Ask any trucker and he or she may agree that the trucking industry is often underrated. Think about all the goods and services you use on a daily basis. Without the trucking industry, we wouldn’t have all the essentials and luxuries at our disposal. However, the hardworking and reliable industry as we know it is starting to change and that may affect how and when we get our needs met. In an industry that, for decades, relied on trustworthy and capable drivers, technology is stepping in and taking over some of the responsibility. Here’s how technology could change the trucking industry:
For decades, truckers have been responsible for logging in their hours of service (HOS) on paper and submitting them to the company. Now that electronic logging devices (ELD) will become a mandatory method of logging and replacing paper logs, many seasoned drivers may be looking for another job. The purpose of the ELDs is to not only automatically record accurate HOS, but to monitor engine hours, vehicle movement, miles driven, and location information. With the use of ELDs truckers are less likely to be fatigued and as a result stay safer while on the road, as the HOS will be monitored more closely (whereas some drivers may have taken advantage of the simplicity of paper logging).
Many truckers, facing tight deadlines, may disregard safety and push on through, driving tired or even distracted. According to Samuel L. Davis, truck accident lawyer in New Jersey, of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC, fatigue, distractions, and even reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, contribute to a significant number of accidents involving large trucks. Despite some of the upset coming from existing drivers, increased safety in the trucking industry means money saved and the continuation of prompt delivery.
In further efforts to make the truck drivers more safe, large trucks are getting a much needed safety makeover. Changes to be expected include antilock braking systems, stability control, lane departure warning, collision avoidance systems, and multiple cameras and sensors. These particular safety features can assist drivers to act more quickly and be more successful in avoiding an accident with smaller vehicles. Cameras, for example, will alert truck drivers of other vehicles who may be following too closely or may be traveling in their blind spots.
What Does Technology Mean for Drivers?
While there’s lots of talk about autonomous trucks in the near future, it’s not going to wipe out drivers just yet. In fact, the trucking industry is facing a significant shortage that needs filling. The technology, itself, is not replacing the drivers, but many existing drivers are stepping away from the industry after the changes and improvements have been made because they don’t know how to use the technology or don’t want to be part of the progress.
As a result of such changes in technology, the trucking industry is likely to see a new generation of drivers who are more tech savvy, however, they may not stick with the industry as long as previous generations of drivers.