Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_top position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_bottom position below the menu.

Sample Sidebar Module

This is a sample module published to the sidebar_bottom position, using the -sidebar module class suffix. There is also a sidebar_top position below the search.

For OEMs, fleet managers and owner-operators of Class 7 or 8 trucks, keeping all the various lights on a trailer functioning properly can eliminate a considerable amount of trouble. This includes avoiding CSA fines or citations for severity points, but also eliminating a glaring reason for law enforcement to pull the vehicle over.

In fact, more than 25% of all CSA violations in the heavy-duty trucking industry are related to lighting outages from inoperable lamps or defective/broken lights. As such, it represents one of the largest annual expense items, when CSA fines, maintenance, downtime and repair are factored together.

Given that lighting-related CSA violations are so common, the industry is responding with new ‘smart’ systems that provide continuous, real-time monitoring of all lights on the trailer to identify outages or electrical shorts.

For notifications and alerts, today’s solutions go far beyond the flashing indicator lights of the past. In more advanced systems, real-time status of every light on the trailer can be transmitted via on-board telematics or wirelessly through Bluetooth where it can be accessed through a user-friendly smartphone app.

Armed with this level of information, owner-operators as well as fleet and maintenance managers are able to maximize safety and increase uptime, while minimizing CSA exposure.

Lighting systems get smarter

Every trailer requires fully functioning lamps at all times on the road.  This includes those for stop, left and right turn signal, tail, license, clearance, side marker, and identification.  However, problems arise due to lamps burning out, corrosion in the wiring or plugs, electrical shorts or issues related to shock, vibration, or physical damage.

Fortunately, lighting issues are typically resolved quite easily with spare fuses, replacement lights/bulbs and the right tools. The difficulty, therefore, is simply knowing a problem exists so it can be addressed immediately.

Although pre- and post-trip inspections (if conducted diligently) may expose a problem with one or more of the lights, outages that occur while on the road may not be known about until much later. As already suggested, this could draw the attention of law enforcement and even up the possibility of additional CSA citations.

Lights that are out are easy targets for a inspector. When a truck is pulled over, it can trigger the officer to investigate everything else like the driver logs, brake wear or tire tread.

Although there are lighting monitoring products available, until recently there have been a few drawbacks. One system utilizes only a flashing light to indicate an outage. Another uses an indicator light on the outside of the truck, but can also be connected to telematics. However, it works only with LEDs and requires extensive trailer alteration for installation. 

However, a new approach from Grote called the Guardian Smart Trailer System can be easily integrated into the trailer’s wiring harness system at the nose box. The system was created in collaboration with one of the largest trailer manufacturers in North America, and is currently being used by more than a dozen fleets across the US.

The fully integrated smart system delivers real-time status of the entire trailer lighting system and works with any type of lamp.    

The system’s sensor continuously monitors voltage and current passing through the wire harness. The system is programmed to differentiate notable or sudden changes from those that are gradual and could be caused by lights warming up or ambient temperature conditions.

The system alerts a driver, maintenance or fleet manager using a smartphone app or it can be connected to the on-board telematics system. All the information on status and any changes are logged in cloud-based storage for data analysis.

The same sensors could be used to measure temperature, humidity, pressure, or other factors as part of a bumper-to-bumper solution as the industry moves more toward monitoring of additional tractor-trailer functions.

Because of the importance of collecting accurate data, the wire harnesses used should be extremely reliable and resistant to corrosion for the smart systems to function optimally.

For this reason, it is recommended to utilize the wire harnesses that are resistant to moisture, chemical and UV attack, which will stay flexible and not harden or crack.

Next generation smart systems

One aspect of the next generation system, planned for release in April 2018, is of particular interest to trailer OEMs and fleet managers is a ‘geo-fence’ feature that will automatically upload trailer lighting and electrical system information and send alerts for priority attention, as needed. 

Geo-fencing allows a virtual geographic boundary to be drawn around a specific location, such as a facility or repair depot. When the geo-fence is crossed and there is a lamp or light outage, it can be programmed to automatically trigger a warning via email or text message to appropriate personnel.

Once the tractor-trailer crosses the established geo-fence, the maintenance manager will immediately be notified. This approach could even allow for automatic electronic ordering of replacement lamps, if desired.

The ability to proactively identify and resolve any lighting, electrical, or other tractor-trailer issues will only grow as this kind of real-time monitoring system becomes more sophisticated. In the trucking industry, access to this type of information is going to reduce CSA violations and ensure safer, simpler operation.

For more information, contact Grote at 2600 Lanier Drive, Madison, Indiana 47250; phone: +1 (800) 628-0809; email: info@grote.com; or online at www.grote.com/guardian.

Current News

New Research Findings: Labour Market Impacts of COVID-19 for Canada’s National Trucking Industry

Trucking HR Canada released the second report in a series focused on assessing labour market impacts of COVID-19. This report includes updated insights of how COVID-19 is affecting trucking and logistics employment, and what can be expected for employers in the industry in the next three years. This second stage of the report presents a labour market forecast and shares results based on the ramifications of COVID-19. In the forecast, we learn that:

  • Over the first two quarters of 2020, employment in the trucking and logistics sector is expected to contract by 10.4%, or 72,000 jobs, due to COVID-19. We expect a 10.9% contraction among truck drivers and 10.0% decline among non-truck driver occupations.
  • Given anticipated retirements and other labour outflows from the truck driver occupation, there is a strong indication that, by 2023, labour demand is unlikely to be fully met, which would mean a return to driver shortages.
  • We estimate that COVID-19 and its economy-wide impacts will result in declines in truck driver employment that cost the truck transportation industry approximately $3.2 billion in sales in 2020.

On July 9, the Government of Canada held a briefing to share this important update with officials and ultimately aid in good decision making for the industry. Trucking HR Canada partnered with The Conference Board of Canada to undertake research assessing the labour impacts of Covid-19 on the trucking and logistics sector. This forecast is designed to help us better understand what employers might expect down the road in terms of post-COVID economic rebound projections, forecasts of employment as well as estimates on expected employment losses.

You can download the report at truckinghr.com.

Trucking HR Canada is a national, non-profit organization, advancing modern HR solutions for the trucking and logistics workforce. We collaborate, partner, and work with a dynamic network including industry associations, government departments and industry professionals to ensure Canada’s freight transportation network has the skilled workforce needed for today and into the future.