Telematics beyond ELD systems: Promise, redundancy and real expense/uptime benefits

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Reefer trailers in Chris Porricelli’s CAP Trucking business, which recently joined forces with JT Carriers, are outfitted with Thermo King’s TracKing telematics system, for which Porricellie spends little — about $30 annually per trailer.

When the electronic logging device mandate brought digital tracking and automated elements of time-keeping into the cab of most owner-operators’ trucks, it also brought opportunity for added functionality. With a connection directly to the truck’s electronic control module (ECM), many ELD providers are today functioning as telematics systems for owners, delivering not only the hours of service record-keeping functionality required by the mandate but valuable vehicle-performance insights.

In-cab telematics and trailer telematics systems scored fairly low on the cost-benefit measures derived from Overdrive’s State of Surveillance survey responses, with both generally earmarked as more costly than beneficial by respondents who used such systems. Yet few reported using such dedicated systems in the truck (17%) or trailer (15%) beyond use of an ELD system, likely given some similar benefits derived..

Small fleet owner Chris Porricelli, Overdrive’s 2022 Small Fleet Champ in the 3-10-truck division, however, doesn’t employ ELDs in his small fleet of gliders. He relies on Thermo King’s TracKing trailer telematics system. He adopted the system to obtain a real-time, back-office window into reefer-unit performance among his several owned trailers. Through an online dashboard and/or an app on his phone, “now I can monitor all the temperatures of all the trailers and how fast they’re going, and when they need fuel,” and more, he said. “You name it, it tells you what the trailer’s doing. And that has been a huge help, because sometimes I’m able to tell a driver there’s a problem before he even knows.”  Read full article