The year 2017 is certain to bring many changes, and the trucking industry may be among those to be affected by regulatory shifts and the adoption of new technologies, including some directly related to GPS fleet tracking and management. Amendments made to current industry regulation and emerging technologies are of special interest to fleet managers and the 3.5 million truck drivers working in the United States. Some of the changes predicted to happen this year include a broader adoption of self-driving technology, more intuitive accident prevention, and regulatory reform related to emissions.
Self-Driving Technology in Trucking
Trucking industry trends can be controversial at times. One such trend that has been making trucking business news is the deployment and adoption of self-driving vehicles. With many manufacturers investing in this technology, it wouldn't be surprising to see autonomous vehicles starting to be tested more frequently across the trucking industry.
Recently, ride-sharing giant Uber purchased Otto Motors, a San Francisco start-up producing self-driving vehicles for material, not passenger, transport. This past October, the self-driving trucks made their maiden voyage, delivering 50,000 cans of beer in Colorado.
Self-driving technology may well be the future and is seen by Washington as an evolution that can help address an overwhelming number of crashes, but there are technologies on the market today that can also help the trucking industry address its safety needs.
More Intuitive Accident Prevention Technology
In what will undoubtedly be "the year of the truck," drivers will be able to use new and innovative tools on the road. With telematics and GPS vehicle tracking, the ride will be more intuitive than ever.
Telematics data can be a key part of a fleet’s road safety initiative, providing insight to diagnose the cause of any accidents and more importantly, key information about driver behavior trends that enables them make changes before an incident occurs. With a reported 94 percent of crashes in the U.S. being caused by human choice or error, technologies like our Driver and Fleet Safety solutions can provide a Fleet Manager with the tools to reduce on road risk.
The Propensity for Regulatory Reform
Another big topic to watch for in 2017 in trucking industry news is reform, with a capital "R." Trucking industry professionals anticipate and have their fingers crossed for a loosening of industry regulations. Although it's largely accepted that more recent regulations, including those related to electronic driver logs (ELDs), will not likely be revisited anytime soon, emissions regulations may see some changes, with the phase 2 emission regulations not being mandated by congress.
With the presidential election now in our rearview mirror, trucking groups across the nation and lobbyists are looking forward to a review of industry regulations and, more importantly, the rebuilding of the country's transportation infrastructure.
Industry advocate Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs for the Western States Trucking Association, summed it up by saying, "We're all going to find out if (President) Trump and the Republicans can deliver."
Only time will tell if they can, and those in the trucking industry will likely have their answer in 2017.
What's your trucking outlook in 2017? Do you have any predictions to share with us?