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The Function, Necessity, and Benefits of Fleet Tracking Devices

You trust the drivers in your trucking fleet, but it is wise to monitor them. Doing so is not a sign of questioning their behavior or honesty; it is just good business practice. The only way to know whether any of your drivers has made a detour or an unauthorized stop, has driven over the speed limit, or is close to exceeding approved hours is to install fleet tracking devices.

You must also meet government safety and environmental regulations. You cannot know if your company is in full compliance unless you keep an eye on your trucks and drivers. Fleet tracking devices will allow you to do so.

What Is a Fleet Tracking Device?

A fleet tracking device is a management system that enables trucking companies to monitor vehicles on the road and the actions and behaviors of the drivers who operate them.

Trucking is the main means by which goods are transported throughout the country. Over the years, deregulation and the rise of independent truck operators have made the industry more competitive. Every company must now focus on cost-effectiveness in order to survive. The fleet tracking device was designed to help them meet this aim.

Benefits of a Fleet Tracking Device

A GPS fleet tracking device allows management to collect data from fleet vehicles and assets. Here are some of the benefits of using a fleet tracking device:

  • Improve driver habits by reducing engine idling time and harsh cornering
  • Reduce fuel costs through the reduction of fuel consumption
  • More efficient dispatching
  • Help ensure compliance with state and federal mandates
  • Reduce fleet maintenance costs by tracking diagnostic information

Truck management teams can also use the real-time data collected through a GPS fleet tracking device to make strategic decisions about operations. They can make a more informed decision about which vehicle should be dispatched to a new job. In some instances, they may know when a truck is about to break down or malfunction, can give adequate warning to a driver, and tell them the location of the nearest service station.

How Does a Fleet Tracking Device Work?

Most fleet tracking devices are installed on the dashboard of the truck through an onboard diagnostic system (OBD) port. The tracker continuously monitors the performance metrics of the vehicle and updates on the cloud using a high-speed connection. The tracker comes with a G-force sensor for detecting acceleration and abrupt movements, including over-steering and harsh braking.

How to Install a Fleet Tracking Device?

The way that you install a fleet tracking device depends on whether your trucks have OBDs. If you have older trucks, then you may need to install the device through the hardwired black box under the dashboard. This is a three-wire installation. It can only be done by your in-house maintenance team. They should have the tools and expertise to get it right. If you have this kind of system, you will also need to install a GPS antenna. You will have to ensure that the cables are kept away from other electrical devices, as they may interrupt the satellite connection.

If your trucks have OBDs, it is much easier to install fleet tracking devices. You need only do the following:

  1. Locate the OBD port, which will probably be under the dashboard or vehicle steering wheel.
  2. Insert the fleet tracking device into the port.
  3. Install the fleet tracking device app or software onto your company computer or mobile device.
  4. Turn on the engine to sync the GPS device with your app.

A final word on mobile devices: it is possible to monitor your OBD-linked fleet tracking device through your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth. This will allow you to monitor your fleet no matter where you are. Try Webfleet for free.

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