Some truckers today may be too young to remember The Jetsons, but they almost assuredly have seen a Star Trek movie or two. As technology advances, driving a big rig may seem more like driving a spaceship than an earthly vehicle. The insides of passenger vehicles are becoming more like cockpits everyday — why shouldn’t truck cabs be the same?
Many truckers are used to technology in one form or another as a source of entertainment. Long hours on the open road virtual scream for music, audio books or even phone calls home. Tech isn’t only useful for staying awake. Today’s technology is being used to keep truckers safe and in compliance with industry regulations.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) says that there are more than 3.5 million men and women driving trucks today. Truckers carry the majority of freight in the United States, and the trucking industry is still growing at a steady pace. Unfortunately, it is also said that the wages of drivers are not keeping up with the demands put upon drivers and trucking companies by federal and state regulations.
Truckers bear the brunt of high-costs of equipment, and insurance companies are facing rising costs as well. In an effort to control costs on both ends, companies are creating and implementing more technology than ever before. It’s not unusual for the smallest of trucking companies to worry about having to shut their doors due to the rising costs in the industry. Technology could be the answer.
In-cab cameras are being tested out by Wal-Mart’s truckers. Cameras can show the exact cause of an accident, possibly reducing the insurance costs associated with settlements. By testing cameras that are available on today’s market, truckers can help to determine what works and what doesn’t work. This will ultimately lead to better cameras being designed and utilized on the road.
Services like Ford’s SYNC AppLink have a variety of options that can make the job of a trucker a bit easier. Navigation maps can be projected from a smartphone to an in-cab touchscreen and drivers can pay for gas without ever getting out of their vehicles. There’s also a new app from Ford that records driver activity, aiming to lower insurance premiums.
It can easily be said that a dashcam can help to prove fault in an accident, but what about a camera pointed at the driver? Technology exists on the market that triggers a camera when there is a sharp turn, hard brake or other event. When the camera is triggered, the driver’s actions will be recorded.
When technology is embraced in the trucking industry, accidents may be reduced and insurance rates will follow. While cameras are becoming more common among truckers, soon even more tech will be utilized throughout the industry. It is expected that in the coming years, companies will be able to monitor driver fatigue, heart rate and other health metrics. All in the name of safety.
For now, one of the smartest things a trucker can do to ensure their safety is to make sure they have an adequate semi-truck roadside assistance plan. We can help you choose the right coverage for your unique driving situation.