Every industry that seeks to survive the inevitable change and progress that comes with the natural flow of things, needs to incorporate innovations, new processes, and technology in their work. The trucking industry is no different. And although at face value it appears that the trucking industry is the same as it was twenty years ago, that would be highly mistaken. Advances in technology—particularly GPS— have changed the profession, the industry, and the overall efficacy and safety. The industry that transports about 72.5% of total domestic tonnage has seen its fair share of changes recently.
Global Position Systems (GPS) and the Transport of Goods
For all of history, it has been a preoccupation of man to understand his position on this earth and calculate distances, treks, and voyages. The discovery of new lands and territories was dependent on successful journeys that could, with some accuracy, understand the road that lay ahead. Early navigators used landmarks and the cosmos to orient themselves—a tactic that would put most of us to shame today, given our dependence on easy navigation. People would depend on constellations to move through the open seas. Latitude and longitude were necessary metrics to understand precise locations on earth and maintain some consistency.
Other early navigation tools (which are still relevant today) include the handy compass, which was quite useful for many explorers and pioneers settling new lands. We have moved far beyond watching the sun and the stars these days. Global Positioning Systems have not only changed the way we navigate on our day-to-day commutes and road trips but have caused considerable differences for the trucking industry.
How GPS Has Changed the Trucking Industry
Today’s truck drivers are aided by GPS technology. The wild-haired mavericks of the 70s and 80s who were able to take detours, drive at their own pace are long gone. Not that they ever existed to that degree, but today’s truck drivers are far more closely monitored. GPS has:
- Improved overall productivity by allowing control centers and dispatch centers to monitor routes and warn drivers of upcoming traffic jams, accidents, construction detours, closed roads, etc.
- Truck drivers themselves use GPS for similar purposes, including finding alternate routes in the event of local constructions or accidents.
- It has increased efficiency when it comes to finding the best routes and keeping truck drivers accountable to consistent driving and speed limits.
Other types of trucker technology come in the form of:
- Electronic Logging Device (ELD): As part of MAP-21 was passed as a way to create a safer work environment for truckers. The regulation was also intended to make logging driving hours faster, more convenient, and pose less of a distraction for drivers. An ELD will synchronize with a vehicle engine to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status. This allows for accurate metrics and self-management. By keeping track of all kinds of data, truck drivers can better understand progress and identify areas that need improvement.
- Voice Command: So much of road safety is dependent upon maintaining well-rested and attentive truck drivers. Voice command allows the driver to perform other tasks—such as changing the radio station— without moving their hands off the wheel. Voice command is a helpful tool to keep drivers attentive on the road while having more control over other parts of their rig.
- GPS Tracking: As mentioned above, GPS is used by many truck drivers today. A GPS device is not only good for tracking the journey, but it can also provide useful information such as the price of diesel in a certain area or bridge weight. It identifies checkpoints or potential hazards on the road.
- Autonomous Trucks: There is a lot of talk out there about self-driving trucks and the technology that will displace hundreds of truck drivers in the next few years. The technology of completely driverless trucks, however, is still a long way from becoming an everyday occurrence.
The Use of Technology in Driver Training and Continuing Education
Given the nature of the virtual world and changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many drivers can be trained from the cabin through video and interactive virtual lessons. This makes training drivers easier and more convenient. It speeds up the process for drivers to learn how to use new tools, operate vehicles, etc.
Technology and Recent Changes Due to Pandemic
Truck drivers performed an essential function during COVID-19. They kept the supply lines flowing and people—many stuck in their homes and limited to their local supermarket—able to access necessary food and supplies. Of course, this has always been their job, but people really took notice when the world seemed to be on pause. Many trucking industries used technology to keep their drives safe and healthy and able to communicate. Many rest stops and restaurants were closed during that time and GPS and other features allowed drivers to learn local restrictions and regulations.
Choose a Trucking Company with Generational Experience and Innovative Ideas
Border Trucking Alliance is a family-owned trucking company that has institutional knowledge that goes back generations. We have grown with the trucking industry and are always looking to implement the newest and safest ways to improve your productivity and ensure driver safety.
Connect with Border Trucking Alliance and find out how our crew will help you with compliance in El Paso, TX and Juarez, Mexico.