Author: Russ Salo

Mother Nature waits for no one, which is why having a reliable telematics solution is so crucial to snow operations companies during the winter months as road conditions can greatly impact public safety in the blink of an eye and fleets need to be prepared to react just as quickly. If you manage snow operations for a business of any size which doesn’t use telematics already, keep reading for information on how telematics can keep your fleet costs from spinning out of control this winter season by helping you plow and salt and grit roads quickly and efficiently with public safety as priority number one.

Locate Your Vehicles in a Jiffy and Ensure they’re Ready to Get to Work

When a winter storm starts, the snow and sleet won’t stop if you’re not prepared to deploy your fleet. By using telematics for your fleet of snowplows, salt/sand trucks and various supporting equipment, you have the ability to see where your vehicles are located and what condition they’re in. Since some fleets and pieces of equipment are of varying sizes some companies keep fleet vehicles at multiple yards across a particular region. Geotab’s telematics solution will show all vehicles on one easy-to-use platform, and through regular use of the platform owners and/or fleet managers can see any vehicles that are needing fueling or maintenance so any issues are addressed before the vehicles or equipment are needed to leave the yard and get to work.

Optimize Route Planning and Know Which Streets Have Been Plowed, Salted and Sanded

By using the Geotab telematics solution, fleet owners and managers can efficiently plan routes or integrate their telematics solution with existing route planning add-ons to ensure the most effective routes are being chosen to cover as much area in the shortest amount of time.
Telematics can also detect when plows are up or down and when spreaders on or off. This allows better management of the salt or sand loads and managers can ensure loads are being used efficiently to cover as much distance as needed without being wasteful.

Track Vehicles and Protect Your Operators

By knowing where your vehicles are at all times you can better manage public inquiries on when their streets will be taken care of. Through tracking add-ons, some snow operations fleets allow a live-feed or tracking map online to show where their vehicles are and an expected arrival time for residents so they can stop worrying that they’ve been missed or forgotten about.
By having eyes on your fleet and their movements throughout their shift, you also add a level of protection for your operators and business on a larger scale by being able to exonerate operators against false claims of property damage or risky driving.
The winter months can be messy and chaotic in many ways, but by choosing Geotab’s telematics solution for your snow operations fleet you can keep your business’s processes and procedures clean and efficient so you’re ready to go when the snowflakes fly and freezing rain falls.

Contact GPS to GO today to get set up with the Geotab telematics solution for your snow operations business and prove how you put safety first and save time and money for your business in the process too!

Geotab is offering users of their telematics solutions even more ways to save time and money thanks to Drivewyze PreClear – the only always-on bypass service available on the Geotab Marketplace, providing bypasses at temporary or mobile “pop-up” inspection sites, as well as at fixed weigh stations across the United States and in two Canadian provinces – Ontario and Alberta.

What does Drivewyze PreClear do?

Drivewyze PreClear saves fleets the time, fuel and on-duty driving time of unnecessary stops at over 800 weigh stations and inspection sites across 47 operational and in-progress states in the United States and provinces in Canada. The hands free, state distracted driving laws abiding and FMCSA compliant service provides drivers with “Heads Up” notifications, alerting them of upcoming weigh stations and inspection sites. The notifications help reduce accidental avoidance, and notifies drivers whether they qualify to Bypass the participating stop, whether to pull in for inspection at a Drivewyze site, or whether to follow road signs in place in the event of a non-participating site. Drivewyze PreClear Bypass rates can range from 50%-98% of the time and are largely based on your carrier’s safety score.

How does it work?

At participating/compatible Bypass stations:

When approaching a participating Drivewyze site, drivers will receive a visual and audible notification from their mobile device two miles prior to the site and another notification both visually and audibly one mile prior to the site. The station’s Drivewyze participation will be indicated on the driver’s device screen with a blue banner with white writing stating “Drivewyze Site”. The driver will then receive a driving instruction either to Bypass or pull in. While Bypasses are granted 50%-98% of the time, the chances of getting a Bypass are largely determined by your carrier safety score and Bypass rates will vary from site to site and state-to-state depending on rules in place by state or provincial agencies.

At non-participating sites:

As drivers approach stations that do not participate in the Drivewyze program, drivers will receive the same visual and audible notifications as participating sites two miles prior to the site and another notification one mile prior to the site. If a station is not a Drivewyze site it will be indicated on the driver’s mobile device screen with a white banner that states “Non Drivewyze Site” and drivers will be given the instruction to Follow Road Signs in place for that specific weigh station or inspection site.

Where are the Drivewyze PreClear participating weigh stations and inspection sites located?

There are 800 weigh stations and inspection sites across 47 operational and in-progress states in the United States and the provinces of Ontario and Alberta in Canada.

Drivewyze PreClear has the ability to provide a Bypasses at 512 weigh station and ag inspection sites, 34 frequently operational mobile inspection sites and 279 occasionally operational mobile inspection sites.

To view the full Coverage Map of participating Drivewyze PreClear locations, or to view participating locations by individual states or provinces, visit the Drivewyze website here.

What other benefits does Drivewyze PreClear provide fleet owners?

In an industry that can sometimes find fleets struggling to recruit sufficient numbers of drivers for business and operational needs, Drivewyze PreClear can be the difference maker that helps drivers to sign with your business instead of the competition.

A 2016 survey conducted by Drivewyze which surveyed drivers on theirs needs and what drivers value most when choosing a job saw company-paid weigh station bypass in the top five only behind pay, time off (vacation/home time), core benefits (medical, retirement), and rider policy. The survey concluded that drivers were three times more likely to work for a company that provides weigh station bypass to its drivers.

The study also found that when routinely occurring delays like weigh station and inspection site delays are removed from a driver’s day, it can have a profound impact on driver stress levels.

These additional potential benefits of the Drivewyze PreClear service means that your business may be more attractive than competitors without the service to drivers looking for employment, and the positive effects of using the Drivewyze PreClear system may help drivers remain with your company longer. At the end of the day, by providing Drivewyze PreClear to your drivers you’re showing them that they matter and you’re invested in their happiness on the job and with your company.

What does Drivewyze PreClear cost?

Since the benefits of using Drivewyze PreClear can add up significantly and are even seen by some fleets as priceless, many Drivewyze PreClear users find the cost of using the service very affordable and a wise investment for their business.

As Drivewyze PreClear operates in both the United States and Canada, there are two prices according to the currency of each country.

The American price of Drivewyze PreClear is $17.99 USD per vehicle, per month. The Canadian price of Drivewyze PreClear is $22.00 CAD per vehicle, per month.

There is also a free trial available so you can see how Drivewyze PreClear benefits your company before subscribing and there is also an option to subscribe to a USA + Canada bundle or subscribe to Ontario alone.

Do I need a special device for Drivewyze PreClear?

No special device is needed to use Drivewyze PreClear as it is available both on Android and Apple mobile devices, which are the most popular mobile devices so there’s a very good chance your drivers will already have a compatible mobile device. If your driver doesn’t have a compatible mobile device or you do not want drivers to use their personal phones, Drivewyze PreClear is also available on select in-cab devices.

For more information on the Drivewyze PreClear service, visit their listing on the Geotab Marketplace here.

Geotab already saves fleets around the world significant time and money with their plug-and-play devices and easy-to-use platform but what if we told you fleet management is getting even easier thanks to Geotab integration in some of your favourite fleet vehicle brands?! Yes, you read that correctly, Geotab integration is available in Volvo and Mack trucks, Ford vehicles, and have added General Motors vehicles (Chevrolet, GMC, Buick and Cadillac) to the mix as was recently announced at the Geotab Connect 2020 Conference in San Diego, California earlier this month.

Volvo and Mack

The two Volvo Group-owned OEMs offer factory-installed ELDs from Geotab in all of their new vehicles and the integration can be retrofitted into trucks from model-year 2015 and newer.

The integration of the Geotab devices in Volvo and Mack vehicles allows for accurate logs (compliant with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ELD mandate), Hours of Service (HOS) compliance information, Records of Duty Status (RODS) and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR) to be delivered to fleet managers through the Geotab cloud based platform that provides fleet managers with the most reliable ELD data-capture capabilities.

Ford

The Geotab integration in Ford vehicles offers fleet managers the ability to receive securely transferred data from Ford fleet vehicles to Geotab’s cloud platform, in many cases allowing for the elimination of the need for third party hardware. The integration, available for all Ford vehicle model years 2020 and newer in the United States, means fleet managers will be able to add access to rich, proprietary, Ford-specific data to the already vast wealth of information available for fleet vehicles through the Geotab platform.

General Motors

Just announced at the Geotab Connect 2020 Conference in San Diego, California earlier this month, Geotab integration is being offered with compatible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles with model years of 2015 and newer through a factory-fit, GM-engineered embedded OnStar module, which will collect data and vehicle information fleet managers can then access through the Geotab platform. The solution is currently only available in the United States but there are plans to expand the integration to include vehicles in Canada in the coming months.

By simplifying the task of mixed-fleet management, Geotab integration provides fleet managers with the ability to oversee their entire fleet in one portal with manufacturer-grade vehicle information along with the vast amount of information already available through the Geotab platform.

In their quest to make fleet management as efficient and beneficial for fleet managers worldwide, and further establish themselves as the leader in the fleet management and telematics industry, Geotab has proven it will stop at nothing by partnering with the popular fleet vehicle makes listed above and continue to seek further opportunities to expand their offering to clients.

With ready-to-go factory-fit hardware integration on these vehicle makes, choosing Geotab for your fleet management needs has never been easier! Contact GPS to GO today to get started optimizing your fleet management process with Geotab – the number one Commercial Telematics vendor worldwide!

Are you thinking of going electric with your fleet but you’re concerned how cold weather may affect the range and/or performance? You’re not alone, and this is a worry of EV owners and potential buyers who operate in harsh winter conditions around the world.

Studies have been completed to scientifically determine just how much cold weather can affect EVs and the results may surprise you.

The main reason that EVs are affected by cold weather is because of the battery temperature dropping below the ideal temperature range (60-80 F or 12-26 C). When battery temperatures drop below the low end of their ideal range, the chemical reactions that generate electrons to supply the current of the battery slow down, resulting in the battery producing less current.

AAA completed a study on EVs and the reduced mileage range as a result of cold weather. A wide variety of EVs with an average mileage range per charge of 100 miles were tested at 20 F and 75 F.

The study found that at the colder temperature the average range fell 12% when no heater was used in the vehicles. When a cabin heater was on, the driving range dropped by an average of 41%.

While those statistics may shock some, it’s important to note that cold weather also affects fuel efficiency of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In fact, a study completed by FleetCarma (a Geotab company), found that on average, ICE vehicles had a 19% decrease range at 0 F.

Since most of the latest EV models have a range of 200-300 miles per charge, and using the average 12% reduction of range from AAA’s study, drivers should expect to get between 170-260 miles per charge from your EV under cold winter conditions – which should be sufficient for most daily usage.

So what can you do to help extend your winter mileage range for your EV?

Check your tire pressure. While you should be checking your tire pressure at least once a month, you may want to consider making the habit more frequent in winter months (your Geotab telematics solution will have your tire pressure monitor information on your app should your vehicle be equipped with tire pressure monitors). Tire pressure is important since tire pressure drops as the ambient temperature falls and improperly inflated tires can reduce mileage range. With properly inflated tires you can save as much as 13% of your average mileage range.

Make preconditioning a routine. Preconditioning (warming the battery while your EV is still charging) makes the vehicle cab nice and warm so you don’t have to waste valuable battery usage to blast the heat while driving. Preconditioning can give you 10-15% more range and some EVs allow you to manage preconditioning through apps to make it even easier to do before you hit the roads. It’s important to note that a 240V level 2 charger is required for preconditioning as it requires more than a 120V level 1 charger can provide.

Park indoors when possible. As super-chilled batteries won’t perform as well or take as much charge as a warmer battery, you should try and park your EV indoors whenever possible. If indoor parking is not available, then parking in direct sunlight in the next best alternative.

Minimize your need for cabin heating. Using the HVAC in an EV is the number one battery drainer and can decrease mileage range by as much as 30%. Instead of using the HVAC in your EV, it’s recommended instead that you wear warm driving gloves, your coat, and use features such as heated seats and/or heated steering wheels instead as these features draw less energy than heating the entire cabin.

Drive conservatively. While this tip doesn’t only apply to winter, it will help your mileage range significantly. Excessive acceleration, braking, and driving at high speeds all drain EV battery life. Anticipate any stops ahead of time and give sufficient spacing between you and other vehicles to stop safely without having to brake harshly.

Use your eco-mode. While eco-modes can function differently between EV models, they all generally work to reduce power consumption and increase mileage range by reducing the energy supply to the drive motor and high energy features such as the cabin heater.

Be a smart charger. Since cold batteries have a greater resistance to charging, meaning they charge slower in colder temperatures, use a 240V level 2 fast charger for your main charge whenever possible. Also, if you plan on taking a longer road trip with your EV, it’s a smart idea to map out any fast chargers along your route for the most efficient charging stops.

If cold climates have been causing worry and stopping you from taking the leap to an EV, we hope the information provided has helped ease your worries and shown you how many manage their EV usage in the winter months to reduce loss of mileage range.

If you have any questions about how GPS to GO can help your fleet find efficiencies for ICE vehicles or how we can help you transition to electric, contact us here.

As of December 17th, all fleets in the U.S.A using the grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) will be required to be fully switched over to electronic logging devices (ELDs) as per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) final rule which was issued in late 2017.

The two-year grandfathering was put in place with the intention to ease the changeover to ELDs and not meant as a reason for fleets to wait until the last minute to comply, yet despite the lead time, warnings from experts that the switch over can be complex, and a rapidly closing compliance window, there remains more than a few trucking operations cutting things really close. If this applies to you, we strongly encourage you to contact us today.

It’s vitally important that employees are introduced to and trained on the ELD equipment and features before the day of conversion as inspectors will be expecting drivers to know how to use the ELD on December 17th without any further grace period or warnings being given. Having your ELD solution in place well in advance of the deadline allows for more thorough training for employees which will help reduce the number of entry errors, which equate to fewer violations during roadside inspection and minimizes the effect on your company’s safety record.

If it is found during a roadside inspection that a driver doesn’t know how to use their ELD solution, it is likely they will receive a citation, fine, and/or be put out of service. With the ELD mandate deadline falling in the middle of the holiday shopping season and the busiest time of year for many fleets, being down a driver or truck is the last thing you want.

The responsibility to have drivers up to speed on how to use ELDs isn’t the only training necessary to comply with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate – back office staff are also required to have a thorough understanding of all aspects of ELD operations. Should your business be audited and found that your back office is unsure how to use the ELD solution, they will, like drivers, be cited and the fleet will receive a fine. As these fines can be substantial, you don’t want to take that risk.

If you are not yet compliant with the FMCSA ELD mandate coming into force December 16th, contact GPS to GO today – the clock is ticking!