2017 e-Log Trucking Mandate Deadline Is Right Around the Corner

The trucking industry is ever-evolving and constantly driving forward with new technologies in tow. This upcoming December, the entire industry will take yet another step forward by way of fleet GPS tracking devices. Beginning on December 18, 2017, all freight truck operators will be required to begin using electronic logging devices (ELDs), instead of paper logs, to keep track of records.

For many trucking companies, this is nothing new. The mandate was made official in 2015, with a 2-year compliance window for freight companies and drivers. Those 2 years have gone by quickly, though! And while many have adopted the new ELD standard, some are still working to get themselves up to the new standard.

Why ELDs instead of paper logs?

The world is a digital place these days, which means paper isn’t always compatible. This is exactly the case for ELDs instead of paper logs. With an ELD, run data can quickly be exported and cataloged from an individual driver’s log, and compiled as a whole. This enables better tracking to ensure driver compliance with regulations and proper procedure for long haul trucking.

ELDs also make tracking easier on drivers. Any trucker worth his salt knows that paperwork is half the job. Rather than having to log tons of manual data, the ELD does most of the work for them. There’s about $1 billion at stake in switching to a digital logging format. It’s estimated this is how much money will be saved on time spent doing physical paperwork!

How does GPS play a role?

ELDs and GPS go hand in hand, chiefly in the role that positioning plays in logging driver data. For example, ELDs will automatically record things like date and time, engine hours and driver ID information. However, these things all need to be supported by location tracking and route data. The devices sync together and with other electronics (like the truck’s onboard computer) to provide the complete picture required for proper driver logging.

Who needs an ELD?

Just about everyone in the trucking industry needs to consider updating their rig with an ELD. That being said, there are a few exceptions—such as drivers of trucks made before the year 2000. Take a look at what the mandate has to say about specifications for drivers and their vehicles:

“All drivers are required to keep records of duty status, except drivers who (1) keep records of duty status in 8 or fewer days out of every 30 working days, (2) drivers in drive-away and tow-away operations and (3) truckers operating vehicles older than model year 2000.”

Unless you fall into one of the exemptions listed above, it’s time to start thinking about upgrading your truck to include an ELD and a relevant fleet GPS tracking device. December may be a few months away, but it’s better to get used to logging via ELD now, rather than having to make a major changeover at the end of the year. For more information, reach out to the experts at GPS Technologies today.

Passive vs. Active Tracking: How to Know Which Is Right for You

If you’re thinking of investing in a GPS tracking device, you’re probably going to run into a fundamental problem: do you need an active or a passive tracking device?

That’s right—not all GPS devices function in the same way or even in the same capacity! Knowing whether you need an active or a passive device for your purposes means first understanding the difference between the two—how they function, what features they offer, how they track and report data, etc.

Active vs. passive

All GPS devices do the same thing: they locate position relative to the world around them. But this is where the similarities end. From this core concept you can either have passive reporting or active tracking:

Both types of tracker have their pros and cons, and both serve unique purposes when deployed. Now that you understand how they function, picking the right one for your needs becomes a little easier.

When to use them

Based on the nature of each tracker, there are a few scenarios where one may be superior to the other, and vice versa. Some examples include:

Take some time to understand the nature of your GPS tracking needs before jumping into a decision between active or passive trackers. Weigh the pros and cons of both and try to understand how they fit your need for location-based data. Taking the time to ask the right questions means buying the right tracking product.

How GPS Tracking Helps Police Fight Crime

Police action is tactile and coordinated, and it’s that way for a reason: it helps minimize hostility, defuse the situation and keep any collateral damage to a minimum. Take a look at any newsworthy car chase, for example. You’re never going to see the police playing bumper cars with the fleeing vehicle! Instead, they’re blocking exits, setting down spike strips, barricading spaces and evacuating at-risk areas.

How are the police able to get so much done, in such a coordinated manner? It’s all thanks to GPS tracking devices. And it’s not just for car chases, either—GPS plays an integral role in any law enforcement action.

Gathering evidence

A known drug kingpin is hard at work managing lower-level dealers throughout the city. The police don’t have enough on the kingpin to take him down, but with more evidence of his network and cooperation of his dealers, they’ll be able to build a case.

Using GPS tracking devices, the police tag the vehicles of dealers, allowing them to mark stockpiles of drugs all over the city. Then, they plan a raid, taking major quantities of drugs into evidence and apprehending several dealers who are willing to turn state’s evidence against the big boss drug dealer.

Tracking parolees

Police want to keep track of a newly released inmate who’s getting out on parole. They have reason to suspect he may go back to his nefarious ways. They outfit him with a GPS tracking device that has a list of preapproved coordinates that are identified as unauthorized visitation places. He’s free to live his life after prison, but if he goes anywhere he’s not supposed to—any of the coordinates blacklisted by his GPS device—the device will alert police to a violation of his parole, and he’ll be back to living behind bars.

Coordination of police action

There’s a domestic dispute being called in on 4th Street, a robbery on Maple Avenue and a drunk and disorderly call from the bar on 9th Place. There are two cop cars in the immediate area of one call, but the other two calls need police presence. Using GPS, a dispatcher can locate nearby cars and send them to locations appropriately. Or, they can help coordinate existing police presence to ensure situations in multiple areas are minimized.

The modern age of police operations

GPS tracking devices can be used both actively and passively by local law enforcement. In some situations, they’re a catalyst for police action; in others, they’re the method by which a coordinated response is formulated. No matter how it’s being used, however, GPS has become an integral tool that’s deployed by police each and every day.

Without GPS we might not know the best route to take to a crime scene or where a stolen vehicle is headed. Instead of allocating time, attention and resources on finding the problem, police can instead focus on solving it in the best possible way. From saving lives to stopping crime, global positioning is behind it all.

Five Tips for Keeping Your Freight Secure

The open road may not be the high seas, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still pirates out there looking to make off with your precious cargo! Every year there are millions and millions of dollars of profit lost due to stolen freight across the United States.

From rogue drivers that load up and drive off, to truck hijackings, to products that disappear between weigh stations, money could be coming off the back of your truck quicker than you realize. Putting a stop to it demands that attention be paid to some modern freight tracking and security technologies. Take a look at a few of the simplest ways to leverage technology to your benefit, to keep your freight safe out on the open road:

  1. Keep track of your freight at all times by way of a fleet GPS monitoring service. If a truck gets stolen or a rogue LTL trucker decides to make off with your cargo, you’ll have a bead on them quickly via real-time GPS tracking. And, even if they disable it somehow, you’ll have the critical route data you need to stay ahead of them.
  2. Invest in the power of a good background check. Knowing who’s at the wheel of the truck can help you make better decisions about who’s handling your products and potential profits. Background checks will alert you to red flags that can be avoided before they become major concerns.
  3. Teach your truckers the value of safety protocols. This can be anything from parking in a well-lit area to carrying an emergency GPS transponder with them in case they’re hijacked. Locking the trailer at all times and not discussing cargo contents on the open airwaves are a couple of other smart tips to pass along.
  4. Along with a fleet GPS monitoring service, also consider RFID identification protocols. RFID uses radio waves to track assets and can be extremely useful in between truck or rail transport, such as when cargo is being warehoused. This is a great way to track down missing or stolen freight when it might be out of the hands of your drivers.
  5. Use the data you have to plan accordingly for safe routes. If you’ve had three attempted thefts at a particular stop or have heard about dangerous run-ins on a certain stretch of highway, you can set up routes and stops that avoid these areas. Modern software can even help you plan routes that avoid problem areas, while also maximizing fuel economy and minimizing mileage.

Even a single stolen load of freight can have profound consequences for your balance sheet. Taking steps to prevent cargo theft can help you stay in the black and avoid having to try and recoup losses. Invest in any of the tips above and make sure you’re being smart in the way you approach potential freight theft issues. Proactive oversight can prevent costly losses and major headaches for you, your company and your drivers. For more information, get in touch with GPS Technologies today.

Six Ways GPS Tracking Has Changed Trucking Forever

The long-haul trucking industry is something of a modern marvel. It may not seem like it, but there’s an immense amount of technology powering the fleets of 18-wheelers and transport trucks you see on the road today. Most of it involves fleet GPS tracking and all of the benefits that come with it.

Trucking is about more than just hauling products from point A to point B—it’s about getting these items to their destination quickly, safely and at the lowest possible cost. These variables and more depend on the information that GPS fleet monitoring offers. Let’s take a look at six ways GPS technology has changed the trucking industry for the better:

  1. Thanks to fleet GPS tracking, command centers can accurately pinpoint where hundreds of trucks are on the road at any given time. This is known as “asset tracking” and it helps fleet operations managers make sure all of their trucks and drivers are safe and sound.
  2. If problems on the road arise—which they often do when a driver is covering thousands of miles at a time—GPS tracking has made it possible to get them help as they need it. From directing roadside relief vehicles to a sidelined truck to helping a driver find an alternate route, GPS has made trucking adaptable at a moment’s notice.
  3. The entire scope of cost logistics has been forever changed thanks to GPS. Now, companies can figure out cost-savings and expenditures like never before by using GPS data in conjunction with things like the cost of fuel, time spent on a route or the total cost of truck maintenance.
  4. There are roughly 4.1 million miles of roadway in the United States today. Thankfully, finding the right route for a truck driver has never been easier. GPS data helps predict things like the quickest route, the safest route and more. In addition, real-time tracking can help truckers avoid things like construction and weather, further showing them the path of least resistance while they’re en route to their destination.
  5. GPS allows trucking companies to optimize their resources. Whether it’s fuel, manpower, truck maintenance or anything else, GPS data gives logistical planners the insight they need to utilize what’s available to them in the best fashion. Often, this results in saved costs and a better, safer logistical plan.
  6. One of the simplest, yet greatest ways GPS has affected the trucking industry is to help keep paperwork to a minimum! In an industry fraught with paperwork in its heyday, trucking has now become a digital industry thanks to GPS data. Instead of recording mileage logs or route plans, all of this is done via GPS and exported to the proper logs. GPS has truly brought trucking into the digital age.

There are so many more ways that GPS contributes to trucking on a daily basis—including specialty trucking operations such as climate-controlled or LTL ventures. But no matter what the load is, trucks, drivers and trucking corporations have benefitted from the insightful capabilities of modern GPS.