For decades, trucking was regarded as a fairly low-tech industry. Drivers transported cargo from Point A to Point B while working against various deadlines and reporting to fleet supervisors. While the trucking industry hasn’t exactly been overhauled, it has undergone a number of changes in recent years, many of them rooted in new technology. Fortunately, many of these changes have proven highly beneficial to transport companies and, more importantly, the drivers themselves.
In decades past, on-the-job training was somewhat difficult in the trucking industry. Since it required an experienced driver or supervisor to literally ride along with a newbie, this type of training was something of a burden — especially when deliveries were being made to faraway destinations. To say that things have changed in this area would be an understatement. Thanks to telematics and cutting-edge vehicle tracking solutions, on-the-job training can now be carried out remotely. This ensures that new drivers can receive various instructions and pointers while they’re in the process of completing deliveries. In addition to being convenient for all parties, this approach to driver training is also highly cost-effective. Instead of training new hires, experienced drivers can proceed with their usual deliveries while trained fleet monitors tend to the training.
For a job that doesn’t require much physical movement, truck driving can wear one down both physically and emotionally. Constantly sitting behind the wheel for periods in excess of 12 hours is nothing short of exhausting and oftentimes mind-numbing. Fully aware of this problem, a number of vehicle manufacturers have begun producing self-driving trucks. These vehicles are equipped with convenient cruise control features designed to take a fair amount of pressure off of drivers. These features help trucks maintain safe speeds, remain within lines and avoid certain types of obstacles.
Of course, this isn’t to say that drivers can clock out entirely. Even with cruise control enabled, they’ll need to keep a watchful eye on the road and be ready to reassume control of the vehicle at a moment’s notice. Still, modern-day cruise control can provide exhausted drivers with a much-needed breather from the monotony of long trips.
Fewer Missed Deadlines
Modern-day fleet tracking and management software can prove helpful in reducing missed deadlines. There are a variety of reasons for which truckers fail to make deliveries on time, many of which are completely out of their hands. While it’s true that some deadlines are missed as a result of poor planning on the part of drivers, most of them can be attributed to traffic congestion, extreme weather conditions and other factors over which truckers have no control.
Thanks to advances in fleet tracking and management, fleet monitors can provide drivers with helpful pointers in real time. For example, if a monitor notices that a driver is headed for an area with intense congestion, he or she can instantly suggest an alternate route. Similarly, if a driver appears to be lost, a monitor can quickly direct him or her to the proper path.
Enhanced driver safety is arguably the most important effect modern technology has had on the trucking industry. Not long ago, if a driver found him or herself stranded in the middle of nowhere, getting the assistance they needed could prove both stressful and time-consuming. Depending on where the driver happened to be, even getting a flat tire fixed could take hours. Luckily, with advanced fleet monitoring, such incidents are now few and far between. These days, it’s possible for a fleet monitor to instantly know when a driver is in distress and arrange assistance posthaste.
It isn’t hard to see why people outside of the industry don’t equate trucking with technological advancement. On the surface, trucking seems like one of the lowest-tech professions under the sun, with drivers simply transporting cargo from one location to another and repeating this process indefinitely.
However, as anyone who’s worked in the freighting industry can attest, there’s a lot more to trucking than most people think. While the basic mission of the trucking industry remains unchanged, the methods by which said mission is completed have changed considerably. Although many of these changes required a period of adjustment, they’ve ultimately proven beneficial to both freighting companies and individual drivers.