Geofencing, an ever-increasing well-known feature of workforce and location-based fleet management systems, is cropping up in its own right as an enabling technology. It is positioned to play an important role in new application development.
In their most basic sense, geofences are virtual perimeters on a map. It could be a circle, square, or another shape that is designed to suit a specific purpose. Much like a physical fence, geofences may be used for automatically monitoring and recording entry and exit of an area that is within the ‘fence’.
Events can be set in motion when a device approaches, enters or leaves a geofence by being able to leverage the location-aware capabilities of mobile computers, smartphones and other devices. New application possibilities using geofence alerts are opened up.
How Fleets Use Geofencing
- Client Billing/Timesheet Verification – Since there is GPS fleet tracking of worker vehicles, automatic alerts will be set off with the arrival or departure of a vehicle from a job site. This enables fleet managers to log time spent on and off the job which can be useful for client billing or payroll purposes.
- Asset Protection – Since an expensive asset of your fleet company is your vehicles, it’s essential to keep your investment secure. Vehicles used without permission or after-hours can turn into increased insurance premiums, liability issues, expensive downtime and damaged property. You can be notified by triggered alerts when a piece of equipment or vehicle is moved outside a designated boundary. This will not just provide added security, but peace of mind as well that your investments are secure.
- Arrival and Departure Times – By designing a geofence around your site, you will know when workers are on the job site by being able to easily monitor when they arrive or leave. Not just this, but you can also monitor unauthorized vehicle use after-hours. Often, drivers engage in activity that is unauthorized or break from their routes. In most cases, it’s harmless and just leads to a small amount of time loss. However, it could get out of hand either deliberately or unintentionally and becoming pervasive throughout the entire fleet. This is where geofencing can help.
- Stolen Equipment Recovery – In the event a piece of equipment gets moved outside the geofence perimeter, a theft alert can be triggered letting you know. This is very common for construction companies where heavy equipment is left on the site. Stolen equipment can be recovered quickly through triggered theft alerts.
Essentially, geofencing capability will provide fleets with alarms as well as other fleet management features when perimeters are crossed. These features will allow you to reduce liabilities, improve fuel management, and identify expected route deviations.
On his third day of what was supposed to be an 80-mile swim from Wisconsin to West Michigan across Lake Michigan, Chris Lechner began hearing a voice in his head telling him he was in trouble.
He began struggling with 6-foot waves during his last stretch of solo swimming which he started on Saturday, August 8. Only a quarter of a mile from shore, he began getting pulled by a riptide pulling him south of his planned destination.
He started to become paranoid once he realized that no matter how much he pushed and how hard, he was not getting any closer to shore. What he was doing, however, was swimming in circles.
He claimed he was beginning to lose his ability to make judgements and felt as if his mind was getting fuzzier regardless of how strong he felt.
Lechner called a friend for help using his satellite phone. The friend then alerted the Coast Guard which came and rescued Lechner around 11pm Monday close to Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
By the end of it all, Lechner had ended up swimming 95 miles instead of his intended 80. He set off from Wisconsin on Racine Harbor at the Wind Point Lighthouse with a paddle board attached to him via a tether wearing a cap and wetsuit.
Most of his swim went rather smoothly with the exception of a little bit of choppy water at the beginning and some sea sickness. He kept in contact with his friend by phone who used a GPS tracking system to monitor his location.
Lechner, Wisconsin native but living in Asheville, North Carolina now, comes from a family of devoted swimmers. He followed a two-year regimen which combined swimming, yoga and paddle boarding.
“My goal here was to challenge myself. Can I deal with this long event? Can I deal with the black, cold night alone?” he said.
For his solo journey, Lechner researched technology. He discovered GPS tracking and bought a pair of GPS goggles which had lights attached to them that would alert him if during his swim he veered off course. He also studied sailing and spoke with the Coast Guard before his trip. He packed freeze dried meals for food as well as other nutrients.
Lechner admitted that although he prepared himself for big, cold waters, he didn’t even consider the thought of coming up against riptides. He tried six times to swim through the riptide, but found he was only being turned around. During this time, he was using only a small compass since his batteries died for his GPS goggles.
He was even unable to reach his water and food supply on his paddleboard during that final
stretch due to rough waters.
Once rescued by the Coast Guard, Lechner’s vital signs were checked by Saugatuck firefighters. He did not need any hospital treatment and after drinking down a bottle of Gatorade, said he felt fine.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is made to regulate the amount of hours that truck drivers are allowed to operate to keep them from driving fatigued and improve highway safety. The US Department of Transportation is duty-bound and required to use the best science available when developing these regulations.
The Hours of Service regulation was published in December 2011 in the Federal Register for the Drivers Final Rule was effective in February 2012 and the remaining provisions compliance date was July 1, 2013.
Basically, although the rule was complicated, it came down to a couple of updated requirements. The first was that drivers were required to take a 30 minute break to rest within their first eight hours of their shift. This is to keep them alert while driving on the road. The second was for them to take a ‘restart’ which is a 34-hour rest period once every 7 days.
Also required was that at least two periods of resting should be between the hours of 1am and 5am. This would allow the drivers to get a very real rest allowing them to catch up on their sleep before they began another long work week. This would reduce the drivers’ hours from 82 hours to 70 hours.
Quite frequently, it’s not known how often drivers take on long commutes to get back to their workplace. Because of this, legislation introduced by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) would require a study of extreme commuting so they could properly analyze how much risk the drivers were facing when arriving and departing from their workplace after a full day. Drivers’ exhaustion has led to serious and sometimes fatal accidents.
A crash can represent a substantial cost to your business and fleet, particularly when there is injury or death involved. These costs include:
- Workers compensation
- Time off work
- Legal costs
- Insurance excesses
- Lowered morale of worker
- Negative publicity of business
- Increase in insurance rates
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected data that showed that fatigued drivers actually cause 100,000 crashes annually, injure over 40,000 and killing over 1500. Since certainty of driver fatigue can’t always be determined, this number could be higher.
Fleet GPS tracking software can help to avoid these issues. Carriers can use HOS compliant electronic driver logs to decrease the number of fatigued drivers. These e-logs can help prevent drivers from driving extensive hours without taking the right amount of breaks, eliminate accidents and prevent driver fatigue. It doesn’t involve any paperwork. It’s a concise record of the hours worked and a look inside of your fleet’s productivity.
Call us here at LiveView GPS toll free at 1-888-544-0494 – Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm PST for a GPS fleet tracking demo today.