How Advanced Trailer Telematics Makes the Road a Safer Place

How Advanced Trailer Telematics Makes the Road a Safer Place

Sponsored by Road Ready

Keeping the road safe is paramount to any transportation business. Of course it saves lives, which comes before anything else. Beyond that, though, safer roads reduce unscheduled downtime, unexpected roadside events, and slow downs that can throw scheduling into a whirlwind and disrupt weeks worth of logistical planning.

Advanced trailer telematics offer increasingly better insights into their operation and potential issues that allow fleet managers to both better plan for scheduled maintenance and also perform proactive maintenance, catching things before they have the chance to become bigger issues.

In this article we’ll look at a few common problems with trailers, as well as solutions that are possible with the help of advanced trailer telematics.

Common Problems Fleets Face

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) identifies brakes, lights, and tires as the top violations in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program for vehicles. Specifically, lighting-related violations are prominent, with three of the top ten roadside violations in 2023 being related to lighting issues. An inoperable required lamp was the most common violation, followed by an inoperative turn signal and issues with lighting devices or reflective material.

Understanding CSA violations is important: they’re in place because of safety standards meant to make the road a safer place.

During the 2023 May vehicle inspection blitz by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), brakes, lights, and tires (BLTs) were the top violations, excluding operator issues.

This inspection resulted in over 116,000 violations from more than 11,000 vehicles inspected, highlighting the prevalence of these issues. Notably, there were 4,000 ABS brake violations, with the majority (67.5%) on trailers. Cargo Securement also emerged as a significant violation, accounting for 12.4% of the total.

These issues often lead to fines and delays, which obviously impact operation costs. While some instances of these problems may be ultimately unavoidable, they can be lessened with the use of advanced trailer telematics solutions, and plans for preventive maintenance that can be better planned as a result.

Solutions with Advanced Trailer Telematics

Trailer telematics may have started with Track & Trace, but they’ve evolved to include a much wider breadth of solution-based insights. Sensors can now be installed on trailers that measure everything from tire pressure to volumetric cargo weight to light out detection to wheel end vibrations.

Advanced trailer telematics solutions, like Road Ready, offer real-time visibility into the status of lighting, brakes, tires, and other components. By identifying issues before they result in violations, telematics can significantly reduce downtime and improve safety by providing a fleet manager with the data they need to build a preventative maintenance plan designed to keep trailers on the road.

These solutions combined with consistent monitoring, like you find in our Command Center where Fleet Specialists keep a watchful eye on alerts and warnings, also allow you to catch issues before they become more serious.

Take Maverick Transportation, for example. Their fleet is equipped with Road Ready and the wheel monitoring solution TraX from our partner SKF. TraX monitors vibrations in the wheel hub, an early indicator of a potential failure—which can be catastrophic on a busy roadway.

Maverick noticed that a hub on one of their trailers was vibrating irregularly, so they pulled it out of service. Sure enough, they found that it was flaking, which is an early indicator of failure. They were able to change out the wheel hub and prevent a very serious issue, which is proof of ROI in itself.

“With Road Ready and TraX, we caught this failing wheel bearing way ahead of true failure — and that’s a significant cost savings.”said Mike Jeffress, vice president of maintenance at Maverick Transportation.

Staying Safe on the Road, with Road Ready

To build our system of sensors, we leveraged our knowledge of the industry—and the knowledge of 12 industry partners as well. So with our Gateway device, data collection, and sensor packages, not only do you get our insight, you get that of 12 leaders—like PSI, SKF, and Meritor just to name a few—who know the industry as well as anyone. All of the assets we’ve built together inform seven fleet health metrics. These health metrics allow you to monitor aspects such as:

  • Lights Out Detection System
  • Cargo Management
  • Brake & Tire Health
  • Wheel End Health
  • Weight Management

Want to learn more about how you can stay safe on the road? Download our full whitepaper to learn more about common CSA violations and specific tasks for those with roles in operations, maintenance, and safety and compliance to keep your trailers in great working order.

This article is sponsored by Road Ready by Clarience Technologies

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