The modern world today is driven by technological advancements. Everything from travel, leisure, and business is fueled by the ever increasing use of technology. We can research an important legal topic at lightning speed and conduct business meetings from halfway around the globe. This unavoidable push to the future is even making its way into the commercial trucking industry.
Researchers from Iowa State University are trying to incorporate the use of big data to big rig trucking. In a detailed report presented to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), researchers laid out some of the biggest obstacles trucking companies face, including delays, accidents, and safety. It is estimated that trucking companies lose millions of dollars annually sitting in traffic. This is why many truckers face intense pressure to drive as many hours as physically possible, even if it means knowingly disregarding federal trucking regulations such as hours of service. By employing real-time data collected by state traffic centers and other resources, researchers believe truck drivers could potentially receive information on traffic congestion, accidents, road conditions, and traffic speed.
This up-to-the second information could help truck drivers avoid congested or delayed roads, in turn resulting in faster and more punctual deliveries. Dave Cantor, one of the researchers from Iowa State, believes that this technology is already readily available. “The DOT has a lot of real-time data on the operating conditions of state highways and secondary roads, and it wants to make sure the data is of value to carriers,” Cantor said. The problem then becomes what is the best way to transmit this information to truck drivers?
Researchers briefly toyed with the idea of sending alerts to truck drivers via text message or smartphone app, but the flaws in this method are obvious. The information provided is meant to make trucking safer, not more dangerous. With more drivers constantly looking at their phones instead of the road, the situation can become more dangerous than intended. Distracted driving is a major issue in the United States.
The solution may be in the new government mandated electronic logging device (ELD). By integrating the navigation data into the ELD system, drivers would be able to look at traffic conditions each time they log a time. Ideally, this will promote compliance with the new ELD system while simultaneously making deliveries more productive.
Safety is also a welcome byproduct of this data collection. Some of the main causes of trucking accidents are congestion or dangerous driving conditions. Some of the most tragic truck wrecks occur when traffic has slowed or stopped due to congestion or an accident. But thanks to navigation data, truck drivers will know which roads to avoid and which to utilize. By avoiding slower traffic or congested highways, drivers can potentially reduce the risk of a fatal accident.
This system is not without its flaws. Researchers are finding inconsistencies between different state traffic agencies and are still on the fence regarding the best way to transmit their findings real time to drivers. However, researchers believe that once the idea of real time navigation technology becomes a large enough movement, these bumps in the road will be smoothed out. It will take a concerted effort from state and federal traffic agencies, but researchers and trucking companies alike are optimistic. If you have been hurt in a truck or 18-wheeler accident, call the attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-529-4004 to discuss your case.