We live in an era of rampant consumerism. The more we buy, the greater the need for transport, and within major towns and cities, the major transportation method is by truck. This has resulted in a number of changes to the way trucks go about their daily business.
The introduction of GPS has been a real boon to truck drivers and to dispatch centers. Inside the dispatch center, a single monitor can display exactly where each truck is, and what problems they may face ahead. Dispatchers can reroute trucks that may be impacted by disrupted traffic, and this is all thanks to a simple little GPS unit.
Truck drivers themselves are using GPS technology to help them navigate to their destination. With trucking companies demanding tighter schedules from drivers, a simple accident ahead can create serious disruptions to those schedules. GPS helps drivers plan around events by helping them to find alternative routes.
Strangely, GPS is hardly mentioned in most truck driver training programs. One reason is that GPS devices are all different so it makes it hard to train someone for any individual unit. Truck companies often have their own GPS systems as well.
The use of GPS has changed how truck drivers handle their work loads. What GPS has added is the need for a truck driver to react to a change in direction at a moments notice. If there are problems on the road ahead, the GPS unit, or the dispatcher (via two-way radio), may suggest a driver take the next turn – and it’s only 100 yards ahead. This requires quick thinking and an alert mind to safely change lanes.
Experienced truck drivers are coping with these changes well. New drivers to the industry who have had some GPS experience in their own car are also handling the transition well. For trucking companies, being able to plan out routes using GPS means they can deliver loads faster, and squeeze in more loads each day. New truck drivers need a solid skills foundation if they are to cope with the pressures that local truck driving can deliver. This foundation can only be built through quality truck driver training.