Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Driver Management and Reducing Emissions

New technology puts an industry asset to the test

It is no secret that the Golden State has driven engine standards for both on and off-road heavy duty equipment. Now that the major upgrades for national on-road engine standards are implemented, a new set of challenges is coming to the regulated community who is being forced to adopt technology they are not previously accustomed to. Sophisticated emissions control systems are at the heart of every heavy duty diesel engine manufactured for sale today. Ever-increasing costs of these sophisticated emissions controls has forced the industry to take a hard look at cost saving measures to offset the cost of the vehicles and to save on the bottom line as everything needed to operate a transportation company becomes more expensive. Aerodynamic devices, low rolling resistant tires, route maximizations, along with technological solutions are all worthwhile budget friendly measures that may in fact boost fuel economy with little up-front costs.

A not so recent discussion of potential fuel savings has started to emerge again around the actual operation of the vehicle. Those in the trucking industry know that you could give the same truck to two different drivers, with the same routes under the same conditions and get two drastically different results. The newest emissions technology is even more sensitive to driver habits. Without proper training and direction potential fuel savings could be lost under the pedal.

Drivers are the backbone of the transportation industry in this country. As a consumer society, we remain oblivious to the challenges faced by these brave men and women who dedicate their professional careers to transporting our medicine, our groceries and our mail. Trucking is an economic bellwether of the US; over 80% of the freight by volume is carried by truck. With population and consumption estimates on the rise, more trucks and more drivers will be needed to keep the wheels of our economy turning. With an already dwindling driver pool, it is up to the industry to best equip the hard working folks who haul our freight with the tools necessary to maximize the return potential of this valuable equipment.


Several driver training programs are being developed to help existing and incoming drivers understand efficient operation of these complex machines. Serious direction from those contracting or employing drivers to complete an efficiency management program is needed to realize additional fuel and maintenance cost savings. Motor carriers should step up and invest in training that providess a noticeable return in efficiency and fuel savings. After all, since drivers are their best assets, carriers should enrich their experience to reap the rewards.

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