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shaping changes in the way business
is conducted for the trucking industry:
safety and technology.
According to Doyle, the industry has
been under scrutiny for trucking acci-
dents in the last fifteen years and les-
sons have been learned. “The absence of
accidents benefits the bottom line,” he
says. “We’ve found that when making
operating decisions based on safety and
welfare of employees, we’re going to be
better in the long run.”
The relationships with major oil and gas
companies that have elevated safety as a pri-
ority also brought the importance of safety
to light for many trucking companies. Car-
lile, a major force in the North Slope freight
sector, provides specialized safety training
for its haul road drivers. Following a rough-
ly three-week course, drivers ride along
with other drivers on the route, then gradu-
ate to driving with another rig trailing and
observing, before making the journey solo.
As an additional safety measure for trucks
serving the North Slope, Carlile has imple-
mented controls that limit travel speeds.
Technology has proven a real boon to
the trucking industry. “We began us-
ing a complete information system in
a software program in 2009,” says Span
Alaska’s Onstott. The system provides
tracing and tracking capabilities. In ad-
dition to the GPS that enable companies
to identify locations of their assets, the
technology tracks details such as idle
time, mileage, and other driver-influ-
enced performance that can be evalu-
ated to improve operating efficiencies.
“The visibility to clients has improved,” says Renfrew of Pacific Alaska
Freightways. “They see the documents
live, as items are received and scanned
throughout the move.”
Carlile expected to have completed
installation of PeopleNet, a fleet management and driver communications tool,
this March at a cost of about $1 million
for the 350 company-owned tractors. Additional costs are incurred for training
drivers on use of the system. “
Technology provides more timely information
and a better understanding of our costs
that allows us to continue to be competitive in the Alaska market,” Howard says.
Howard explains that the company
opted for the satellite-supported com-
munication to ensure customers could
receive real-time updates on the loca-
tion of shipments without the gaps that
would result from a cellular-supported
version. In addition to collecting data on
fuel use, travel speed, and even whether
a seatbelt is used, the devices create elec-
tronic driver logs, which will prepare
Carlile to meet a federal mandate for that
practice that is expected to be codified
later this year and enforced in late 2017.
Doyle says Weaver Bros. has been integrating camera technology that captures video of the driver going down the
road. “Exposure for us is huge. Cameras
help provide defense against inappropriate insurance claims,” he notes.
Trucking industry representatives traveled to Juneau in early February to
advance the 2015 legislative priorities
identified by the ATA. Thompson says
that the organization reduced the number of issues to three this year from the
typical eight or more issues: invest in
the Dalton Highway, support training
driver/technician efforts, and invest in
the National Highway System.
Drivers who have traveled the Dalton
Highway (haul road) testified during