Is your driver tracking trying to kill them?

better-gps-tracking-than-spiesIn a recent case, a Chickamauga man was charged with attempting to murder a truck driver. Turns out this man’s job was to videotape truck drivers to uncover incidents of reckless driving, so he’s no friend of the truckers.

But how did he go from shooting with a video camera to using a real gun? And if you’re a fleet manager or run a carrier how can you use less invasive methods of monitoring driver performance?

According to the news report, 44-year-old Joseph Volpe was videotaping a driver on the I-24 in June of this year, when the driver noticed him. The story goes that the truck driver attempted to run Volpe off the road, at which point Volpe fought back by shooting at the truck driver.

The case is now before the Hamilton County court system where a grand jury will decide if Volpe is guilty of reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and attempted murder.

Volpe incident not surprising

In some ways the events that transpired on that June day on the I-24 are not surprising. Trucker spies, hired by wealthy trucking companies to catch out underperforming drivers, have been known to antagonize drivers in an effort to capture bad driving, and further their case.

It’s not uncommon to hear stories of truck spies swerving in front of truckers, traveling too close or passing dangerously, scaring, or at least irritating, otherwise careful drivers.

So it wasn’t going to be long before the two parties banged heads and now questions are being raised about the usefulness of trucker spies, particularly when available technology can do a similar or even better job.

While we don’t have exact figures on exactly how much it costs to hire the services of a truck spy, it wouldn’t be cheap. A vehicle, extensive mileage and a contractor that’s willing to put his freedom on the line would come with a hefty price tag. Are carriers who use these guys actually getting a good return on their investment? In Volpe’s case they probably got more than they bargained for.

But it’s not always the carrier’s who are responsible for this type of behavior. It seems some of these trucker spies actually dig for work by videotaping drivers then sending in the tapes to the carrier in the hope of getting hired, or post it publicly on YouTube to further advertise their services.

That sort of mercenary-style behavior can only end badly and it’s a relief to know that most carriers are smarter than that, refusing to be sucked in by the antics of a few redneck vigilantes.

Monitoring truck drivers – The smart way

Of course, there are valid reasons for fleets to monitor their truck drivers. Benefits of monitoring and improving driver performance include:

  • Reduced insurance premiums
  • Reduced traffic violations, tickets and suspended licenses
  • Better fuel economy
  • Greener fleet and less carbon emissions
  • Better compliance with DOT requirements

No reckless spies with video cameras harassing your drivers with this technology! And it monitors them 24/7, not just the occasional times when they’re aggravated into a spot of unsafe driving.

A GPS-tracked monitoring system can even be set to ignore isolated aberrations to avoid wasting your time on minor infractions.

With passive tracking technology you can improve, not just the safety of your drivers and other road users, but also their productivity. And thankfully it’ll never point a gun at them either!