Channel 19

Todd Dills

‘Wireless Roadside Inspection’ inches closer to reality

| June 27, 2013
On-site in 2011 for the final day of a Wireless Roadside Inspection test project, also the day FMCSA proposed to mandate electronic onboard recorders for hours of service compliance.

On-site in 2011 for the final day of a Wireless Roadside Inspection test project, also the day FMCSA proposed to mandate electronic onboard recorders for hours of service compliance.

Longtime readers may be able to search back in that data bank known as the brain and recall that, in January 2011, as I worked on a series of initial Overdrive features about the then little infant of a program still called CSA 2010 (if my own memory serves and they in fact hadn’t yet dropped the 2010, though I may be wrong), I visited the Greene County, Tenn., scales on I-81 to talk Wireless Roadside Inspection with a state police lieutenant and several inspectors there. (Or, of course, you could click through this link to check out the story I wrote that day, stopping off at a coffeehouse on the way home to Nashville.) It was a memorable day — sometime during the several-hour drive out to the scale I picked up an email from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s public affairs office that the agency was officially proposing to mandate electronic onboard recorders for hours-of-service compliance for the entire industry. Two years later, they’re still in hot pursuit of such a mandate, now with the added support of Congress after the MAP-21 highway bill and time spent addressing the driver-harrassment issue that got the limited mandate thrown out two years ago.

EOBRs are an important part of Wireless Roadside Inspection technology, as their presence in trucks would enable carriers and owner-operators to automatically transmit driver-hours status to inspectors, thus logging any violations or evidence of a clean look in the federal inspection database. Electronic logs were also integral to the similar e-Inspection commercial technology demonstrated by the Drivewyze company with Zonar, PeopleNet and XRS among state partners just last week. I spoke with Drivewyze President Brian Heath following the demonstration about what exactly the company was attempting to show with the demonstration, and what he had to say was interesting in light of FMCSA’s long research-and-design pursuit of Wireless Roadside Inspection technology.

Heath described the demonstration as showing that their e-Inspection process could, with relatively little further investment on the part of federal, state and local governments, allow carriers running EOBRs to opt in to a service that virtually automates what amounts to a CVSA Level 3 driver inspection, down to populating the form required to upload it to the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management and Information System (MCMIS) database, where theoretically it could then contribute to the carrier’s CSA profile. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to kill two birds with one stone,” Heath says. “The CSA program has a data sufficiency problem – only a small percentage of carriers have enough data,” as we well know, to populate the Safety Measurement System BASICs with a percentile ranking, or “score.”

Heath adds, “If you could automatically start feeding your CSA profile based on real-time information, you could really help FMCSA out with its data-sufficiency issues.” 

And potentially help your own scores, such as they may exist. As we showed in the CSA’s Data Trail series, independent owner-operators with their own carrier authority are the least likely group of carriers to see actual percentile rankings in their CSA profiles, given the way the system works today. Only 14 percent of active owner-operators showed any score whatsoever in an SMS category (compare that to nearly 100 percent of large carriers being covered). However, independents do happen to be the most frequently inspected, measured per-truck, and owner-operators unlucky enough to show a score are very likely to be well above the intervention, or “alert,” threshold, marking them for further scrutiny. If an e-Inspection or Wireless Roadside Inspection comes to fruition, those weigh station/inspection stops could be further reduced, and it could be a great tool for those with high scores to log more clean inspections, or for carriers without sufficient data (which can also be a problem in dealings with some brokers and shippers) to populate BASICs to get enough inspections to show a very low score. That’s theoretical at this point, of course, and would be dependent on what kind of credit FMCSA would be giving for such wireless inspections.

Heath notes that state agencies are on-board with offering carriers and drivers incentives for sharing more information with inspectors. With Drivewyze’s PreClear bypass service, he says, ”the state agencies are doing their part — if you’ve [opted to share your CDL info with inspectors, they say], ‘I’ll give you a boost in your bypass rate.’ But the federal government plays a big part here — in exchange for logging data, they should” allow some kind of credit in carriers’ CSA profiles. 

FMCSA spokesperson Duane DeBruyne acknowledges that, conceptually, such an e-Inspection might someday contribute to carriers’ CSA profiles, virtually the only incentive carriers would have to opt in to a program that automatically shares such broad information with every functional weigh station or inspection site their trucks pass. “There has been no discussion whatsoever of tying e-Inspection technology to CSA profiles anytime in the near-term future,” DeBruyne said, adding: “That may be realized in the long term, but is a good run down the road.”

Talking to Dr. Cem Hatipoglu, senior specialist in FMCSA’s Technology Division, it sounds like there is indeed a lot of ground to cover before anyone is ready to make that call. Hatipoglu describes the Drivewyze demonstration as an “extended e-screening system,” i.e. not rising quite to the level of an inspection under current definitions, but definitely moving in that direction. “It sounds quite a bit like the Wireless Roadside Inspection program that we’re actively working on,” Hatipoglu adds. “What we’re trying to define is electronic inspection itself — what kind of information quality is needed for a screening versus an inspection.”

He admits that the technologies involved in the Drivewyze demonstration, and “technologies driving mobility” in general, are making deployment and potential uses much cheaper than once conceived. “It is a technology that can be expanded faster not only to weigh stations,” he adds, but to the mobile inspection sites troopers often utilize away from the fixed stations.

But he still believes that e-Inspection, as demonstrated, is “more like e-screening right now.”

Questions about tamper-resistance are key to any system of credit for such inspections, Hatipoglu says. “How do I know, for instance, if a driver knows there is a violation, that they’re not just going to turn that system off.” For him and for the agency, such questions are still unanswered in their WRI initiative.

WRI is looking farther, too, beyond just driver-inspection-type information toward potential wireless transmission of vehicle condition via brake sensors and the like.

For Heath’s part, he says, “I don’t know what FMCSA is going to do with Wireless Roadside Inspection,” ultimately. “My hope is that they get out of the game of trying to develop technology … and they get into the game of trying to develop policy” — to go on already and make that call to tie e-screening — or e-inspection — events to CSA profiles.

  • No Reform

    Yep that sounds like lots of fun..where do I sign up? LMAO.

  • No Reform

    Hitler would be Proud of this much needed SCRUTINY of
    American Citizen/Voter/ Taxpayers…..really nifty.

  • No Reform

    The 666 Mark of the Beast is next…imbedded in the drive’s Forehead to be EXTRA SURE the driver is in COMPLIANCE with these Psychos who are orchestrating this Puppet Show..turning the American Worker into a Monitored, Observed, low paid SLAVE..to be OBSERVED by men with GUNS who will FORCE his OBEDIANCE??

  • martymarsh

    LMAO.

  • bigred

    This is a joke right…i thought the inspects was mainly to get our trucks/trailers legal…I mean just the O/O as big companies are allowed to run anyway they want..Flat tires and all.

  • root66

    this is such bullshit.when are they gonna realize that the small business man o/o is the back bone of america.someone really has to step up (like all the o/o and have to do something before its too late and were all out of business

  • 5886mills

    i need a better csa score. If i can get it without stoppin..I’m in. Better be voluntary and not forced on us though

  • Driver Ed

    I think it is nice to drive through a Road side scales and get a green light.

  • Little guy

    All this bull……….. to feed the big sharks on the cost of little guy!

  • Paul

    With hindsight in place the Teamsters had and still have the right idea that united we stand divided we get new laws in place by people who do not have knowledge of trucks or the trucking industry. It’s inevitable, a nation wide shutdown, and bring back the Teamsters.
    haller

  • Dan Gerster

    why give the government more ways to screw truking than they have now why make it easy for them when the government makes it hard on trking? truckers ?

  • ROGER

    BIG BROTHER IS GOING TO RULE EVERYONE

  • dads39

    Joseph Stalin would be proud!! Is this really the America our founders’ envisioned?

  • DMSR

    Where does it stop!!?
    EOBR’s that read HOS, weigh of axels, health of the driver, air pressure
    of tires and overall truck and driver condition. We have people in Washington DC making two to
    4 times and more money than any driver with lifetime benefits taking the 5th
    amendment targeting anybody they dislike with no penalty.

    Now they are putting electronic meters on home and limiting
    usage or penalizing for what they think you should have. States are considering GPS systems in POV’s
    because they can tax the miles and times we drive. Then the government can send tickets through
    the mail for speeding, running lights, parking in the wrong place or anytime
    they need more money for their projects.
    The government owns everything and allows us to keep some if we are not
    bucking the system. I wonder why HLS is
    buying millions of rounds of ammunition and riot gear like vehicles.

    Everybody is targeted for something they are doing or not doing. With cells phones tracking every movement,
    recording all conversations, Internet, and more electronic tracking of
    everything we do and say. If the Feds
    want to get a group or you, and you have done nothing wrong, the feds will make
    it up with manipulating information to their liking.

    In 1876 the king of England allowed the military to go into any
    home and search for anything they thought you should not have and confiscate anything
    in the name of the King. Is this where
    we are going?

  • Dean

    When are we going to take back our industry. We are the largest most powerful industry in this country. No wonder the government wants to get total control of all of us.This has been said 1000s of times before. If we want to have the control in our court we need to all turn off the keys to our truck and say we have had enough. We don’t want to be driving down the road not know who is watching and recording every move we make just so the end result will be coming home another ticket or worse loosing our CDL and our job because the person that we have know clue they are looked over our info on a road side passing and decided we were doing something wrong and the driver must be punished for it.Who is going to look over his shoulder and make sure he did his job right.I have been driving for 25 years in most cases when I got pulled over by the state police they have know clue what they were looking at. Now they what them to look at even more of your info and know what they are looking at.We will all be with out a job after the police and scale masters get to look at a snap shot of your day with out you even given a chance to defend your self. We all better just turn off our keys till they drop this notion or we will be driving truck and fearing whether we need to find another line of work when we go for the mail. We all should know by now that our employers will be first in line to want a feed of data streaming to there offices to. Trucking is one if the most stressful jobs out there. Trucking can only be done by certain type of person. Now the government wants us all to be judged by a lesser of a person that could never do our jobs if there life depended on it.Yet every yahoo with a gun and a badge whats to play judge and jury with no voice from the accused something is very wrong with a system like that. We all took the job for the freedom trucking give you no boss breathing down your neck.Bottom line the truck keys need to be turned off so we can keep our freedoms and insanity.

  • No Reform

    Yes!! We are Robotons….Obediant servants to the Rich! Tyranny is here and Now!

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    Pros and cons to tying all this together but we all know that it is coming one day; want it or not. Does this mean the offender will just be mailed a ticket like the “red light camera” program?

  • USMC 69-75

    When we are all gone…….To Late then!
    I can remember the days when you were asked for your log “BOOK” and it was cheaper and faster to tell the officer you left it at the truck stop, got a $10 or $15 dollar fine, no points, and went on your way.
    Ya! I know, I’m giving away my age…. LOL

  • USMC 69-75

    We can and have done it without the teamster……they are as crooked if not more so than the Gov. Who is putting the O/O”s out of business……. I have been in ever shutdown and numerous LOOOONNNNGGGGG convoys, to protest matters, and most of the time things got done. At a snails pace. But didn’t take giving some clown money to do it. We didn’t have access to the net and cell phones like we do now. It can be done, and should…..just need guys (and gals) with back bone, fortitude, and G2.

  • USMC 69-75

    Dean,

    Won’t happen till we take our country back!

  • martymarsh

    Now that is a fact, we are closer than most think, but most need to get slapped up side the head and then it will be to late.

  • martymarsh

    Right on.

  • martymarsh

    The teamsters are nothing but lying corrupt thieves, I was with them for 16 years and all they want is your protection money. So take that where people are stupid, It’s not going to fly here.

  • USMC 69-75

    I think it’s even nicer to drive by “Closed” scales LOL
    Although to be honest, I run under my own authority, and I go in and ask for inspections, but I only run in SC. I would rather be inspected on my terms not theirs! But the looks on their faces are priceless.

  • Dave Nichols

    I’m movin to China.

  • Slacker

    Indepenent drivers like to blame the government regulators, but they are only doing the bidding of the ATA and the largest carriers in order for them to run competition out of business with the complicit approval of a congress that loves Big Business, and hates the little guy.
    This will continue until it is stopped. The ATA can’t kill competiton with better service or rates, so they use the force of government and regulations (all under the guise of ‘safety’, mind you, so it sells to an ignorant public) to run everyoine else out of business for them.
    Organizations like the ATA with the biggest bags of money to plop down on the desk of congressmen and senators to easily buy their votes and look the other way in oversight committees, while the FMCSA is de-facto re-regulating every aspect of the trucking industry…except driver’s earnings.

  • trucky

    so quit griping. lets act. Labor Day shutdown. Everybody just park and we will get results. Good or bad? we must try at least.

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