There has already been much change this year in the hours of service regulations in the U.S. and I feel there will be more coming down the pipes as we move more into electronic logs and the like. No matter how much talk there is about log regulations and how they affect driver’s sleep there is still something to be said for the basics. I think all of the different regulations, advertising from companies about lane choices, and other aspects of the job make it hard to decide where to work and where to run. Add on the capabilities of GPS units and the technology they offer and it can be hard to decide to use the map book and what benefits it has. Since the invention of the GPS the old fashioned way of using a map book to plan out your run has gone to the wayside. I see it all the time in my classes, because I still teach using an atlas, road markers, and other items that are non technology based.
I have no problem with technology and GPS units in fact I use them myself. The reason I still believe in the old way of trip planning is because it left you in control of your route by giving you the whole picture. By looking at the whole picture you are forced to see look at your destination and starting point allowing you to see the different options based on weather, season, and road conditions. I have been seeing a string of incidents at some carriers due to people just following the GPS and they end up putting themselves in front of low bridges. Other drivers are losing precious miles because they are not planning for the whole week and are showing up at appointments whenever they decide to show up. I had one driver tell me that Dispatch was surprised he got to the customer so they didn’t schedule his return load. Many drivers are dismissing information in classes that are vital to being successful as a professional driver because they feel it is too old school or too hard to figure out. Sure the GPS will give you all kinds of fancy numbers but is it showing you the right route choice to begin with? Trip planning is the key to making money in the transportation industry. It helps determine fuel consumption, drive times under the regulations, home time, and how many miles you can get under your belt.
I don’t care how much technology you have at your disposal, if you are not using your head and good judgement about your route choices you will not make money. The drivers that are good at trip planning and making money have been making route choices based upon experience and other factors such as the load type they carry. Technology has a way of taking over our minds and making the decisions for us and that is the opposite of how professional drivers should operate. just like the shortest way may not be the fastest way only the professional driver can make that decision, don’t let technology be your guide, let it be your assistant! Start trip planning for profit and you will see your income rise.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years and is the author of the books Driven to Drive and Running by the Mile. Bruce helps owner operators and new professional drivers through training and consulting. To learn more visit his website at www.outridgeenterprises.ca