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Monday, March 24, 2014

Trucking Technology: What's new for the tech savvy trucker?

New Bluetooth options, GPS gadgets, and infrared faulty break detectors - Oh My! We are in a technology driven world and many companies are pulling out all the stops to keep up with the trucking industry. Now even if you are not the best tech wrangler, these new gadgets are super user friendly and provide a great bang for your hard earned buck.

New Bluetooth Options
Who doesn't love Bluetooth. Since hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers has been banned, Bluetooth turned into a great option for drivers who need to stay connected. There is a Bluetooth for everyone and here are some of the latest and greatest options:

Aliph Jawbone Era - It's the first Bluetooth headset with an accelerometer and dedicated applications processor, which could turn into anything from a game controller to a pedometer, or a navigation unit. -Crazy what they can come up with, uh? - Reviews do show mixed results on sound quality, so that is something to look into before purchasing, but it is a nifty little gizmo that has a wide rage of usage.



Plantronics Voyager Legend - If you don't mind a bigger headset - which usually stay in place better - the Voyager Legend is a great option to consider. It is an evolution on an award-winning design that works well for commercial drivers because it has amazing sound quality. Reviews have been extremely positive on the sound quality and people love the magnetic charging connector to help save battery life. This latest model features improved hardware controls that are really easy to find and use.



Motorola Roadster 2 - First - Love the name, really appeals to the inner racer in us all. This option is great if you do not want a flashing Bluetooth in your ear. It is a hands-free device - always a good option when on the road - that clips right to the visor of your truck. It has a FM transmitter that allows you to broadcast calls, music, and apps to your stereo speakers. The sound quality is very clear and this Bluetooth received high rating for ease of use.


New GPS Option
Rand McNally has released their 3rd generation Truck GPS - Rand McNally TND 720 LM IntelliRoute. This new updated version was created via driver request. The 720 allows you to input your truck specific information to help ease the driving. It comes with a few Wi-Fi connected services with no subscription costs - weather, fuel prices, and local search. Some of the truck-friendly features include:
Route comparisons - there is almost always more than 1 way to somewhere and the route comparison allows you to weigh your options.

Lifetime Maps

Millions of Points of Interests

State Mileage and Fuel Logs - Great for IFTA

Driving Timers

Now what was that you said about Infrared Faulty-Brake Detection?
The Washington State Police and the Washington DOT have launched a program that detects faulty brakes on trucks through the use of infrared technology. Here's how it works:
Trucks drive over embedded cameras at the DuPont, Washington weigh station. The cameras use thermography to assess the condition of the breaks. If the brakes are working, a red color is indicated on the controller's computer screen. If the brakes are not good, a blue color is indicated.
Washington is the only state to utilize this brake-checking technology.

Technology will never stop improving and the right technology is an invaluable asset to the trucking industry. Bluetooth is great when needing to stay in constant communication, just remember to keep distractions to a minimum so you are safer on the road. For GPS updates, we are always looking for the latest and greatest, one of the big features we will be looking out for is automatic IFTA uploads -wouldn't that simplify your IFTA return. And if you are ever in Washington state and hit the DuPont weigh station, your truck is being scanned by the most innovative brake checking technology. Stay safe out there, over and out.

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