Truck drivers spend a lot of time away from home. It’s not uncommon for new drivers to be away from home up to a month at a time; with no friends and family around, it can be a pretty lonely existence. But technology is making those long-haul journeys a little more tolerable … and safer.
From smartphone apps to online safety courses, there are plenty of technological resources available that can help truckers on the open road.
Truck drivers don’t like to waste time on the road, but when they stop at busy weigh stations and have to wait for a paper ticket showing their truck’s weight, they can lose an hour out of their day. Now, CAT Scales – which has 1,450 weigh stations nationwide – makes it easy for drivers to get in and out of weigh stations quickly.
With CAT’s smartphone app, “Weigh My Truck,” truckers can drive onto a CAT scale, pay the $10 scale fee and receive their trucks’ weight instantly on their smartphones. Drivers also can have copies of scale reports mailed to their managers.
Drivers have a lot of time to kill when they’re on the road. Now, they can use that time to learn about issues that directly affect them. The American Transportation Research Institute has launched a website for its North American Fatigue Management Program. The site features fatigue management training for drivers, their families and other members of the trucking industry, along with information on sleep disorders. Courses range from 30 minutes to three hours.
Changes in hours of service regulations have made some truck drives uneasy; no one wants to risk running afoul of the law and getting hit with a fine. Electronic driver logs can help drivers stick to schedules, and with remote monitoring capabilities, fleet managers can make sure drivers are getting adequate rest between shifts.
Quick Access to Information
Available for Android and iOS, the “Truck Stops” app allows truckers to access information about rest stops, truck stops, weigh stations, diesel fuel prices and Wal-Mart locations. Drivers can read details about truck stops, such as whether showers and laundry facilities are available. Users can also post comments about destinations, so truckers can share additional information.
Advances in Safety
Technology that keeps drivers safe can be integrated into truck cabs, but when features like lane departure warnings or tire pressure warnings work independently of each other, the alerts may be distracting – and dangerous – for drivers. That’s why truck manufacturers are beginning to offer new safety features that work harmoniously.
Volvo Trucks North America has developed a warning system that’s integrated into the dashboard and gives drivers specific information about what’s happening, rather than a series of random beeps. If a driver is nearing the right shoulder of the highway, a rumble strip sound will come through the speaker on the right.
Look for more companies to develop technology similar to Volvo’s, as trucking safety becomes a bigger priority.