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How many hours a week do you spend stuck in traffic? The time spent hitting your brakes, inching forward ever so slowly, or at a dead stop altogether adds up by minutes and hours easily and costs much more than just wasted time for fleets. Fuel used idling can add up to a significant loss for companies, and there is research that suggests traffic jams are linked to stress, higher blood pressure, and weight gain, however this doesn’t have to be the case for your drivers. To be able to combat traffic congestion and the costs and health issues associated with it, the types of traffic congestion and categories that cause it must first be explained to get a better idea of the ways to beat it.

There are two types of traffic congestion – recurring and non-recurring. Recurring traffic congestion happens on a daily basis due to the lack of capacity of the road. Simply put, there are more vehicles travelling on the road than the road can physically fit. Non-recurring traffic congestion on the other hand does not necessarily occur on a daily basis, as it consists of temporary disruptions such as bad weather, vehicle collisions and construction.

The four main categories for causing traffic congestion are: Environmental (non-recurring), Mechanical (non-recurring), Human (non-recurring), and Infrastructure (recurring).

Environmentally caused traffic congestion occurs because of weather, from rainy or foggy weather, to the extreme snowstorms that stop drivers in their tracks, weather can have an uncontrollable effect on not only traffic but road conditions as well. It’s not just the large storms that can cause traffic headaches; even a gentle rain can have a compounding effect on traffic if all drivers slow down together.

Mechanically caused traffic congestion can sometimes fall under the human-caused category if a mechanical breakdown was caused my improper vehicle maintenance, however, it could also happen as a result of a sharp or large object on the road that is unavoidable. The biggest traffic congestion headaches that can happen as a result of a mechanical breakdown is when other drivers merge into surrounding lanes, creating a traffic snarl, instead of stopping to allow the broken down vehicle move to the shoulder of the road so traffic can resume a steady flow. While in some cases a driver may have been able to prevent the issues, even some of the most seasoned and responsible drivers have found themselves in these situations.

Human caused traffic congestion can be as a result of distracted driving, drunk driving, drowsy driving, or emotional driving. The most common traffic congestion caused by humans is known as “phantom traffic jams”, which occur when drivers make quick decisions and engage in behaviours like last minute braking, causing a ripple effect. Depending on other traffic conditions, this one action can slow traffic in that lane and the surrounding lanes or area for hours. These situations are known as “phantom traffic jams” because as drivers get through the sluggish spot, it will seem as though absolutely nothing caused the slowdown. The effects of a last-minute braking become much worse when a collision occurs, even something as small as a fender bender. If a collision does occur, the time getting the involved vehicles off the roadway causes even more residual traffic, and traffic slows down even worse when “rubbernecking” (when drivers slow down to look at an accident) occurs.

Infrastructure caused traffic congestion could again, like mechanical, be argued to be human-caused, however while humans created it, infrastructure is so vast and the world around it changing so rapidly, that it’s not necessarily the fault of engineers who didn’t foresee the demands which would be put on the roads at exponential rates. From potholes that cause slowdowns to bottlenecks in areas that simply out-populated their roadways, infrastructure is a hidden troll that amplifies traffic problems in many urban and suburban areas. Ironically, efforts to improve infrastructure and eliminate traffic congestion issues through construction can often cause significant traffic congestion.

With so many ways traffic can go wrong; it can seem daunting trying to figure out a way to avoid the hiccups that are sure to pop up in your daily commute. The task can seem even more intimidating for fleet managers who can have fleets of all sizes on the roads at any given time. So how can you avoid traffic congestion?

While some factors are outside your control, Geotab’s GPS tracking system technology provides a modern-day solution to the traffic challenges your fleet may face, saving your company time and money lost spent sitting in traffic and saving your drivers the potential health risks linked to traffic jams. Not only can Geotab’s GPS tracking system track fuel usage, it also allows fleet managers to identify and reduce unproductive miles, and see how much time is spent idling so they can better manage routes. If you are interested in saving your business money and time with Geotab’s GPS tracking system, contact us today!

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its annual Brake Safety Day on September 7th, and the results might stop you dead in your tracks. Brake Safety Day is part of the CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrators (FMCSA). Since the program began in 1998, it has inspected more than 3.4 million brakes.

With a total of 7,698 vehicle inspections performed between the United States and Canada during the 2017 edition of the annual enforcement blitz, 78% of the vehicles inspected did not have violations that would’ve placed the vehicles out of service. There were, however, 1,064 inspections conducted that resulted in an out of service violation for brake-related violations.

The goal of the annual Brake Safety Day is to reduce the number of crashes caused by faulty braking systems. The roadside inspections allow officials to not only perform important inspections, but to also educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators, and others on the importance of proper brake inspection and regular maintenance.

The enforcement blitz also allows an opportunity for officials to get valuable data on how well antilock braking systems (ABS) are maintained in accordance with federal regulations. The Brake Safety Day found many ABS-related violations including:

  • 5,456 air-braked power units requiring ABS
  • 749 trailers requiring ABS
  • 821 hydraulic-braked trucks requiring ABS
  • 49 buses requiring ABS

Properly functioning braking systems are a crucial part of safe commercial motor vehicle operation and would mean the difference between life or death as poorly maintained or improperly installed brake systems can reduce braking efficiency and increase stopping distances required of large vehicles. This not only poses a serious safety risk to drivers, but to the public as well.

Don’t wait for roadside checks, or an accident, to know whether or not your braking system is working properly. Be proactive and stay on top of regular maintenance for your fleet vehicles. Our GPS tracking device includes scheduled maintenance reminders as well as alerts for any engine issues, letting you get the full picture of your vehicle’s status so you can stay ahead of violations or breakdowns and keep your fleet on the road.

New FDA regulations are making making the rules and protocols around the transportation of food and other temperature sensitive goods stricter. In order to maintain compliance and ensure your fleets are fully equipped to provide consistent temperature reporting, read on.

FSMA Cold Chain Management Fleet Tracking

FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

Back in 2011 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) passed the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA. The act was passed in order to ensure the safety of the population by preventing contamination to the food supply. This has been seen as the largest reform to food safety laws in America in the last 70 years.

Preventing Food Contamination

With the new Food Safety Modernization Act, the FDA is aiming to shift focus from responding to outbreaks of contaminated food to preventing them before they even happen. In doing so, they are enforcing more stringent requirements on sanitary transportation practices. One such instance relates to requirements for vehicles and transportation equipment, transportation operations, training, and record keeping. Included in this list of requirements is one for individuals who transport foods that require time and temperature control to ensure they are safely maintained through the transportation cold chain during operations.

Transportation Cold Chain Management

In order to comply with the new regulations, soon it will be mandatory for refrigerated trucks carrying temperature sensitive food and goods to maintain strict temperature protocols including pre-cooling the vehicle, during loading and unloading operations, and during the transportation phase. In order to show accountability for this, consistent temperature reporting is required throughout all stages of the transportation cold chain. Shippers must also provide a complete temperature report to the receiver upon request.

Easiest Way to Track Reefer Temperature

In order to stay compliant with the FSMA and ensure that your temperature records are properly kept on your cargo, one of the easiest ways currently available on the market is the Valor Temptrac Reefer Temperature Monitoring system. This system easily integrates with your Geotab GPS Fleet Tracking devices with an easy to install kit including sensors and other hardware, and the software can easily be installed from the Geotab Marketplace. Once these components are put in place, you’ll have all your temperature data at your fingertips.

Geotab Fleet Tracking

In addition to the value of consistent temperature monitoring for your fleet of vehicles, Geotab also offers a range of other valuable features as well, including:

Improved productivity
Better customer service
Reminders for regular vehicle maintenance and security
Reduced costs
Safer driving

Get Rolling Today

There’s a reason that over 400,000 vehicles use Geotab – it’s simply the best. Get started today with our famous $50 GPS fleet tracking trial offer. Here’s how it works:

• You try out a device or devices on your fleet vehicle(s).
• When you’re ready to buy, we credit $50 to your account.
• If you’re not 100% on board, no problem.

Remember, there’s no hassle, no obligation.. and no excuse not to get rolling today!

Thanks for reading,

Russ Salo, president

GPS to GO, Now You Know