Sharing the Road Wisely

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, July 16th, 2015

Summertime often means camping and vacation road-trips, so we thought this was a good time to offer up some great driving tips, with a focus on how we can all do a better job of sharing the roads with our trucking and transportation friends.

First, some trucking statistics to highlight the importance of the trucking industry as well as to showcase the sheer volume of trucks that are currently navigating across the country.

Trucking

Sharing the road safely with larger vehicles requires some understanding of the limitations of large vehicles.

Give a truck the space to stop (Avoid cutting in front of a truck)

Large vehicles require more time and distance to stop. If you need to pass or merge in front of a large vehicle ensure you can see the whole front of the vehicle in your rear-view mirror before you begin pulling in front of the vehicle.

Be aware of blind spots

Trucks have blind spots (see the diagram below). Avoid driving in trucking blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in the truck’s side-view mirror, the driver of the truck can’t see you.

Blind_Spots

Wide Turns

Never squeeze between a truck and a curb, as trucks need to swing wide to the left in order to make right-hand turns. And remember, truck drivers can’t see directly beside or behind them so they will not have visibility of a vehicle that attempts to squeeze between them and the curb.

The Driver Solutions blog has a great Infographic that provides a visual representation of these tips and more.

Stay safe!

Happy Canada Day and Independence Day!

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, July 2nd, 2015

Canada_USWebtech Wireless wishes you a Happy Canada Day and to our friends south of the border, a Happy Independence Day!

And while we are wishing you happy holidays, we’d also like to wish you the safest of holidays.

Improved safety is one of several key benefits available from our GPS/AVL Fleet Management solutions. It is also one of the driving factors behind many of our customer’s decisions to implement a fleet management solution. Safety is important to us, and as a result we’d like to share a few general safe driving tips as we enter this holiday season.

Assign a designated driver

Approximately 1 in 3 collisions involve alcohol, and 1 in ten drivers after 10 pm have consumed alcohol. The Traffic Injury Research Foundation indicates most alcohol-related crashes occur during June, July, and August. If alcohol is part of your holiday season, keep yourself and your loved ones safe by traveling on transit, via taxi service or with a designated driver.

Take brakes – ensure you are well-rested

People often travel long distances when they go on holiday. Fatigue is a form of impairment, so don’t give in to the temptation to push on. Rest stops are important. A stretch break keeps the driver alert by promoting blood circulation. Ensure you’ve had a good night’s rest before a long trip.

Keep hydrated

Hydration is vital to your mind, body, skin and overall health. Mild dehydration can include a light headache, dry mouth and fatigue. Moderate hydration can include a severe headache, more fatigue and some dizzy spells. These symptoms make for unfavorable driving conditions that could also affect the safety of you and your loved ones.

Mechanical health

Before heading out, have your vehicle inspected to make sure it’s mechanically sound. Repair or replace worn parts to avoid costly and time-consuming repairs that could affect your road trip. Check your tires, replace wipers if required, make sure all your lights work and check fluid levels.

Drive defensively

Keep a steady head, and hand at the wheel and remember that a heavy foot on the gas pedal translates into a heavy gas bill. Ensure you leave a safe amount of space between yourself and the car in front of you, shoulder check and keep out of other’s blind spots.

Have fun

Most importantly, have fun and remember fleet safety is a specialty of ours. Contact us if you’d like more information on keeping your most valued assets and your fleet safe, and your fleet business operating soundly and optimized to drive increased revenue.

There’s a lot to look forward to

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, June 18th, 2015

A highlight from the BC Trucking Association AGM

Truck_blogPeter Callaghan, SVP Sales and Marketing

This year’s annual BC Trucking Association was the forum for several positive industry updates. As always, the topics were thought-provoking and representative of both the growth opportunities and challenges faced by the industry. The highlight for me, however, was the presentation given by Don Krusel, President and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

The Port of Prince Rupert was facing imminent closure in 2004 due to an almost complete reliance on the pulp and paper industry. Changing gears to focus on the processing of general goods and container transport has led to a full rebound and the Port is now on the verge of expansion that will bring more business to the transportation industry in BC, Canada and the U.S.

The Port has experienced double-digit growth since 2008, processing 181,000 TEUs in 2008 and 618,000 in 2014. TEUs or twenty-foot equivalent units describe the capacity of a container.

Mr. Krusel, who states he’s in the trade business and not just transportation alone has a lot to be excited about – the Port of Prince Rupert is now a big player in the Pacific Gateway and the Gateway is about to experience some pretty significant growth.

60% of Canadian GDP is directly related to trade amongst other countries. This business currently represents about 3.3 Million jobs.  The middle class in India and China which at one time represented about 1% of trade business is about to increase to 20 and 30% respectively. This massive middle class growth will generate the transport of more and more goods from Asia to North America and the Port of Prince Rupert is actually the closest North American port to Asia.

Additionally, the Port of Prince Rupert is the deepest, natural port with no barriers and is the third deepest port in the world. The bigger the port, the larger the vessels the port can process. Another boon for the Port, Prince Rupert has the lowest grade crossing over the Rocky Mountains, so the Port can run goods on longer trains from the Port at lower costs.

There are currently five established major trade routes in the world. The Port of Prince Rupert offers a brand new entry to the competitive trade and transportation landscape. From a business that was on the verge of closing their doors, to a business that’s creating history introducing new routes, projecting tremendous growth and competitiveness for Canada, the industry and even North America as a whole – that’s pretty impressive stuff and good news for all of us in British Columbia.

Webtech Wireless attends Government Fleet Expo and Conference

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, June 4th, 2015

Conference

As always the conference will focus on providing actionable solutions to the toughest challenges public fleets face today, and Webtech Wireless is excited to be part of the discussion!

We’ll be showcasing Webtech Fleet Center, our power-set of GPS/AVL and fleet management tools that allows government agencies to optimize their operations, be more accountable and minimize liability.

Some top issues in the industry today remain centered on efficient material management. Webtech Fleet Center has a proven track record of optimizing an agencies winter operations:

A prime example is the City of North Canton. Here’s a quick overview of how North Canton saved $300,000 in one year with Webtech Fleet Center

Webtech Fleet Center helps deliver better outcomes for your salt investment. See our white paper that identifies how you can get a better handle on salt, cut costs, reduce environmental impacts and increase customer service.

There are many more examples of how Webtech Fleet Center can help solve government agencies top pain points. Meet us at the show to learn more:

Government Fleet Expo and Conference

Colorado Convention Center, Denver
June 9 to June 10, 2015
Booth Number – #603

June 9 (11:30am – 2:30pm and  5:15pm – 6:45pm)
June 10 (11:30am – 2:30pm)

Or set up a one-to-one call

More information on Webtech Fleet Center

checklistWith winter quickly fading into the background, it may seem the wrong time to start talking about winter preparedness programs and winter operations best practices. For an agency in the process of scaling back their winter operations in preparation for spring and summer operations, it’s exactly the right time to conduct a winter operations review. What did your agency do really well this past winter? What processes need further streamlining? Was your agency well-positioned to respond to the very first winter event of the past season? Could you perhaps have done something different to ensure an even better, more effective response?

We’ve compiled a winter preparedness checklist to help you gain an upper hand over whatever winter plans to send your way next season.

  1. Login to your portal in late September to ensure all units and telemetry inputs from your plow sensors and spreader controllers are working properly
  2. Place your new hardware orders in late September so your devices are installed and ready when you need them to be
  3. Calibrate your controllers when you commission your winter fleet. Don’t assume your contractors will take care of this function. Avoid skewed data or incorrect salt application rates and associated high costs – and make calibration a requirement
  4. Submit your routes/map, data/material changes 8 weeks prior to your anticipated “go-live” date and ensure your fleet management solution grows as your city grows
  5. Enrol in a winter preparedness program and bring your “A Game” to whatever winter delivers (a good program consists of GPS/AVL inspections, spreader controller communication checks, winter operations report verification, a website audit and more…)

Need help? Webtech Wireless can step you through all the steps you can take to prepare for winter. We also have a first-rate Winter Light-Up Program that will ensure your agency is primed and ready for the first winter event of the season.

Contact us to learn more.

TheRoadAheadIf trucking is your business, then your business relies on drivers to remain in business, generate profits and gain competitive advantages. It makes sense then to do whatever you can to help your drivers optimize their time.

Webtech Fleet Center helps your drivers maximize their driving time, reduce time-consuming and error-prone paperwork and comply with FMCSA and DOT regulations.

  • Route your drivers based on what makes the most sense – their time is spent earning revenue and not wasted driving between jobs
  • Incorporate automation efficiencies whenever possible – reduce errors and paperwork and process administrative duties with the utmost speed.
  • Ensure efficient routing and navigation on truck legal roads – help your drivers determine optimal routes.
  • Optimize inspections – help your drivers simply and easily run through an inspection by providing officials only that information that is relevant to them, in a preferred format.
  • Comply with FMCSA and DOT regulations using automated HOS monitoring – help your drivers save time and avoid inaccuracies.
  • Use your driver’s time wisely with functionality like Webtech Fleet Center’s Yard Mode to automatically ensure your drivers aren’t using up their drive-time when they aren’t on the road driving.
  • Further streamline inspections with fully electronic eDVIR workflow. Inspections, repairs and eDVIR certifications can take place in the field, with no need for paper reports.

Could your drivers and your organization benefit from a solution like Webtech Fleet Center? Learn more.

Would you like like to talk with a solution expert on how Webtech Fleet Center can start working for you today?Contact us.

Agency Shares Fleet Services for Cost and Operational Savings

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, April 23rd, 2015

Share

A recent Government Fleet article showcases Camden County, GA for handing over their fleet management services to a public fleet while keeping their technicians.

After the retirement of Camden County’s fleet manager, the County established an agreement with the City of Kingsland, GA to have Kingsland’s fleet manager oversee Camden County’s fleet, fleet administration, and technical staff.

Steve Howard, Camden County’s administrator explains the project is an “interlocal agreement with the City to provide management assistance to the County.”

According to the article, Howard’s end goal is to have fleet departments of all three cities in Camden County share services and employees, build a new consolidated repair facility and establish an equipment pool – the intent, to save money and implement best practices across multiple fleets.

The benefits of sharing

Camden’s Fire Department had previously been outsourcing their fleet maintenance – now they send work to County fleet technicians, who charge less per hour than private vendors.

Also because the combined cities have more buying power, and as a result they can shop around for parts a little more.

Increased investment opportunities

The combined agencies are also able to invest in resources they would otherwise not be able to. Examples given in the article are a paint booth and a transmission flushing machine.

Why it works

The intent is to run fleet management for all three agencies like a business – seeking efficiencies whenever possible.

To read the full article click here:

Gain Government Agency Liability Protection using GPS/AVL

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, March 31st, 2015

Liability_ProtectionPresentation at APWA North American Snow Conference

Chris Jackson, Vice President Government Operations, Webtech Wireless, along with industry experts Dominic Guthrie, Transportation Services, City of Toronto, Dragan Mrkela, Highway Engineering Technician, 407 ETR Concession Company Limited, Woodbridge, ON and Dr. Wilfrid A. Nixon, PE, PhD, PWLF, Professor, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA,  will be presenting how government agencies can gain liability protection using GPS/AVL at the upcoming APWA North American Snow Conference, April 12-15, De Vos Place, Grand Rapids, MI. Attendees will learn how:

 

  • Other Government agencies are using GPS/AVL to challenge claims
  • To implement a GPS/AVL system that addresses liability concerns
  • To communicate the benefits of GPS/AVL within an agency with respect to liability

Presentation Specifics:

Date: April 13, 2015
Location: Gallery Overlook A/B – De Vos Place, Grand Rapids, MI
Time: 2:00 – 2:50pm

Presentation Summary:

By collecting information from your equipment such as speed, location, status of your plow and/or spreader, you can prove that your agency was maintaining the roads when/where an accident occurred. GPS/AVL is now becoming a standard defense tool in legal proceedings across North America. This presentation will help you determine what features to look for in a GPS/AVL system to ensure your data will be admissible.

We hope you’ll be able to attend. If you aren’t able to attend, but would like to learn more, contact us!

 

Mobile-AppThe FMCSA has just releleased a mobile app, QCMobile, that provides quick, up-to-date, safety information on commercial trucks and buses.

QCMobile (QC standing for “Query Central”) is expected to provide value to state and federal law enforcement personnel, as well as insurers, brokers, freight forwarders and anyone else interested in reviewing commercial carrier safety and performance data.

The app requires no log-in, whereas inspectors are currently required to log-in to a database to retrieve specific details. QCMobile immediately displays the current operating status of the carrier with the goal of expediting an inspection. Retrieving data from a number of FMCSA sources, QCMobile provides law enforcement officers and safety inspectors with the option of retrieving more detailed information should they require it.

The American Trucking Association (ATA), however, has serious concerns about the validity of the data, citing skewed numbers based on inclusion of accidents deemed outside of the control of the driver.

Carriers wishing to lower their CSA scores and better manage safety may find Webtech Driver Center of interest. Webtech Driver Center is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) feature-rich software application that provides automated Hours of Service, Electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports, forms and more, intuitively through a touch-screen interface.

The free QCMobile app is available for both Apple and Android devices:

Safety first…to reduce costs

Posted by: Deirdre O'Brien, March 12th, 2015

SafetyFleet safety is a hot topic. Hotter still, as we approach the FMCSA final ruling date for the mandated use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) – an initiative that’s sole purpose is to make our roads safer.

But talking about safety and doing something about safety are two different things and as a recent Automotive Fleet article points out, are quite often not as joined-at-the-hip as you might hope.

The article’s author, Mike Antich states that while many senior managers say safety is a top concern, suppliers of fleet safety programs and related services indicate the concern for safety often doesn’t translate into action.

More and more fleets are experiencing increases in preventable accidents, which statistics support, are mostly caused by driver distraction. In fact, 25-30% of all fleet-related accidents are caused by distracted drivers. These, by their very nature, are considered preventable.

The article asks a really great question too. The overall total commercial fleet accident rate averages around 20%. The author suggests we consider a manufacturing analogy – so now we are talking about a 20% defect rate. The question – what industry would view a 20% defect rate as acceptable? It makes you think right? The scenario becomes even more unreasonable when you consider again that these accidents or defects are completely controllable. How many accidents could you avoid? How significantly would you be able to lower costs? How much money would you save? And most importantly, how many people would be better off?

It’s all about Fleet Safety, and being safe reduces costs

Studies indicate accidents make up at least 14% of a fleet’s total expenses. The author of the Automotive Fleet article mentions that while a fleet manager’s job consists of reducing accident repair costs, many find it counter-intuitive that costs can be reduced by incurring expenses. To quote the article, “the real cost savings occur when you train your drivers to drive safely. If a driver training program results in fewer accidents, the payoff is tremendous.”

Focus on your drivers

Back to the fact that fleet managers focus on reducing repair costs. In the example offered in the article, you have 100 repairs for the year and you manage to reduce repair costs by $100 per repair. You have reduced your overall repair costs by $10,000. Let’s say you also manage to reduce your repair costs by $10,000 per year for 10 years straight. One lawsuit can change all that – wiping out all ten years of cost savings in the matter of a second.

So it’s really about avoiding the accidents in the first place. And the way you do this is to focus on driver behavior. There is no better tool to do this, than your fleet management solution (such as Webtech Fleet Center). As we are in the business to help commercial fleets be more safe, reduce costs and generate competitive advantages – we have a few examples (Coach Canada, Driver Scorecard blog post) of how organizations have used their fleet management solutions to better train their drivers for maximum organizational benefit. Your fleet management solution empowers you with the ability to track hard-braking, speeding and excessive vehicle wear and tear. You can now take that data and use it to educate your drivers, use it to coach, re-train and re-visit when required. Use that data to engage and reward drivers for great behavior and celebrate with them for having made such significant, positive impacts on their organization, the industry, their families and the public at large.

Do you have a fleet management solution? Now is the time to start using your driver behavior data for the betterment of your business. If you don’t have a solution, we can get you started. Contact us to learn how a fleet management solution can work for you.

To read the full Automotive Fleet article, click here