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Computing the Benefits Wireless technology, roadside inspections and your fleet


How would a day in the life of a carrier,

a driver and an enforcement officer be changed if a compliant carrier could bypass an inspection station and get positive CSA credit? What would happen if a carrier could

receive real-time notification of any compliance issues related to their drivers and vehicles? What would happen if safety inspectors

could use their time more efficiently by focusing on the worst violators instead of on time-consuming inspections of carriers with a good safety history? “I would submit to you we could

accomplish those things in the work we’re doing in the wireless roadside inspection program,” said Chris Flanigan, a technology engineer with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Flanigan was part of a panel discussion at

the annual meeting of the Trucking Industry Mobility and Technology Coalition, held in conjunction with the American Trucking Associations Management Conference and Exhibition in October. The reason for developing a wireless

roadside inspection system is all about the numbers. Since the CSA compliance regime depends on inspections, then the more inspections, the better. And when carriers can expect more frequent inspections, the more likely they are to “take a little bit more time” to ensure they’re compliant, Flanigan explained. Flanigan runs the numbers: Of 85 million

weigh station inspections and another 100 million weigh-in-motion inspections, the violation rate is a miniscule 0.3 percent. FMCSA believes that means carriers know their trucks are going to be weighed, so they comply with the weight limits. But of the trucks and drivers inspected in the 3.5 million roadside safety inspections a year, the violation rate is 70 percent.

14 “We believe that’s because it’s a lower,

much lower, probability of that type of carrier getting inspected,” Flanigan said. The goal is to get that inspection number

to the 85 million range, but enforcement resources are not likely to increase any time soon. So to achieve much higher inspection rates, the vast majority of those inspections will be of trucks moving at highway speeds — and that means wireless inspections. The benefits of such a system to the

industry would include carriers getting credit for all of those compliant trips past an inspection station, rather than having that one bad inspection reflect disproportionately on

the CSA score. “What we want to do is develop an

algorithm to allow those other compliant trips with a wireless inspection to have a positive effect on the CSA rating,” he said. A wireless inspection system will also

reduce delays and save fuel, in addition to providing more operational data to fleets. The key will be cooperation between

fleets, their data service providers and enforcement, so that the real-time, on-board vehicle data and driver information will be remotely accessible. The trucking industry has been moving toward electronic inspections for years.

ROADWISE | ISSUE 6, 2011 |

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