e-Inspection demonstration to government officials, industry stakeholders offers opportunity for next generation alternative compliance program

Several Class 8 rigs and a commercial motorcoach equipped with new mobile safety compliance technology were demonstrated for the first time in a significant step in improving highway safety.

In drive-by demonstrations at the West Friendship Weigh Station and Inspection Site in Maryland yesterday, industry stakeholders and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) officials observed the vehicles electronically communicating with weigh station systems as they approached the facility on Interstate 70 without ever having to slow down.

Critical safety data on both vehicle and driver, including driver ID, electronic logging information and the weight of the vehicle is communicated in real-time while the vehicle remains in motion.

The demonstration of the Drivewyze PreClear weigh station bypass service "represents the first commercial such application of its kind in the world," said Brian Heath, president of Drivewyze. "It is next-generation technology, delivered today."

"An e-Inspection, as we call it, is the first commercial vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) solution for large trucks and buses to leverage GPS and telematics technologies to augment traditional roadside safety inspections," he continued. "Along with our in-truck technology partners PeopleNet, XRS and Zonar, we are proud to be supporting the Maryland State Police and the trucking industry in demonstrating an innovative and cost-effective program to improve highway safety and efficiency."

The companies

A subsidiary of Intelligent Imaging Systems (www.intelligentimagingsystems.com) - a provider of industry leading road safety equipment and software services, Drivewyze is an innovative technology service provider to the transportation industry (www.drivewyze.com).

PeopleNet (www.peoplenetonline.com) is focused on providing innovative Internet-based and integrated onboard computing and mobile communications systems to improve North America's trucking industry's fleet management. XRS (www.xrscorp.com) formerly (Xata Corporation) delivers fleet management and compliance software solutions to the trucking industry to help maintain regulatory compliance and reduce operating costs.

Zonar (www.zonarsystems.com) provides electronic fleet inspection, tracking and operations solutions for public and private fleets. 

No dedicated transponders

Unlike the other bypass programs that require dedicated transponders in every truck, Drivewyze PreClear service works through a hands-free mobile application that can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet to deliver a convenient, safe, and secure automated bypass solution. Drivewyze PreClear can be accessed on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

Consequently, there is no need to install any additional equipment or transponder.

A subscription bypass service, Drivewyze PreClear currently runs on PeopleNet, XRS and Zonar platforms.

The service is now being used in 16 states at more than 200 sites.

The front line

According to Captain Norman Dofflemyer, commander of the Maryland State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, state weigh and inspection sites are the front line in reviewing a carrier and driver's safety profile through FMCSA's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores.

"If the carrier or driver has a solid safety record, and the vehicle is not overweight (scales are at station sites), we can wave them through at the inspection site," he said. "If we see a borderline case, or poor CSA score, we may inspect driver information and logbooks, plus do a vehicle inspection."

Dofflemyer said the problem in the industry is there are too many trucks and not enough manpower for inspections. "With all of the vehicles coming into the weigh station - and we see some intrastate delivery trucks three or four times per day - systems and inspections can get clogged. There is a better way to do this."

Drivewyze PreClear provides a convenient, safe and secure automated bypass solution for both permanent and mobile inspection sites, he noted, extending bypass services to local, low-volume and remote weigh stations and ports of entry.

Transparency

"Drivewyze, as it's used today, is a transparent, neutral platform that allows state agencies to reward safe truck and bus companies (as indicated by CSA scores) with bypass opportunities," said Heath. "This frees front line inspection officers to focus their attention on the trucks and buses that need inspections.

"A secure interface inside the weigh station displays the results of each bypass request after it has been automatically processed. Based on carrier, vehicle and driver-level data, and a state's bypass criteria, trucks are told to either bypass or report to the weigh station.

"Aside from a 2 percent random inspection, most fleets with high safety scores can enjoy bypass rates of up to 98 percent."

Maryland, which is the number four producer of commercial vehicle safety enforcement in the U.S., implemented the Drivewyze bypass system last September.

"It is allowing us to see critical information on that vehicle in real-time, then bypass the safe owner-operators and fleets and concentrate our efforts on the vehicles and drivers that should be inspected," Dofflemyer said. "Our only wish is that more trucks were equipped with the bypass system. "

All of Maryland's 15 state patrol-operated weigh and inspection stations are equipped to utilize Drivewyze. There was no cost to the state since the system uses GPS and is cloud-based. The Maryland State Police simply utilize the computer monitors already at its stations.

The Maryland Transportation Authority, an independent agency responsible for managing, operating and improving the state's toll facilities, plans to rollout Drivewyze at its 9 weigh stations.

"The capability of transmitting additional Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and Hours of Service (HOS) compliance information, plus weigh in motion, is now a reality and it has been developed at no cost to the government," noted Dofflemyer.

Carrier participants

Participating in the technology demonstration were J.B. Hunt (www.jbhunt.com) - one of the largest transportation logistics companies in North America; Allied Automotive Group (www.alliedautomotive.com) - provides vehicle transportation services across North America with the largest car hauling fleet in the industry and motorcoach company DATTCO (www.dattco.com).

"We've talked with many fleets throughout the country and there is support for what we are displaying," said Drivewyze's Heath. "Drivewyze bypass services already offer carriers the opportunity to save time, fuel and money. The system also now supports incentivizing carriers to provide additional CDL and HOS information.

"This lets responsible fleets leverage their investments in fleet management and safety systems to minimize delays while on the road."

Government acceptance

According to Heath, the vision is to offer truck and bus companies more than bypass service alone.

"The trucking industry is very motivated to have these advanced real-time driver and vehicle safety screening events count as an electronic inspection (e-Inspection) in their safety profile," he said. "The hope would be that e-Inspections could be accepted by FMCSA as a new type of inspection that would count as a credit in a carrier's CSA safety score. This reward would strongly incentivize carriers to participate in the program.

"The more FMCSA rewards carriers for investments in this technology, the more information the industry will be willing to share in exchange. But, again, it's voluntary. Today, carriers need only share basic carrier and vehicle information to participate in the program."

Another piece of the puzzle is the wireless integration of weigh-in-motion technology.

"FHWA has invested millions of dollars in imbedded scales near weigh stations and throughout the country at thousands of transportation planning sites," continued Heath. "Our technology captures the weight of a vehicle and adds it to the vehicle profile for use at the next inspection station, which may be many miles from the sensors itself.

"This eliminates the need to install weigh-in-motion systems at each enforcement site and adds the entire network of federal and state weighing systems as a potential source for the Drivewyze bypass program."

"This technology eco-system being shown has been developed on commercial platforms," he added. "Private industry, in partnership with 19 state agencies and the trucking industry together are championing the current mobile-based bypass program - the largest V2I deployment in history, at no cost to tax payers.

"The added capabilities of this system that were provide a vision for the future direction of safety and compliance in our industry. We look forward to finding new ways to work with FHWA and FMCSA in a common mission to make safer, more efficient highways."

 

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