Why GPS is so important when disaster hits

In light of several natural disasters that have happened around the world recently, it was timely that LA firefighters staged a high-rise emergency response drill, one of the largest ever conducted in California.

The Los Angeles Fire Department and disaster-planning firm Massey Enterprises spent a year preparing for the drill, which involved nearly 100 people. It took place at the Century Plaza Tower North and a fake earthquake had started fake fires on the 33rd floor of the building. The mission was on safely rescuing the occupants on that floor, since studies have shown that often fatalities result from people being trapped in tall buildings, unable to escape the flames.

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Texting while driving – Just as dangerous for truckers

Photo Credit: Islndr

Over the last few months we’ve seen a lot of campaigns to build awareness about the dangers of texting while driving. The DOT included it as part of their push to try and make drivers, particularly teenage drivers, realize that even a moment’s distraction can lead to tragedy.

One campaign that has gained a lot of publicity for the very real and very sad stories it tells is AT&Ts ‘Don’t text while driving’ documentary. The episode shown below covers several poignant accounts of lives lost tragically and for something as seemingly harmless as a 3-letter text message. Teenagers left dead or paralyzed for life for something that in hindsight was almost pointless. Is it worth dying for a ‘LOL’ or a ‘Where u at’? Many road users have paid the ultimate price for a txt message, whether they were the ones who sent it, or they were killed by a driver distracted by a text.

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Pushing your trucks uphill? You don’t have to!

Hill driving is not ideal for getting the maximum fuel efficiency from a vehicle. Most drivers know that. Endless gear changes, the extra fuel burned dragging a heavy load up the hill, then using engine braking or gear changes to slow your descent on the other side. But what can you do about it?

Not a lot if there’s only one way to your destination but now there’s advanced GPS routing that could show you a better way.

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Green Truck Summit 2011 – Are we too late?

green-truck-summit-indianapolisIn March of this year, the Green Truck Summit was held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Held in conjunction with the annual Work Truck Show, North America’s largest truck show, the Green Truck Summit looks at ways to minimize a fleet’s negative impact on the environment. It’s all about the growing movement towards green fleet, and this year’s summit highlighted that it is no longer just early adopters pioneering eco-friendly technology but rather we are seeing a more mainstream acceptance of the need to shift to clean transportation.

But some critics contend that maybe the swing towards green fleets is too little too late. When it comes to climate change are we past the point of no return? Is the environment too damaged to salvage? Back in 2007, well-known environment blog Grist published an interesting article that seemed to think so. But even the writer of that article expressed that not all is lost – we just need to significantly alter our dependence on oil and switch to carbon-free technologies.

The Green Truck Summit is helping fleets to do just that.

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Food and Beverage – What GPS gear do you need for your trucks?

truckgps-beverage-freightliner-truckIf you’re in the food and beverage industry you know you have specific challenges to meet – on-time deliveries, demanding customers, ad hoc jobs, coordinating drivers and keeping everything fresh. Can GPS help you to meet the problems that are unique to the beverage industry? How are other beverage fleets using GPS fleet tracking to improve service, cut costs and improve stock security?

Unique challenges faced by beverage industry

The beverage industry is a fast-moving and constantly changing scene. Closely associated with hospitality it can be demanding and competitive. Food and beverage distributors can face any of the following challenges:

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Clearing the Air with Freightliner and SCR

scr-freightliner-green-trucksOne of the largest suppliers of trucks in the U.S., Freightliner is promoting SCR technology, the emissions control system that is compliant with EPA 2010 emission regulations, reducing harmful NOx gases by around 95%.

SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) is available through Freightliner distributors in a wide range of trucks, with a selection of motors including Detroit Diesel DD13, DD15 or DD16 and Cummins ISX. SCR-equipped engines are designed to meet the tough EPA 2010 regulations, which have been phased in between 2007 and 2010.

Why is SCR better than other treatment systems?

While being slightly more expensive than the competing Navistar EGR system, SCR has been proven to increase fuel efficiency by around 5%, compared with EGR that in some cases actually worsens fuel economy. The extra cost of an SCR-equipped engine is soon offset by the fuel savings, making it a good investment for long-haul trucking companies.

SCR technology is being used by other truck makers as well including Mack and Western Star.

Another reason a lot of truck makers are choosing SCR is that it is proven technology, with over 200,000 vehicles in Europe having used it for years and around 10 million test miles driven in the U.S.

How does SCR work?

SCR works by using DEF (Diesel Emissions Fluid) to convert dangerous NOx into harmless nitrogen and water. As shown in the diagram below (courtesy of freightliner.com) in Step 3, DEF is introduced into the exhaust gases and then the conversion takes place into the SCR.

scr-def-freightliner

In the animated video below DEF is shown being introduced into the catalyst to convert NOx gases into nitrogen and water.

Truck drivers are required to top up their DEF tanks, normally around ever third fill of diesel (DEF is used at around a rate of 2%, a 23 gallons of DEF will last around 7,500 miles. Drivers and carriers can use the helpful discoverdef.com online tool to locate their nearest DEF supplier.

Why is NOx bad for us?

The reason the EPA have chosen to introduce strict emissions requirements and remove NOx from vehicle exhausts is that NOx is harmful both to the environment and to humans. NOx is used to describe the grouping of Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide and is released into the atmosphere primarily from vehicle exhausts.

NOx is one of the key ingredients of tropospheric ozone, and has been linked to several health complaints, such as:

  • Irritation of the respiratory system resulting in problems such as throat irritations
  • Reduced lung function making breathing more difficult
  • Aggravation of asthma increasing the number of attacks suffered
  • Increased vulnerability to respiratory infections
  • Inflammation and damage to the lining of the lungs

The work of the SCR and truck makers and suppliers like Freightliner has meant that often the air leaving the truck is actually cleaner than the air going in – and that’s good news for us and the planet.

 

6 Reasons your Trucking Business needs MRM

mrm-mobile-resource-management-truck-loadingNearly 75 percent of the U.S. workforce is mobile, performing at least part of their jobs outside the traditional workspace, according to IDC. And a significant amount of them are working in the fleet industry, including OTR and long haul drivers. Do you have the tools you need to effectively manage your mobile fleet?

What are the benefits of an MRM solution?

There are plenty of benefits, and as the technology evolves and developers of fleet management solutions find new uses for it, the list is sure to grow.

For example, there are savings on insurance premiums. Depending upon the insurance carrier, implementing MRM can result in insurance savings up to 30 percent.

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7 Smart Ways to Get More from a Trade Show

trade-show-tipsTrade shows. We’ve all been to them. And when it comes to exhibitors we know what we like and what booths we’re likely to avoid. What makes the difference?

There seem to be a few basic tips to putting together an effective exhibit. We’ve visited and exhibited at lots of trade shows, particular focused on fleet management, over the years, and you quickly learn what works and what doesn’t – from attracting delegates to making sure you get a return on exhibition costs.

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EOBR ruling signals death of Driver Log Books

HOS compliance EOBR softwareA recent decision by the FMCSA will make EOBRs compulsory for all truck drivers sometime before June 4, 2015. This is because the rule will come into effect three years after publication of the rule, which FMCSA say will likely be published prior to June 4, 2012.

This differs from the requirement that any carrier that fails a DOT audit will be required to install EOBRs after June 1, 2012.

The only exception to this will be short-haul carriers whose drivers currently use time cards, primarily those of “property-carrying CMVs that do not require a CDL and who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of the driver’s normal work-reporting location under the current provisions.”

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How can New York balance its budget?

watch-mayor-michael-r-bloomberg-state-of-the-cityThe other week New York’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, outlined the future of the city in his State of the City address. His vision for a stronger New York, included a lot of exciting plans for development and growth in and around the city, creating more jobs, reducing the burden on small businesses (a program known as a Simplicity) and making New York and even more vibrant and fun city to visit and live in.

As someone who loves to visit NYC this is exciting news. But it’s not all roses, and the pathway to future greatness for New York is paved with logistical and financial hurdles.

The key to making this optimistic vision for the future become a reality lies in overcoming two main challenges.

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