BURLINGAME, Calif. (Sept. 16, 2013)—According to Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze, the math doesn’t lie.
"There are 4.5 million trucks required to report to weigh stations across North America, yet there are only 13,000 inspectors certified by CVSA to conduct vehicle inspections," said Heath. "There are approximately 3.5 million roadside inspections conducted annually, and if you ask enforcement agencies, they will all tell you, ‘I wish we could do more. What’s more, I wish we could find better ways to focus our efforts on unsafe trucks.'"
A new white paper from Drivewyze details challenges impacting FMCSA and state enforcement agency efforts to improve highway safety. New Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) transponder technology offers a breakthrough in the capabilities of agencies to improve their roadside safety program and to reward industry compliance efforts. The white paper is available by visiting the Drivewyze web site.
“Everyone in this room is interested in safer highways and supporting the efficient movement of freight to drive our economy,” said Heath, during a presentation to attendees at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conference. “But agencies do not have enough resources to stop and inspect every truck, and trying to do so would only grind freight movement to a halt. Agencies need better tools to sort out which trucks to focus on.”
In an interview with Fleet Owner, Stever Keppler, CVSA’s executive director said: ‘Inspectors are looking for the bad actors – a minority of operators on the road – whose vehicles are not well maintained or whose drivers are fatigued or otherwise operating in an unsafe manner.’
Heath maintains that a method for accomplishing this is to offer responsible carriers a way to wirelessly identify themselves to agencies that can, in return, reward those carriers with opportunities to bypass inspections. This would reduce the volume of trucks entering inspection sites and reduce the number of inspections carried out needlessly on safe vehicles, Heath said. “This answers agencies’ calls for a method to focus their efforts on unsafe trucks,” he added.
“What we’ve outlined in this white paper is the potential for new CMRS technology to grow beyond helping trucks bypass inspection sites. CMRS technology offers capabilities that go one step further to potentially automate a new class of inspection that does not require a truck to stop at an inspection facility. This wireless inspection, what we call e-inspection, holds the potential for state agencies to better utilize their resources, for FMCSA to improve its CSA program, and for carriers to improve the ROI on their compliance efforts,” Heath said. “In essence, we propose a method to unlock traditional barriers to identifying and rewarding responsible carriers at the roadside through an alternative compliance program.”
The FMCSA CSA program has acknowledged data sufficiency challenges, Heath said. “Only 11 percent of the carrier population has enough data to compile BASIC percentiles. And even though there are negative profiles in CSA on carriers involved in 83 percent of crashes, there is still not enough roadside inspection data to generate complete profiles for the vast majority of trucks not involved in crashes.”
According to Heath, the white paper explores the merits of using e-inspections as an alternative compliance tool to support the Safety Measurement System (SMS) program within the CSA operating model. “The CSA model depends on roadside inspection data and e-inspections can automate and dramatically increase the amount of roadside inspection data made available to CSA,” he said.
“When you consider that freight volume is projected to grow 60 percent by 2040, remaining with the status quo in how inspections are handled simply won’t work,” Heath said. “There is technology available here and now, which will benefit and streamline safety information for all parties. It’s just a matter of agencies and the private sector working together to make it happen.”
According to Heath, a key technology supporting this capability is the development of CMRS transponder technology. “This opens up a whole world of vehicle-to-infrastructure communication that was not previously available,” he said. “CMRS transponders are unique from traditional transponders — they do not require any roadside hardware to work and instead communicate using commercially available cellular and internet networks. We’re taking advantage of the $365 billion dollar infrastructure investment that wireless cellular carriers have made in providing data coverage and leveraging it with GPS and mobile web technologies.”
According to Heath, bypass programs that employ traditional transponder technology are used by just over 10 percent of trucks that report to weigh stations. “The trucking industry is vastly underserved by existing bypass programs and this is because those programs are constrainted by traditional roadside hardware and infrastructure costs. But we see that changing since technology is improving and costs for state implementation is, in some cases, close to zero,” said Heath. “Bypassing allows inspection officers at weigh stations to see safety information on the approaching truck and if it meets the state’s criteria, it allows a bypass. This saves time for the fleet, but just as importantly, time for inspectors.”
But, Heath said, CMRS technology has the potential to take electronic screening to a whole new level, and that’s what the white paper lays out. “It’s possible for a fleet to voluntarily provide electronic logs and driver’s license information directly from a truck as it approaches an inspection site,” he said. “ We believe this information, in addition to the traditional carrier and vehicle information used in existing bypass programs, will allow an agency to essentially perform an automated CVSA Level III credential inspection on participating vehicles. The reward for sharing this more complete set of safety data would go beyond the benefits of bypassing an inspection site, and we believe fleets that participate in such a program should enjoy a partial inspection credit in the CSA program for doing so.
“E-Inspections can collect 100 percent of the credential data traditionally collected manually at a roadside inspection,” Heath said. “The savings in time is huge; the data collected is immense and sorely needed. What’s missing now in order to make an alternative compliance program with e-inspection reality is policy. This paper calls for FMCSA to develop policies and a program around alternative compliance and e-inspections. Policy development can tackle issues on e-inspection weighting versus manual inspections and the leveraging of existing federal programs to fast-track e-inspection adoption. We feel that the pathway is built. It’s a matter of policy to accept the data and to incentivize industry to participate.
“New technology is rapidly changing how commercial vehicles can be inspected quickly and efficiently,” concluded Heath. “The Drivewyze white paper provides enforcement agencies and other stake holders information on how, why and where this new technology will positively impact commercial vehicle safety.”
About Drivewyze Inc.
Drivewyze Inc. is an innovative technology service provider to the transportation industry. Drivewyze is committed to improving road safety and efficiency for everyone. Founded in 2011 as a subsidiary of Intelligent Imaging Systems Inc., Drivewyze is a provider of industry leading road safety equipment and software services. Drivewyze partners with industry and government stakeholders to deliver time-saving and cost-effective driving solutions to commercial vehicle operators and carriers, providing unsurpassed business value to the trucking industry. Learn more about Drivewyze at its web site.