Trucking is an industry that is undergoing change. To be competitive every trucker, be they independent or employed by a company, needs to get the loads delivered as fast as legally possible. That is the reason that technology has leapt into the cab of the over-the-road truck.
Some of the technology-driven gadgets have been around for a while, but are now getting “smarter.” Other popular gadgets are in the range of consideration as a must-have item. These trucking gadgets fall into specific categories.
Communication Gadgets and Devices
The ever-popular CB (Citizen Band) radio is still considered an important item. The CB radio has evolved from a series of licensed radio equipment, originally used by small companies for short-range communication with employees working out of the main office. In the 1970s America faced some serious fuel shortages. Long lines were the order of the day as people tried to buy fuel for their vehicles. Truckers found that they could share information about fuel stations and truck stops that were pumping fuel. At that time the speed limits had been reduced on U.S. highways to 55 miles per hour or less. Truckers began using the CB radio system to warn each other of police speed traps on the road.
After advances in electronics, radar detectors became the speed trap detector of choice. The CB remained for communication between truckers on the road. They advise each other of road conditions, the status of weigh stations, and other personal items of interest. As more advances in portable communication equipment are made, the CB radio hangs on.
GPS systems are as popular for truckers as they are for drivers of regular cars. With the increased demand to eliminate texting while driving, voice-provided directions are one of the newest popular gadgets.
Position locator devices let the truck owner, or company, know exactly where the truck is located. This has replaced the old clock mileage and tachometer meter that used to be in many trucks. Supervisors can now get a printed and visual report on the hour-by-hour operation of every truck.
Real Time Internet Connection
This has become vital for the serious independent trucker. This is how the driver gets the next load with a minimal amount of down time. In these rough economic times, knowing the next load is booked is a rush that keeps the trucker going. The ability to pick up future loads while rolling can be where most of a trucker’s operating profit comes from.
Down Time Entertainment
When a trucker has down time, it seems to last forever. For the trucker with access to modern entertainment gadgets, the time seems to pass by much faster. This could be a computer tablet, a game player, or just a flat screen television. The newer wireless headphones that can connect via the Internet to a music service are also popular.
Some devices help preplan how the next load can fit into the trailer pulled by the truckers cab. This can substantially save time. For a trucker, time really is money. It is important to keep the truck rolling. If the sequence of loading the next job is preplanned, the trucker spends more time on the road making money than trying to manually work out the best way to load the contracted load. For the trucker, the goal is time on the road with a paying load attached. Truckers view any time spent in any other manner as a loss of the opportunity to make money.
Monitoring of Truck Performance
Many new gadgets tell the truck driver almost more about the truck than necessary. Sensors report on tire pressures and temperatures. Brake temperatures are monitored to guard against loss from overheating. The future for the modern trucker is going to be filled with useful and helpful gadgets. As long as new items help keep the trucker rolling, the number of gadgets bought by truckers will continue to increase. The future is bright for companies developing new and useful gadgets for trucking.