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October 1 2018

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October 1 2018 | The Journal of Commerce 47 www.joc.com Surface Transportation who's at fault in an accident. "We do things very deliberately here," said Brad Aimone, director of driver and safety services at Central Oregon Truck Co., a Daseke company. "Metrics and data mining are a big thing for us." So is carefully managing more than 300 flatbed and heavy-haul truck drivers. Central Oregon Truck didn't have high hopes for driver acceptance when it decided to test onboard cameras. "I drove for many years and brought the baggage many drivers would bring to it: 'Not in my truck!'" Aimone said. "I thought I'd have to cajole people." He steeled himself for a struggle to find 25 volunteers to test out the SmartDrive camera-based safety sys - tem. However, the struggle wasn't as hard as he feared. "I messaged the fleet and had 25 spots filled in 30 minutes. FREIGHT SHIPPERS AND US trucking companies that increasingly rely on technology to increase efficiency and productivity in the electronic logging device (ELD) era need to ensure truck drivers are onboard with innovation and not left idling on the outside of the process. Failure to do so can lead to higher driver turnover rates for motor carriers and higher truck rates, rejected tenders, and loss of capacity for shippers in a market where drivers have more oppor - tunity than ever to choose where they will work and what they will haul. What's required is a deliberate, inclusive approach to introducing new technology, especially potentially controversial systems, such as onboard cameras that face both the highway and the driver, recording video that can be used to determine I even had a waiting list of people who wanted to get in on it." There are several potential reasons for that rapid response: For one, drivers are more accustomed to using technol- ogy of all types. Second, SmartDrive and other safety systems based on onboard cameras have become more common over the past five years or so. But Central Oregon Truck also has a reputation for working closely with its truck drivers through a six-person driver safety and services team. Driver coaches provide guidance and assis- tance to drivers who want to improve skills and occasionally get behind the wheel themselves. That inclusive management style eschews a strict top-down approach. "You have to approach each driver dif- ferently, which means you need people who are really good at interpersonal skills," Aimone said. Veteran drivers require a different approach than less-experienced recruits. "Journeymen drivers are proud people, and they're not always going to take criticism well," he said. But using SmartDrive videos to specifically show them why and how they need to change behavior, and especially to positively recognize good performance, "has a huge impact. "People respond far better to posi - tive recognition than they do to being told they need to do better," Aimone said. "I called a guy this morning to pat him on the back" after a video showed the driver taking proper steps to avoid an accident. "My hopes are he'll tell his buddies." Truck drivers, and the mobile tech- nology they use, often are the linchpins on which enterprise-level transporta- tion systems revolve, the source of data related to available hours of service, shipment status, and location data, or more detailed transactional information. For decades, however, truck drivers have been portrayed as tech- nophobes, a characterization that is grossly unfair. Truck drivers haven't been opposed to technology as much as they've protested how technology may be used against their interests, as they see them. They've been more than willing to adopt technology, though, when they see clear, proven benefits. The revo- lution in smartphone-based trucking apps over the past decade, leading to Pitching technology Convincing truck drivers of technology's value is key to boosting efficiency and safety By William B. Cassidy Truck drivers haven't been opposed to technology as much as they've protested how technology may be used against their interests, as they see them. Shutterstock.com

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