Rising Costs Prompt Technology Adoption Among America’s Truck Drivers

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Commercial truck drivers are essential. These hardworking Americans carry 73 percent of the nation’s freight by weight, whether as independent owners-operators or employees of commercial fleets.

This backbone is often taken for granted. We have become so used to seeing 18-wheelers on our roads that they are almost invisible. They are essential to the supply chain. There is no supply without them. Our nation would be crippled without them.

America must do more for them, just as one company and its fleet safety and health technology have supported these workers since 2002.

Zonar Systems began with a simple concept: electronic verification could revolutionize the way pre- and after-trip inspections, which are mandated by federal law, are performed. This would make the roads safer for all and reduce fleets’ risk of breakdowns on the road.

Before Zonar’s Electronically Verified Inspection Reports, (EVIR), all inspections were conducted with pencil and paper. Inspections could be rushed and defects missed. Compliance was also at risk.

Fred Fakkema is Zonar’s VP of Safety & Compliance. He spent 25 years at the Washington State Patrol before joining Zonar.

Safety is the primary concern of every trucker and fleet. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created a thorough pre-and post-trip inspection to give the public confidence that trucks are safe.

This electronic process can reduce inspection time by up to a third, reduce errors, and digitize records.

Each inspection zone is marked with an inspection tag.

* The driver scans each tag using a handheld scanner, or their smartphone.

* The defects are noted photos taken, and notes added.

* Each inspection area is marked with the time and date.

* After the inspection, drivers upload their results to a fleet management system.

* All repair requests are sent immediately to the maintenance and fleet managers.

This process reduces the chances of a repair order being filled in incorrectly, forgotten in a box, or simply lost in a chain.

It is a tedious process to use paper. A driver may rush through an inspection if the truck is outside in bad weather. Maintenance staff and managers have no way to tell if an inspection was performed properly.

It’s not just about safety. Zonar and EVIR reduce costs in the short and long term.

Fakkema wants us to imagine the consequences if an inspection done with a pencil missed a defect that would have put a truck on a halt due to a breakdown or a roadside check.

Fakkema claims that inspectors are empowered to take a truck off the road if they discover certain defects. If the pre-trip check is not done properly, both the driver and his employer will lose revenue and could even harm an end user’s business.

If a truck is taken out of service, it may not be able to deliver its goods on time, or even at all. The products in the truck may spoil before they arrive at the destination if the truck is carrying refrigerated goods. Delays can cause havoc on a distributor’s schedule, its customers, and the end user.

The driver’s failure to perform a thorough inspection and correct any defects is the reason why everyone in the supply chain is upset. The driver could lose his job and face a citation if he does not correct the defect.

Additional Savings

The elimination of the need to store paper records for inspections can save money. The electronic inspection of digital records retention meets regulatory requirements and eliminates the need for paper copies.

Trucking is a business where time is money. Every vehicle off the road does not earn money. Repair requests are accessed immediately and dealt with, reducing vehicle downtime and maintaining fleet health minute by minute.

Helping truckers is important

“Trucking can be a rewarding and unique occupation. It’s demanding. It takes commitment and dedication. It can be overwhelming to try to keep up with all the rules and regulations. Fakkema says that we owe it to these people to make their jobs safer and easier.”

It’s a great feeling to work for a company that puts the safety of truckers and the general public first. We are helping keep America moving, and we support the people who do it while maintaining our roads’ safety.