What it does: This app from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is a comprehensive reference guide for chain permissions/prohibitions by state. (OOIDA also offers a free fuel surcharge calculator app.)
What they say: “Know how the state you’re trucking through regulates the use of tire chains and travel.”
Access: Android. ooida.com, via the apps page
Spotlight on EOBR mandate
Today, only the Xata Turnpike app is capable of providing logging functionality on a smartphone to satisfy federal regulations of electronic onboard recorders for hours of service monitoring. As of mid-May, it was one of the only low-cost EOBRs on the market, though others were in the works.
The other smartphone-functional logging devices are computer-assisted logs. Any operator using such will still have to satisfy record-keeping and other requirements of the paper log regulations. Logging programs must be able to be retrieved and printed or emailed/faxed for view on request of law enforcement.
The maker of the uDrove logging solution, functional on the iPhone, Android phones and Blackberries, is building the uDrove Gateway system to be a full-function EOBR, positioned for a potential mandate. uDrove’s will be another low-cost EOBR, with wireless communication between a “black box” connected to the ECM and the operator’s smartphone. As with the Xata Turnpike EOBR, uDrove’s will be managed directly from the smartphone. In addition to logs, critical equipment information will be accessible in real time to identify cost-reduction opportunities and track performance.
The device will be available this year, says uDrove rep Scott Moscrip. “Fleets and owner-operators can start out with the phone [for computer-assisted logging], and if the mandate does come, they don’t have to scrub anything,” he says. “All they have to do is plug the black box into their truck, and it starts talking to the phone.”
Crowd-sourcing on-highway information
The Truckster app’s creator, Leigh Gagnon, was a long-haul driver when he began developing the app for the iPhone, one of the earliest of its kind. When it debuted in 2009, there “was nothing else like it out there,” he says, and Gagnon called it, simply, “Truck Stops.”
Today the app is more than just a truck stop locator with fuel-price information. Gagnon has begun listing services, from SpeedCo and TransFlo locations to alternative parking data and driver-provided information on the open/closed status of weigh stations, input in real time. Gagnon’s also working on an online interface for truck stop operators to make available special offers and information to Truckster users.
Truckster had offered load search capability, partnering with TransCore’s DAT network, but terminated the contract in May when TransCore released a similar app.
Gaghon is now working on his own load board service.
• The Chase Mobile app allows a Chase account holder to snap a photo of a check with an iPhone or Android phone and deposit it directly.