tracking service to Fleet Director: “Teletrac is the only company out there that I will get a discount for using the product. That’s very important, because it’s going to save me money. Right now I have seven of [Teletrac’s units] on seven of my vehicles. So I’m going to get a discount from my vehicle insurance just by having [Teletrac’s GPS tracking units] on my vehicles,” said Cheri.

LEK Technology Group is still new to Fleet Director. But looking to the future, Cheri would like to incorporate other features from the system into LEK’s business, including equipment and cargo tracking, “I didn’t realize there were things you could put on the system like your tools, your equipment, to [track] them as well. So that is a whole new ball game for me. We haven’t even moved that route yet. But I do see it down the road. I think stuff like that is just awesome and amazing how technology has moved over the years.”

There are numerous GPS tracking solutions that incorporate driver behavior tracking, vehicle status reports, and cargo tracking. But only one that matures with your business’ growing needs.  

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Fleet Data Simplified With GPS Tracking Software

07/26/2015 by Shelley Lynch

Businesses everywhere are becoming more data driven than ever before. And interpreting data to improve your business can be a challenge of its own.

In the transportation industry, there are certain data tools that can provide information on a fleet to help carriers make better business decisions, improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, and improve driver safety. These tools can be fine-tuned and easily interpreted with the help of a GPS fleet and asset tracking solution.

These four GPS tracking features provide ways to build a strong fleet business:

Maintenance

Missed or delayed maintenance is expensive. A vehicle cannot operate efficiently if it is not in good condition. On the other hand, taking a vehicle out of service so it can go in the shop also carries some cost. It’s important, therefore, to perform maintenance on time. Teletrac’s Fleet Director software offers vehicle maintenance features that enables fleet managers to keep track of which vehicles need certain services and when, from tire replacement to oil changes. Meanwhile, the vehicle services report provides engine data in real time so that managers can spot potential problems before they become overwhelming.

Compliance

Hours Of Service (HOS) compliance is a big part of avoiding expensive regulatory violations. HOS also serves as a critically important guideline for safety, since overworked, exhausted drivers are a danger to themselves and others on the road. Teletrac’s electronic logging devices (ELD)and HOS software not only make compliance more simple for drivers, but also allow managers to see the status of each driver in real time—the system can even keep track of multiple drivers sharing the same truck.

Safety

Another important feature is Safety Analytics, which tracks and records instances of speeding, excessive acceleration, harsh braking, and other unsafe behaviors. Fleet managers can use this information to improve driver training, or take serious disciplinary action with an employee. For example, if a driver runs a red light, the manager can give the driver an opportunity to discuss the situation. Those who make a habit of unsafe behaviors can be targeted for additional training. The safest drivers in the fleet can also be identified, recognized, and rewarded with higher pay or other incentives.

Carbon Footprint

Safe driving, like well-functioning vehicles, also translates into lower fuel use, which means less greenhouse gas emission and lower fuel costs—a definite win for everyone.

Maintenance schedules and costs, fuel, regulatory violations, and safety problems can all be overwhelming to manage at one time. Translating this data and managing a fleet at the same time does not need to be challenging. Teletrac’s award winning softwareFleet Director, has consistently delivered value to businesses of all sizes. The interactive data makes it easy for fleet managers to go beyond track and trace, and drill down to the smallest of metrics. 

*About the author- Shelley Lynch is Teletrac’s Vice President of Emerging and International Markets. She is an expert in fleet tracking requirements in the government sector.

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Tracking Thieves With GPS Software

07/25/2015 by Marco Encinas

Catching criminal activity can be a long and strenuous process. Recently, after a multi-year investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in collaboration with various state and local police forces, eight men have been indicted on charges of interstate cargo theft. Traveling to more than nine states, it is estimated over $17.5 million of merchandise was stolen through the organized crime of these eight men.

The group appears to have worked by surveying distribution facilities in order to identify certain trucks for their target, and then following the truck until the driver stopped to rest or refuel. Once the driver was out of view, the thieves would quickly empty the truck, or steal the entire tractor-trailer.

According to FreightWatch International’s U.S. Annual Cargo Theft Report, thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their crimes, as demonstrated by the eight men detained by the FBI. Although the actual number of thefts has fallen in recent years, the value of stolen goods has increased with food, drink and electronics topping the list at a combined percentage of 35 percent of common stolen cargo in the United States. Criminals are getting better at selecting high-value targets.

Most of these crimes happen while the truck is stationary and unattended, while no one is watching.

But, is there a way to provide surveillance of loads even when the driver is unavoidably elsewhere?

With a GPS tracking system, carriers can prevent theft and recover their assets remotely, even while drivers are away.

Teletrac offers a simple solution for fleet owners to monitor and track their assets in real-time, immediately detecting any wrongful use with its geo-fencing and alerts features.

Geo-fencing allows fleet owners to create invisible perimeters around a location where their vehicle is designated to operate. If a vehicle leaves, enters, or commits other activity around this zone, fleet owners can view activity in real-time on their interactive map from the comfort of their office.

This, however, does not mean all eyes in the office should be glued to a computer screen all day watching their fleet in an effort to catch poor driver behavior or theft. By configuring the geo-fence feature to an alerts tool, fleet managers and other office personnel responsible for particular vehicles can be immediately updated via SMS and email about vehicle-related action, including speeding, idling, and unauthorized vehicle use.

This tool can be further configured to define hours of use per vehicle. Fleet managers can set certain time periods for vehicle operation. When a vehicle is used outside of an authorized timeframe, Teletrac’s GPS tracking system will send an automatic alert to the fleet manager.

These features are helpful tools to find thieves and bring them to justice, just as one Teletrac customer recently accomplished. Additionally, GPS tracking systems can pose as possible deterrents to future criminals as the technology becomes more and more commonplace in the industry. More importantly, time is of the essence in these situations. Especially since almost 20% of stolen cargo last year was food and drink—all perishable items if not cared for properly.

By closing off avenues to crime, Teletrac’s GPS system provides fleet managers with peace of mind and makes it easy for carriers to focus on business, rather than theft and security.

*About the author: Marco Encinas is a Marketing and Product Manager at Teletrac. He is an expert in the GPS fleet and asset tracking field. 

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The Long Commute To Drive For A Living

07/21/2015 by Sarah Barbod

The road can be hard on a driver’s body. The long hours sitting behind the wheel are not just exhausting, but can also be physically demanding over time—sitting for hours on end, unlike manual labor, does not build strength or endurance, yet can cause physical stress. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals high rates of obesity among long-haul truck drivers. Obesity can be the catalyst for other health related issues including sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

With Hours of Service, drivers are regulated to properly record their working hours. Yet, to arrive to the base of operation, many drivers commute from their home or other place of rest to begin their workday. The commute and any extra hours on the road only add to the intense driving schedules many drivers already work. These long hours can develop into dangerous driving habits and safety hazards initiated by fatigue.

Many times, it is unknown how often drivers commit long commutes to arrive to their place of work. That is why Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced legislation that would, among other things, require a study of excessive commuting to properly analyze the risks drivers face upon arriving at, and departing from, their full day’s work. There have been serious, even fatal accidents in which driver exhaustion was the root cause of the accident.

Some carriers are combating driver fatigue by incorporating a GPS tracking solution that can help route deliveries quickly to reduce drive time, and remotely program a driver’s in-vehicle navigation to select the best routes. The technology can also allow route assignments to drivers who are already in the area of delivery, instead of dispatching the job to a driver who is hours away. By helping drivers route their jobs in real-time, the extra driving burden can be lifted from the driver.

Keeping drivers informed and guided while they are on the road can also help reduce stress and improve efficiency. With a two-way messaging system, communication between driver, dispatch, and a fleet manager are open and direct. Not only can dispatchers send updated routes to drivers via a two-way communication tool, but drivers can also send automatic updates to the office in case they are delayed in a job-site arrival, departure, or other details of the job that are critical for a fleet manager to be updated on in real-time.

Senator Booker’s proposal for a study on driver commuting is still in the works. But for now, drivers don’t need to be alone on the road. With easy routing and two-way messaging tools, a team can stay connected no matter how many miles are between them.  The more smooth and efficiently run a workday is, the better a driver can handle long commutes and demanding work schedules.

 

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How A Telematics Solution Can Help Reduce Insurance Premiums

07/20/2015 by Sarah Barbod

As trucking technology continually evolves, so does transportation legislation. In an effort to “modernize truck safety standards”, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced a bill aimed at saving the lives of truck drivers. His proposed Truck Safety Act (S. 1739) would require:

  • Collision avoidance systems such as forward collision warnings and lane departure warnings for commercial motor vehicles
  • Speed limiting devices that automatically prevent speeding for all commercial vehicles
  • Driver compensation per hours worked, instead of the current industry standard of per mile compensation which incentivizes overwork
  • A study on the effects of excessive commuting, including whether long commutes for drivers to and from work contribute to dangerous exhaustion on the job
  • An increase of minimum insurance from $750,000 to $1.5 million per truck in order to keep up with inflation. The Secretary of Transportation would also have the authority to raise the insurance minimum as needed.

Truckers have a tough job. They work long hours to deliver goods that the public depends on, and maintain the U.S. economy moving at a strong pace. But many times, to make deliveries in a timely manner, the safety and security of drivers are put on the line.

The technology proposed in Senator Booker’s legislation—collision avoidance systems and speed limiting devices—are each expected to increase safety on the road by sending automatic alerts and preventing drivers from exceeding design limits on tires.

Furthermore, changing the standard to hourly payment for drivers would take away the financial incentives that lead many drivers into unsafe and exhausting behaviors. Driver fatigue can be further exacerbated by long commute time. The results of a study on excessive commuting as proposed by Senator Booker could provide key insight into additional driving truckers are performing before and after they clock in for a day’s work.  

Most importantly, increasing the insurance minimum should allow truckers to be more responsible users of the road. Since the insurance minimum has not increased in a generation, the amount of coverage each driver carries has effectively shrunk. The Truck Safety Act could correct the problem, adjusting to inflation and bring the minimum back up to where it should be.

With a higher insurance minimum, the premium will naturally increase as well. And for a carrier, that increase can strain a budget. But there are ways to soften the blow.

Carriers that incorporate telematics services, including Teletrac, can see dramatic improvement in safety, reducing liability risk and costly premiums. With management tools that provide visibility over an entire fleet of vehicles, monitoring driver safety and unauthorized vehicle use is made easy.

Teletrac’s Safety Analytics Event Viewer automatically records vehicle activity enabling carriers to dispute claims and win. This feature in Teletrac’s software has been recognized by the nation’s top insurance carriers as a risk management system, helping carriers prevent unnecessary costs, accidents and vehicle abuse.

One particular partner, Citroën, released the first consumer vehicle with free, standard fit telematics-based insurance solution to help their drivers create safe driving habits, and in turn gain improved insurance rates. Teletrac’s solution works across industries—small or large.

While in its infancy, we’ll have to wait and see the outcome of the Truck Safety Act. But its intentions seems positive. By incorporating the latest technology to help reduce accidents, road violations and possible theft, insurance premiums are lower and carriers can experience an overall larger discount with their insurance plan, and safety across their entire fleet. 

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Helping Drivers Complete DOT Inspections

07/19/2015 by Sarah Barbod

New technology seems to be popping up in every business and government agency in recent years. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has revamped its inspection process with a new tool that they hope will speed the inspection process. They are piloting a program in Arizona using technology to pre-inspect all trucks and identify which trucks need to enter a full inspection.

The state is planning three such electronic inspection sites, each one along a major route for truck traffic. At each site, sensors buried within the roadbed will be able to automatically depict if passing trucks are compliant or not. Furthermore, roadside cameras will be able to identify information about each truck and run it through the DOT’s database to check whether the driver has all proper paperwork on file. When the system identifies a problem, it lights a pair of electronic signs directing the driver to pull into a nearby inspection station.

The system only operates when the associated inspection station is open. Trucks that pass their inspections can go on their way without incident.

The electronic inspection sites are not yet operational, but the cameras are already up.

Regardless of highway cameras and sensors, fleet managers can ensure their drivers are compliant with Teletrac’s GPS fleet tracking software.

Teletrac keeps paperwork an easy process by automating record-keeping and providing simple, electronic forms. Lost or forgotten forms largely become a thing of the past. Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) offer electronic vehicle inspection reports that drivers can complete right from their in-cab. DVIR features the Department of Transportation’s mandating logs that detail the vehicles’ daily safety issues and vehicle operation.  The process is easy for drivers. The service also makes it possible for fleet managers to check up on drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS) compliance in real time so they can spot violations quickly and correct them just as fast.

Additionally, these tools make it possible for fleet managers to identify vehicles that need urgent or routine maintenance. Catching repairs before vehicles break down can save big in the long term. And in case a fleet manager needs to pull up inspection reports from the past, or organize them for the future, reports can be filed electronically for daily, weekly, or monthly. Perhaps most importantly, fleet managers can identify the safest, most compliant drivers and reward them with incentives, thus increasing driver retention and building a stronger workforce.

No carrier wants its drivers to get a violation from the DOT. With GPS tracking software, carriers can help drivers with electronic tools that can make their job more efficient and automatic. 

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Driver Recruitment- How To Keep A Competitive Edge

07/18/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

The US trucking industry has recovered well from the 2009 recession, adding jobs and increasing pay consistently over the past five years. In recent months, growth has sped up dramatically, adding 7,400 workers to the industry in June alone, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The trucking industry has marked an important milestone, now employing more people than it did before the recession.

However, before celebrating this victory, there is still work to be done. The economy has picked up at a rate where the trucking industry cannot fulfill demand. And American trucking is still short 35,000 to 40,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).

Better pay and improved benefits have acted as a catalyst in this new wave of driver recruitment and recent growth in employment. In comparison to past years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics counted a total of 13,000 jobs added in the spring of 2013, among the 100,000 carriers it tracks. That is a respectable number, but it was topped in the spring of 2014, which saw 15,700 jobs added. These figures were in turn dwarfed by 2015, in which in the same three month period 18,900 new jobs were added.

Don’t let the numbers fool you. The driver shortage crisis still exists. And for many carriers, the booming employment numbers mean that finding and retaining talented drivers just got competitive.

Businesses everywhere are incorporating the latest technology to better their operations. For a trucking fleet, incorporating GPS tracking software can open opportunity to successfully compete for new talent.

In order to offer higher driver salaries, some carriers have to compensate their budgets in other areas of operations. However, carriers that use GPS tracking software can almost immediately see a substantial savings in their fleet with actionable data that encourages the chances of maintaining a strong workforce.

Among some of the greatest costs a fleet can accumulate are excess vehicle usage resulting in high maintenance costs, and fuel waste due to speeding, idling or harsh braking. Tracking these business inefficiencies with a wide range of shareable performance reports and replay safety events can help improve training and coaching drivers to improve their performance. They can also give insight to fleet managers to identify which drivers are performing well so that they can be rewarded with driver incentives.

Other helpful tools include two-way messaging where drivers can quickly communicate with dispatch while out on the road and avoid unnecessary routing that can cause major delays. GPS tracking software can also provide electronic driver logs and vehicle inspection reports that can be automatically submitted straight from the in-cab tablet, eliminating timely paper logs.

Combating driver shortage does not need to be difficult. GPS tracking software offers an opportunity to automate everyday tasks that may cause delays in service and driver frustration.

 

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Uber For Trucking?

07/17/2015 by Caroline Ailanthus

Technology is constantly changing and adapting to new trends across industries.   

The trucking industry in particular is welcoming an on demand technology service, similar to Uber that will help shippers connect directly to independent truck drivers. Uber, of course, is a popular rideshare service that competes with taxicabs by helping riders connect with available independent drivers. Their mobile app streamlines the process and introduces the user to a wide pool of potential drivers.

Cargomatic, a technology company in Southern California, is proposing an Uber-esque style of trucking.

With similar technology to Uber, Cargomatic automatically syncs shippers with independent truckers who have extra capacity. Traditionally, shippers that used independent drivers did so only within the small pool of people they already knew. To be considered for jobs, drivers had to develop and maintain professional relationships with specific shippers, a time-consuming process and one not guaranteed to result in regular work.

Although this system is in its infancy, the telematics technology can be streamlined by not only giving shippers access to a much larger pool of potential (and vetted) drivers, but also by identifying which drivers are currently nearby and available to work. The service could give shippers the benefits of a dedicated fleet but the flexibility of working with independent truckers.

This is a new feature for trucking and can serve as a future iteration of telematics software. It has the potential to reduce inefficiencies by coordinating shippers and cargo, and simultaneously providing visibility to this movement.

If all of this sounds familiar, there’s a reason.

Cargomatic proposes to use some of the same technology already used by Teletrac. Not surprisingly, the two systems offer some of the same benefits, especially in terms of routing efficiency—with Teletrac, dispatchers can easily see where vehicles are at all times, allowing them to assign routes to the drivers who are already in the right area. If a driver unexpectedly has extra capacity or otherwise has a change of delivery, he or she can easily message dispatch and get additional assignments.

Teletrac offers a group of fleet-management tools that provide deep insight into a vehicle’s needs including: maintenance, government regulation compliance, safety analytics, and complete vehicle diagnostics. This suite of features allows carriers, big and small, grow with their fleet, solve complex problems, and better equip their business for the future. 

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Are ELDs Good Or Bad For Business?

07/16/2015 by Oswaldo Flores

Businesses everywhere are looking to keep operational costs low. But for smaller trucking companies, fluctuating costs of fuel, driver shortage, and regulatory compliance makes it difficult to even stay in business. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) reports more and more small carriers, averaging 30 trucks or less, are going bankrupt.

One culprit, they claim, is the enforcement of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) by federal authorities that make recording hours of service (HOS) easier and more reliable. 

With ELDs, drivers enter their daily hours from an in-cab display, eliminating paper logs of the past. A clear record of all hours for each driver is stored in the electronic logbook, ensuring drivers and carriers are compliant and safe.

However, since HOS rules regulate the number of hours a driver can operate a vehicle, many of these small carriers saw their vehicle operations drop. Drivers were earning less miles and less money, and many decided to quit. Operational costs were further raised for carriers when they had to hire and train new drivers, often at higher salaries. This financial strain took a toll on a reported 390 small trucking companies, according to Rosalyn Wilson, author of the CSCMP’s report.

It is a rocky time for the trucking industry. But not all carriers are subject to HOS compliance. There are certain HOS requirements that apply to drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that weighs 10,001 pounds or more, transports hazardous materials in a load that requires placards, is used to transport nine or more passengers, and other requirements. To view a full list, check out the FMCSA’s website.

But ELD’s and HOS compliance were put in place to make driver health and safety a priority, and to ensure carriers are not overworking their employees.

The trucking industry, regardless of operation size, cannot ignore safety. Too many stories of driver fatigue and deathly accidents brought about regulations, like HOS. And adapting to government regulations that protect the health and safety of its employees and the general public on the road is of utmost importance in any business.

By incorporating an ELD solution, accurate and fast data entry is at the touch of a driver’s fingertips. The data is automatically recorded and transmitted to a fleet manager’s tablet or desktop for easy-to-use information gathering. An ELD solution can also make it easy to identify the most talented, safety conscious drivers, rating their performance and giving incentives for improved driving. Additionally, identifying drivers who do not comply with company and federal regulations is clearly recorded. For example, drivers who do not complete signatures on their HOS log, or fail to take a lunch break, is all automatically documented. 

Overall, driving safely and under federal compliance can pay off on the road, and in a driver’s wallet.  

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