Do you remember what you did when you were a kid and saw a big rig on the road? You would roll down the window and pump your arm, and if you were lucky, the driver would let his horn rip, letting the whole highway know that he was heading northeast with a cargo of Florida oranges. You might never have imagined what the interior of that trucker’s cabin looked like. If you did, you probably envisioned it as a simple space with minimal technology: A CB, a cassette deck and that horn that sounds like a call to Valhalla. Today, however, long haul rigs are outfitted with all sorts of high-tech gadgets. From applications that track service hours and centrifugal oil cleaning systems to drowsy driver alerts and Diesel Exhaust Fluid, the big rig is looking more and more like a 21st century space ship.
Manual Logs Are a Thing of the Past
In many big rigs, manual log systems have been replaced with hours of service applications. This not only increases efficiency, but cuts down on human error. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are involved in: Increased productivity is the name of the game. While many truck drivers might feel this new application is like having Big Brother watch over them, it’s designed to help truck drivers improve reporting accuracy and increase productivity.
Greener Trucks and a Happier Environment
Tractor trailers and environmentalism are two things that normally do not go together. It is like saying an SUV gets good gas mileage. However, that is all beginning to change. Today, big rigs are being outfitted with portable centrifugal oil cleaning systems. This type of technology is beneficially for many reasons. First, the oil in the truck’s engine can be used many times, therefore there is not only less wear and tear on the engine but the truck does not need to be serviced as often. Companies love to hear those two words: money saver. Second, it allows for a safer and greener disposal of waste products. Many landfills across the country prohibit the dumping of oil filters. Where does the oil waste end up? It is better not to ask. The centrifugal oil cleaning system is a green alternative.
Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is another green technology that long haul rigs are incorporating. It is a non-hazardous chemical that is sprayed into the exhaust and used to reduce harmful emissions. The EPA has set strict guidelines for emissions. The agency believes that by reducing harmful emissions, the U.S. can save 70 billion dollars, the majority of that money being spent on illnesses and premature births due to exposure.
Drowsiness on the Long Haul
Truckers log a lot of hours. Drowsiness has always been a serious concern, especially at night when the highway has a hypnotic quality to it. The drowsy driver alert system monitors the driver’s performance. It measures steering movements and eyes closure. If any signs of drowsiness are detected, an alarm system activates.
Big rigs have been modified for the new millennium. The next time you see a six wheeler barreling down the highway, be sure to pump your arm like the old days. Let those truckers toot their horns for all the improvements that have been made.