Truck Drivers

Drivewyze Helps Husband and Wife Driving Team Stay On Schedule

Team Eliminates Delays, Avoids Potential Late Delivery Fines

As company drivers for Walbert Trucking, Karlene Reed and her husband, Warren, have a love-hate relationship with the holidays and summer.

“We love the warm weather and the longer days and we like the added business that can come from hauling more freight during the holidays,” she said. “But there’s so many more drivers out there during the summer and around the holidays who don’t typically drive on these same roads. When we must change lanes to avoid missing weigh station exits or merge back into traffic, they can make it difficult, even dangerous.”

Karlene and Warren are team drivers for Glasgow, Ky.-based Walbert Trucking. They run a 2008 Volvo 670 with a standard-size sleeper usually from Laredo or somewhere else near the Mexican border in Texas, to Indianapolis and Detroit. They often haul automotive parts manufactured in Mexico to automobile assembly plants in Indiana and Michigan. They also occasionally haul full and empty pop bottles, syrup, and other products for Coca-Cola.

Since the Reeds began using the Drivewyze mobile-based weigh station bypass in April of 2014, they find they don’t have to dodge impatient holiday and summer drivers around weigh stations.

By using the same technology that delivers data and cell phone calls, Drivewyze detects when a vehicle is approaching a fixed weigh station or temporary inspection site. Two miles out, the service alerts the driver, and at the same time examines the carrier’s safety scores, registration and IFTA tax compliance, and compares it to the local state’s bypass criteria established by the state’s commercial vehicle enforcement agency. If the carrier and vehicle pass muster, at one mile out, the driver receives an OK to bypass the site. If there’s an issue, or if a random algorithm says the driver’s number’s up for a random spot check, the driver must pull in. Drivewyze is available at 408 locations in 30 states, with more locations and states expected to go online in early 2015.

The Reeds also appreciate how much time and money the Drivewyze application is saving them and their company.

According to a report generated for the Reeds, they had a pull-in rate of 7 percent in November – 44 bypass opportunities with 41 granted. And between April 6, 2014, when they activated the service, and Nov. 30, 2014, they had 404 bypass opportunities with 324 granted. The Drivewyze report calculated that in November alone, the Reeds reduced their delays at weigh stations by 3.4 hours and saved Walbert Trucking about $355 on fuel costs. Since they activated PreClear, the report estimates that they have saved their company about $2,800 in time and fuel costs.

Following their brief experience without any weigh station bypass, Karlene believes Drivewyze’s ROI could be even greater. Before she and her husband began using Drivewyze, Walbert Trucking had dropped a transponder-based weigh station bypass service its drivers were using. Karlene said she, her husband and other Walbert drivers had grown frustrated with the increasing number of conflicting instructions they received via the transponder-based service. Also, because the transponder was attached to the windshield, it had a tendency to come loose and drop into the dashboard or onto the floor of the cab when the truck hit a rough patch in the road, particularly in construction zones, she said.

“Then you had this transponder rattling back and forth on the dashboard or on the cab floor,” she added. “Plus, it worked off and on. That was so aggravating.” In late October or early November of 2013, shortly before the holidays, the company pulled all of the transponders from its trucks leaving drivers without weigh station bypass. The company told drivers that if they could find an alternative, they could install it and use it instead.

And that’s when Karlene said they really started noticing some problems. Suddenly, the Reeds found themselves having to pull into weigh stations much more frequently. Karlene said traffic in many areas along their routes through the central United States have grown increasingly congested each year. It’s not uncommon for trucks to start lining up along the shoulder a quarter of a mile before weigh stations, particularly near the state borders where the stations are usually open round the clock.

The Reeds frequently are called on to haul 24-hour loads. This means when the freight, most often auto parts bound for an assembly plant, is picked up at 6 a.m., it must be delivered to its destination by 6 a.m. the following day.

“In the past, when we picked up loads in Laredo, Texas, we could usually be at the plant in Indianapolis within 22 to 24 hours,” Karlene said. That changed after the company dropped its weigh station bypass in late 2013. “We almost always found ourselves running two or more hours late, even on the same routes we had run on time a few months earlier. The company dispatchers were asking us, ‘why are you always two or more hours late?’ And the only thing different was that we didn’t have weigh station bypass.”

Karlene said the penalty for missing a scheduled delivery time, particularly with 24-hour loads, can be steep. “The company can be fined, or worse, we could lose the contract if there are too many late deliveries.”

That’s when Karlene made a concerted effort to look for an alternative. And she found it – the Drivewyze PreClear application. After downloading it onto their Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones, Karlene and Warren started using it and the late deliveries disappeared.

Karlene said after they activated the Drivewyze application, she learned about another important feature – bypass recall, as Texas began adding Drivewyze service to select locations. After receiving a bypass, Karlene drove past a weigh station on one of their routes through Texas.

A commercial vehicle inspection officer who had been watching truck drivers as they approached and exited the station pulled the Reeds over after they rolled past the station without stopping. The officer stopped the Reeds and was ready to give them a ticket until Karlene showed him the last bypass they received from Drivewyze through its recall feature.

Drivewyze touts the recall feature as a way to verify properly gained bypasses for law enforcement officers upon request during random spot checks or on the rare occasion an inspector or highway patrol officer doesn’t realize Drivewyze has granted a bypass. It’s certainly a feature the Reeds appreciate.

“If we’re stopped by law enforcement after we pass the weigh station for whatever reason, we don’t have to hope that the green light stays on long enough to show the officer we got a bypass,” Karlene said. I’m still just so tickled with Drivewyze PreClear. It’s such a great feeling when we can bypass the weigh stations with confidence, save time and money and avoid late deliveries and potential fines.”

A Primer for Using the Drivewyze Bypass History Feature

While Drivewyze can deliver weigh station bypasses, drivers should know how to use the application’s recall feature so they can prove they were granted bypasses.

Johnson, director of marketing for Drivewyze, said on very rare occasions, highway patrol officers and even commercial vehicle inspection officers have pulled over trucks that have received bypasses from Drivewye. Officers have done this when conducting simple random checks or when they missed the bypass instruction as it was sent to the driver and the weigh station.

Here are instructions on using the recall feature:

In the iOS- and Android-based versions of Drivewyze, drivers tap the icon that appears near the top-right corner of the “Ready Screen” to access the recall feature. On the Android device, the icon looks like a small clock. The icon looks like a piece of paper with lines on it on the iOS-based devices, such as iPhones and iPads. When drivers tap this icon, Drivewyze displays the drivers’ most recent driving instructions, along with related location information.