Bypass Weigh Stations with Drivewyze PreClear
BY AsphaltPro Staff
When hauling a perishable product like asphalt, every delay matters. You don’t want to spend time in line at weigh stations as mix cools in the back of the truck if you have a good track record that would allow enforcement officials to wave you through. Rather than tempt inspectors to look for reasons to pull in your vehicle for scrutiny, you could instead use your safety score to green-light your way past lengthy stops.
In addition to the time (and temperature) lost, pulling into weigh stations increases idle times, fuel costs and presents a safety risk to motorists as trucks exit and re-enter the highway.
Enter Drivewyze, Plano, Texas, a leader in the connected truck space with a mission to help facilitate a safe and efficient transportation system. According to Vice President of Marketing Doug Johnson, Drivewyze’s PreClear solution is the largest weigh station bypass service in North America.
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“The average weigh station pull-in costs $9 in fuel and operation costs and takes about five minutes,” Johnson said. “When you’re looking at a large fleet, being able to bypass most weigh stations can save hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.”
First launched in 2012, Drivewyze initially developed tools to make roadside screening more efficient, Johnson said, “and it was our relationship with those [enforcement] agencies that allowed us to build our weigh station bypass solution, Drivewyze PreClear.”
PreClear provides bypass opportunities at 830 fixed weigh stations and mobile inspection sites across 45 states and provinces, and offers weigh station heads-up notifications at every site in North America.
“Our plan is to eventually have North American-wide coverage,” Johnson said, adding that the U.S. has roughly 1,100 weigh stations and inspection sites in total. “We’re about to add another state and 50 more inspection sites very soon.”
How PreClear Works
“The fundamental problem [with weigh stations] is that not every truck needs to be pulled in and inspected,” Johnson said, “especially if you’re operating a fleet that has a good safety score.” That’s why the heart of PreClear’s bypass feature is each truck’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Safety Score.
“PreClear has direct access to the FMCSA’s database, so when a truck approaches a weigh station, PreClear looks up their score in real time,” Johnson said. “If that truck has met the state’s screening rules, it will get a bypass 98% of the time.”
If the driver gets approved to bypass the weigh station, his or her in-cab device (smartphone, tablet or ELD) will display a green light. Trucks that are still required to pull in will get a red light command with information on why they are getting pulled in, whether as a result of its safety score or as a random pull-in that trucks with good safety scores must undergo every once in a while.
“It’s a carrot-based approach that rewards carriers and truck drivers for good safety performance,” Johnson said. “The safer you are, the higher your bypass rate, which means the more time and money you save.” Johnson said this approach also empowers commercial vehicle enforcement agencies to focus more on trucks with lower safety scores that may require more scrutiny.
Johnson recognizes that a weigh station bypass service may not be applicable to all types of trucking operations. “For regional and niche industries, the applicability of a weigh station bypass service depends on where you’re situated,” Johnson said. “Maybe you have a short-haul fleet that never passes any scales, or maybe you have a short-haul fleet located near a scale they’re passing 50 times a day.”
“We’ve got one customer that has a truck passing the same weigh station in Minnesota 20 times a day,” Johnson said. “Those officers recognize him, they know him, they don’t want to have to stop him 20 times a day. With PreClear, they can just wave him by.”
That’s why Drivewyze offers a free trial so prospective users can see how frequently they’re encountering weigh stations and how often they receive bypasses based on their safety score.
Drivewyze also aims to make it easy to use PreClear only on a fleet’s trucks that need it. “If your routes change and you don’t need PreClear for a few months, or say you only need it on one truck or a handful of trucks, you can easily pick and choose where and when you want to deploy PreClear,” Johnson said. “You can add and remove trucks on a month-by-month basis, unsubscribe one month and resubscribe the next, depending on how your business changes.”
A key component of this flexibility, Johnson said, is that PreClear doesn’t require users to install any hardware. “There’s no transponder or special device needed,” Johnson said. “It’s just software on your smartphone, tablet or ELD.”
Johnson said Drivewyze has agreements with all major ELD manufacturers to run its software on their devices. “So you already have our software on your ELD,” Johnson said. “You just have to enable it.”
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Happy Drivers, Fast Delivery
Johnson said PreClear’s customers have also noticed its impact on driver recruitment and retention. “Drivers have always paid attention to benefits like home on weekends, co-driver plans, fuel cards,” Johnson said. “Now, companies are also advertising Drivewyze as a paid benefit.” He said they’ve found that drivers are three times more likely to join a company that provides a weigh station bypass service and 65% more likely to stay.
“Their job is already hard enough without dealing with commercial vehicle enforcement,” Johnson said. “When they get to bypass a weigh station, it feels like such a benefit. It’s one less thing to worry about.”
However, Johnson said, the main benefit of bypassing weigh stations remains the time and cost savings. “Every time you get a bypass, you’re saving time and money—and it adds up,” he said.
“When you participate in a weigh station bypass service,” Johnson said, “you’re able to take the most direct route, regardless of what inspection sites may be in your path because you know you’ve got a good chance of not having to pull in all the time.”
Improve Safety, Too
PreClear also offers a series of free safety alerts, notifying drivers of safety concerns ranging from tight curves and steep grades to low bridges. “That’s particularly helpful for drivers that may be traveling on an unfamiliar route,” Johnson said, adding that Drivewyze has mapped many thousands of these high-incident locations within North America.
Drivewyze also offers a premium safety product called Safety+, which offers a wider array of alerts, including notifications about high speed citation areas and local weather conditions, and the ability to set up custom safety notifications.
The user can set up these location-based custom alerts on a map within the Safety+ dashboard. “The safety manager can just zoom in and draw a little rectangle around where you want an alert to appear to your trucks,” Johnson said. “Whenever one of your trucks crosses that geographical area, they’ll see that custom message.” For example, the safety manager could set alerts to stay inside the truck when at the asphalt plant or to ensure the tarp is down before exiting the yard.
“We also have a dashboard tool that the safety manager has access to where they can see what’s happening with their fleet,” Johnson said. “They can see which trucks are being shown which safety alerts and how many times, as well as which ones are actually slowing down and which ones aren’t. So, for example, if they have a driver that is consistently hitting curves too tight, they can turn that data into a coachable moment.”