Federal and state trucking safety officials gathered in Indiana last Friday to preview two technologies that are expected to drastically reduce the time truckers spend at weigh stations while also improving highway safety.
The meeting at a weigh station on Interstate 70 in Richmond, IN, demonstrated two technologies from Help Inc., according to a USA Today report.
One is a version of PrePass, whereby drivers and trucks with good safety records are pre-screened and enrolled. When trucks in the program approach a roadside weigh station, in-cab technology communicates information about the driver, the truck and the trucking company to an above-the-road monitor or to an inspection officer’s hand-held device. If no compliance issues are found, the driver is allowed to bypass the inspection facility without stopping.
The other technology is called 360SmartView, which uses high-definition cameras to read a truck’s DOT number and license plate as it enters an inspection station. The information — collected from about 90 government databases — provides inspection officers with a compliance snapshot on that carrier.
“This technology allows law enforcement to work with multiple state and federal agencies and identify non-compliant carriers, which helps enforcement officials get bad trucks and unsafe drivers off the road,” said Jim Poe, deputy commissioner of the Indiana Dept. of Revenue.
The technology enhances safety, according to Help, which said that a Dept. of Transportation evaluation found that the manual inspection practices now used at most state facilities prevent about 0.7% of the 441,000 truck-involved crashes that occur in the USA each year; 360SmartView-type inspections would allow officers to prevent 3.5%-4.8% of crashes — which equates to 15,000 to 21,000 wrecks per year.
PrePass, also from Help, a Phoenix-based public-private partnership, is already in use at over 300 weigh stations in 31 states, but it’s being enhanced to allow more data to be exchanged more quickly.