Drivers Letter: Todays Technology

Today’s technology brings us new devices we are dependent on to make our lives easier. Think of cell phones, instant messaging and emails. How about the new Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Mapping devices? You simply tell the device where you want to go and it will direct you to your destination. You can even ask the device for the best restaurants in town. What can be better than that? The Trucking Industry has been intergrating this new technology into the daily operation of their fleets. Some companies have readily accepted these GPS navigation devices while other companies have not. For those companies not having installed GPS in their commercial motor vehicles, consider how many of their drivers remove the portable GPS device from the family minivan, bring it to work, and use during their work day.

J & S Transport is testing different Electronic Onboard Data Recorders (EOBDR’s) being compatible with our current operating system. The installed device will include navigation and mapping in addition to recording Hours-of-Service. Until our vehicles have these devices installed, it is imperative that you understand all navigation systems are not the same. As a bulk liquid petroleum carrier, we have many route restrictions placed upon our transport vehicles. If you bring your portable GPS device from home, does it take into account these restrictions such as: vehicle length, width, height, axle weights, low bridge underpasses and hazardous materials routes? The typical GPS system consumers purchase from electronics or auto parts stores may not have installed software that allows for these restrictions; along with other information relevant to operating a commercial motor vehicle. Using routes provided by these devices can place the professional driver in a situation he may regret. We have all heard of commerical motor vehicles striking low underpasses or grossly exceeding posted weight restrictions. In the past, these incidents were attributed to the driver being off route. The excuses now include the GPS device made him/her do it.

Until our units have EOBDR’s installed with approved GPS and Mapping systems it would be a good idea to follow the driving instructions annotated on the Route Card, refering to a valid map, asking Dispatch or a fellow driver while obeying traffic signs.

I have attached a copy of a flyer the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created to make CMV drivers aware of this issue.

Be Safe!!