Long haul trucks have been on the roads for almost as long as America has had freeways, but today’s truckers are making use of technology more than ever before. From products that help them stay alert to those that help them conform to government regulations, technology is becoming a vital component of the modern semi-truck, yet many people have no idea of the way it impacts those who share the roads with them every day.
Hours of Service Compliance
The Department of Transportation has strict guidelines as to how long drivers of commercial motor vehicles can be behind the wheel of a truck without a break. These laws, known as hours of service regulations, are designed to keep everyone on the road safe by preventing overly tired drivers. Trucking companies need to be certain that their drivers conform to these regulations, or risk serious fines and penalties.
While manual logs are accepted by law enforcement officials, they are cumbersome and can be inaccurate. Now, trucking companies can use hours of service monitoring technology to monitor their drivers’ hours, leaving the drivers to focus on safe driving rather than accurate record keeping. These programs connect the truck to software controlled by the fleet manger and dispatcher, so management can track and control the number of hours the truck is on the road. It also maintains an accurate digital log of the hours of service for the company’s records.
Drowsy Driver Alerts
Long haul drivers face a serious risk of becoming drowsy and falling asleep at the wheel because of the long hours they put in and the monotony of some stretches of the road. On-board driver drowsiness detectors can save lives by alerting drivers to their drowsiness and also sending an alert to the dispatch team. These systems detect driving performance measures, such as drifting to the side of the road and then jerking back to center, as well as physical signs, like drooping eyelids. If a driver’s behavior indicates drowsiness, the system will send an alert to the truck.
Centrifugal Oil Cleaning Systems
Getting regular oil changes can be one of the more time-consuming tasks of the modern trucker. The long roads they travel mean the oil needs to be changed frequently, and this increases expense and cuts down on efficiency.
One innovation that has been gaining popularity is the centrifugal oil cleaning system. This system is installed on the engine and actually recycles the oil, removing contaminates so it can safely be used multiple times. This not only saves time and money for the driver or trucking company, but it also helps protect the environment by recycling a potentially environmental contaminant.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid
Trucks are responsible for a large percentage of the world’s air pollutants, and diesel exhaust fluid, a vital component in selective catalytic reduction (SCR), helps lower nitrogen oxide levels in the vehicle’s exhaust. In fact, Integer Research felt that SCR and diesel exhaust fluid, combined with engine components like exhaust gas recirculation, were the only ways for trucks to meet the current EPA and Euro 6 emissions standards for tailpipe emissions without cutting into the efficiency of the vehicles.
Whether keeping truckers and other drivers safer or helping to protect the environment, these technological breakthroughs are becoming second nature to today’s on-the-road truck driver. An increasing emphasis on tech should continue to improve the outlook for those who drive for a living, making the trucking industry more effective, more environmentally friendly and much safer overall.