New Technology to Reduce Wait Times for Truckers

The American Trucking Association reported a nationwide freight total of close to ten million tons hauled in 2011. New technology geared to reducing the significant wait time for truckers at roadside check stations is being previewed on Friday in Indiana. Officials for federal and state trucking safety measures want to help truckers idle less at weigh stations and get moving in the name of safety, commerce and efficiency. They also want to make sure more is done to curb the likelihood of illegal transports.

The administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Anne Ferro, will appear in Richmond on Interstate 70 at a demonstration for two new technological measures. Both will gauge compliance among commercial truckers and keep the highways safer. Statewide budget constraints have led to scrutiny of the trucking industry. The introduction of the new technologies is intended to narrow the gap between fewer or stable numbers of freeway patrol officers and the increasing numbers of big rigs on the road.

Innovation One is the 360SmartView, a high-definition camera device courtesy of Help, Inc. The 360SmartView has the ability to scan a big rig's license plate and Department of Transportation number upon roll-in at an inspection station. The information is processed at a dizzingly fast speed and matched againt ninety government databases. Inspection agents are able to remotely receive visual proof of any transport with the 360SmartView and confirm its compliance.

The 360SmartView is tailored to road safety and the singling out of unsafe carriers. The device will allow inspection officers to prevent between three and five percent of potential crashes. Statistically, that is more than triple or quadruple the number of big rig wrecks currently prevented by costly manual inspection measures. Out of over 400,000 transport-related crashes, the new prevention variable will be closer to five percent. It doesn't sound like much, but it is an immense improvement.
Indiana Department of Revenue Deputy Commissioner Jim Poe approves of the device and cites its versatility in networking with multiple federal and state agencies to weed out noncompliant drivers. Likewise, Department of Revenue spokesman Robert Dittmer confirms the seconds-long electronic process which once took minutes to complete. The time is money equation is also acknowledged — much money will indeed be saved.

Innovation Two is a prototype similar to a vehicular transponder called PrePass. PrePass is already installed in thirty-one states and multiple hundreds of inspection stations. Help, Inc. is also in the middle of an upgrade for PrePass that will enhance its data relay-receipt speed. Truckers with above-average safety driving records can be be screened for PrePass and enrolled and kept current in cross-state databases. PrePass is configured like a commuter's toll road transponder. The process begins as a trucker enters a hypothetical window of several miles near a weigh station. PrePass sends an electronic profile to the station's main computer or an officer's palm device. The driver can bypass the station altogether if the database reports instances of noncompliance are absent or if the driver gets the virtual wave-off.

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