On January 10th this year, CBC News featured the following headline: Trucking company fined $1,100 after driver skips breaks, crashes fuel tanker. It refers to Pacesetter Petroleum truck that rolled on the Alaska Highway, spilling 56,000 litres of gasoline in Yukon last August.
“According to an agreed statement of facts filed in court, the company allowed the truck driver to drive too long without a break, and falsify his daily logs to try to hide it […] Court heard that the Pacesetter driver was on the road for 41 hours within one 53-hour period, and drove for at least 23 hours straight without a break. ”
Just two months prior to that, the same Pacesetter Petroleum was fined $1,250 for rusty brakes and a driver with no proof of training. As a result, the truck overturned on the highway, spilling 16,800 litres of aviation fuel, resulting in the closure of both North Klondike Highway and the Alaska Highway for hours.
The incident brings to light the far-reaching implications of driver fatigue and mismanaged vehicle health that go beyond just company losses such as financial penalties, lawsuits, employee injury payouts, undelivered shipments and unhappy clients. These safety violations, especially when carrying dangerous (flammable) goods like fuel can cause major distress to the community and the environment, including hours-long highway closures.
Cases like this highlight why mandates like the FMCSA’s Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) rule and Hours-of-Service (HOS) are a necessity. Although widely-debated, particularly among drivers and owner-operators, the ELD mandate serves the purpose of ensuring the safety and wellbeing of commercial drivers as well as protecting the community from the damaging effects of poor on-road behaviour and negligent vehicle maintenance.
However, the imposed drive time limits have exposed some intrinsic issues within the entire trucking industry in what concerns proper remuneration of drivers. This is something that companies in the sector will be forced to address sooner rather than later. However, vehicle equipment and maintenance standards are easily managed with due diligence, and there is no lack of products on the market to simplify the process.
Fleet Complete has developed state-of-the-art IoT solutions that deliver engine-connected vehicle diagnostics, predictive fleet analytics, automated maintenance alerts, and driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) that are easily managed from a desktop or a smartphone screen to ensure fleet safety at all times.
Fleet Complete also looks at ELDs differently. It developed an innovative solution for drivers to generate more revenue in a safe and ELD-compliant way. BigRoad Freight powered by Fleet Complete is an in-app platform that leverages HOS visibility from the electronic logging devices and enables drivers to book loads online to suit their available drive time. Once registered, drivers are sent push notifications that recommend loads to them with fast and convenient payments without the need for intermediaries.
For decades, technology has allowed us to mitigate time-consuming routines and find better, more efficient ways of doing things. Safety should never be compromised, even more so when your truck can affect an entire community and their immediate environment. ELDs are here to stay and not adopting the technology now will become very cost-prohibitive for both owner-operators and motor carriers. Moreover, having ELD allows drivers to get onto the digital freight brokering platforms, like BigRoad Freight, to start taking advantage of lucrative opportunities that are already on the market.