Going Digital: How the Trucking Industry Is Becoming More Efficient

Going Digital. How the trucking industry is becoming more efficient - 13.03.2020

An industry with more than 1.8 million drivers, trucking has been transformed by the tech trend. Truck drivers are using everything from electronic logging devices (ELDs) to driver communications and dashcams to manage operations. All of this leads up to a lot of big data being captured. What is happening to ensure drivers are able to use this monitoring technology, and how is the behavior data being utilized? Take a closer look at the changes to the trucking industry in 2020 as a result of driver behavior monitoring technologies.

Electronic Logging Devices

The most prominent way that the trucking industry is gathering data among commercial truck drivers is with electronic logging devices. ELDs are mandated by most commercial drivers including those grandfathered in with the automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs). Hours of service information is captured in these devices both through tracking the engine history of the truck, as well as with direct driver data entry.

ELDs are listed on the Registered directory maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To see what kind of data is gathered by these ELDs, check the list of registered devices to download a user manual. All of the driver behavior data collected by ELDs are sent to the FMCSA and Department of Transportation using Bluetooth, USB, or email. These digital records are stored by the FMCSA and contain valuable truck driver behavior data.

Theoretically, this data will be put to use to determine better ways to drive safely on America’s highways and byways. We also have to be aware that there is the risk that this data could be stolen during a cybersecurity attack, which is increasingly an issue across all industries. Protecting this driver behavior data must be a top priority for the trucking industry, especially at the legislative level starting with the FMCSA.

Trucking Apps

Another way that truck drivers are sharing their behavior data is with trucking apps. There are so many truck driver apps on mobile phones and tablets that are useful--and just as many that are distractions. Plus, drivers are often unaware of what data and driving information, such as geo-location, they share with these apps. The most popular trucking apps tend to cover:

  • Finding truck driver-friendly parking
  • Monitoring low diesel fuel prices
  • Nearest truck stops and rest areas

All of this information is quite useful especially for over the road truck drivers. Some of the most popular trucker apps are:

  • Google Maps
  • Trucker Path  
  • Gas Buddy
  • PrePass MOTION
  • TruckMap
  • Truckloads

Truck drivers also use apps from truck stop chains, such as Love’s Connect and Pilot Flying J, in order to maintain rewards. This is where drivers are able to use their app to start paying at the pump for diesel and to request a truck driver shower. Truckers also save time and money by using these app-based rewards programs to track spending in order to get rewards. These rewards can be cashed in for coffee, iced beverages, showers, and general merchandise. 

While it is a great way to save for truckers, these apps are also monitoring the location and spending habits of truck drivers. Privacy concerns may be on the table in the future. For now, truck drivers and carriers should monitor each of the apps operated and monitoring data on their devices fleet-wide.

New Driver Training

In order to ensure all new commercial truck drivers are capable of handling the technology that is coming out, commercial driver training is now mandated. The FMCSA set the entry-level driver training (ELDT) rule, which states training is required for:

  • First-time Class A and Class B drivers
  • Renewing hazardous materials (H), passenger (P), or school bus (S) endorsements

This training “enhances the safety of commercial vehicle (CMV) operations on our Nation’s highways by establishing more extensive ELDT requirements.” In these courses, drivers will be instructed on the basics of operating a commercial vehicle and cargo. The latest technology, specifically electronic logging devices, will also be covered to ensure truck drivers can properly submit hours of service log reports. 

Training is a great way to ensure all new truck drivers are capable of handling trucking jobs that are increasingly technological. Truck drivers and carriers should also be aware of just how much of their driver behavior data is being captured and used by third parties. The cyber risks associated with openly sharing commercial driver data must be matched by the increased efficiencies that this technology affords the trucking industry and society as a whole. 

Funding the transition

Even though all these new technologies will be common eventually, at the time it is costly to upgrade and purchase equipment, it requires a high investment as well as training for new users. With a steady cash flow, it´s easier and faster to transition and enjoy the benefits of having real-time information on the operation as an early adopter. With Summar Financial, you can get funded as fast as in 2 hours. The money you receive from factoring can cover those new upgrade expenses. We also offer a fuel cards program which is a cost-effective way to fill up your tank and save.  

All you need to do is choose Summar as your factoring partner, give us a call or fill out our form and watch the money be deposited into your account. We can help you get started.

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