It’s a question more and more fleet administrators are asking: What is the best app for truckers?
Truth be told, there’s not really an answer to that question. Every trucker is different, and each one has their own unique preferences.
Over the last several years, many different mobile solutions have become available—each of them designed to streamline all areas of trucking.
This is a growing industry, with new solutions coming to market all the time, from on-road navigation apps to services that streamline data collection and reporting—and everything in between.
The idea of encouraging drivers to spend time on their mobile devices may seem counterintuitive. At the same time, it may seem unproductive for fleet managers who are used to traditional paper- and spreadsheet-based management models—as well as those who broke into the industry before the digital revolution.
In today’s digital world, mobile devices are now widely used for a variety of tasks in the world of fleet management and trucking. With the right apps in place, companies can reduce costs, improve delivery times, and enhance driver satisfaction, among other things.
Before we take a dive into some of the apps that truckers can use, let’s talk briefly about a rule that all drivers should be aware of: the FMCSA rule that restricts drivers from reaching for a device, texting, or dialing by pressing more than a single button.
Failure to comply with this rule can result in heavy fines, penalties, and even driver disqualification.
To avoid running afoul of the law, the FMCSA recommends all drivers use an earpiece or speaker phone function, voice-activated dialing, and hands-free dialing for on-road communication.
To accomplish this, apps can be set up during stops and used on board throughout a long trip without fear of penalty from law enforcement or the FMCSA, as long as drivers follow the rules and avoid using them while driving.
With the right approach, there should be no concern about deploying apps in the field. In fact, as we will explain, some apps can significantly improve safety and communication.
Here are some of the top apps that truckers are using today.
On one hand, nobody wants to pay any more than they need to pay for gas.
On the other, gas prices can change unexpectedly, making it difficult to find affordable fuel.
For example, gas prices may rise in California following the recent fire at the Marathon Petroleum refinery. As a result, experts predict that prices may rise by 10 or 15 cents per gallon across the state—a significant increase for large fleets operating in the state.
Enter GasBuddy, which is a free travel and navigation app that provides numerous ways to save money on fuel at 150,000 gas stations across North America. Drivers can use GasBuddy to find gas, pay for it, and even earn rewards.
GasBuddy also offers tools like gas price charts, a gas price map, fuel insights, vehicle recall data, and even a service station outage tracker.
Time is of the essence when you’re trying to make a delivery. Truckers don’t have time to drive around all day looking for things like weigh stations or truck-friendly exits and restaurants.
iExit Trucks is an app for iOS that uses real-time location data to help drivers find trucker essentials when they’re on the road.
As an added bonus, the latest version of iExit Trucks also offers daily diesel fuel averages for price comparison.
Let’s face it: Driving can be tedious, even for the most experienced drivers. As such, fleet managers should look for ways to enhance driver satisfaction when they can.
Podcasts are an ideal solution for drivers because they are both entertaining and informative. There are also a variety of podcasts available that are specifically targeted at truckers. These podcasts provide targeted news updates, stories from the road, and important regulatory discussions. Taken together, they foster a sense of community among drivers.
PodBean is a free platform that offers a variety of free podcasts along with popular programs like The Trucking Podcast and Trucker Dump. PodBean also offers paid hosting models, enabling businesses to host their own podcasts if they so choose. Managers can consider inviting willing and personable drivers to participate in an ongoing podcast as a way to increase exposure and generate revenue.
Sleep is a major challenge facing truckers. Fleet managers need to ensure drivers get enough sleep so that they are alert during driving hours. Yet the combination of stress and too much caffeine can make this difficult. And noisy truck stops don’t help, either.
White Noise is a popular sleep app for iOS that offers specific noise-blocking and stress-reducing tracks. Many drivers are now using this app to unwind after a long day and to minimize tossing and turning during critical downtime.
According to fitness guru Siphiwe Baleka, trucking is now the most unhealthy occupation in America. Good news: He’s working to change it with the Active Trucker app.
Active Trucker offers a four-week progressive exercise program that coaches truckers all the way through each workout from the beginning to the end. Baleka works with actual truck operators that drivers will be able to relate to as they go through their daily workouts.
The system is designed for any type of body, too, and is especially useful for those who are obese, strapped for time, and mostly sedentary throughout the day.
Fleet managers may want to encourage their truckers to check out this app. After all, it’s widely accepted that healthy drivers are more alert, more patient, and better overall employees.
Active Trucker is free to download. However, there is an in-app purchase fee of $29.99 per user.
The FMCSA mandates that all trucks model-year 2000 or newer that engage interstate commerce must use electronic logging. As such, many companies are turning to apps like BigRoad to track their onroad hours and other types of metrics.
BigRoad is an online fleet management platform that offers advanced insights like driver behavior metrics, geofencing and historical trip data information, fleet performance tracking, and more.
BigRoad has multiple licensing models ranging from $19.50 per month per user to $47 per month.
The trucking industry is becoming increasingly automated. Many drivers want access to digital solutions that automate manual processes while streamlining communication and workflows. In fact, technology is now a dealbreaker for many top drivers in the industry.
This is where Vector shines. Vector offers a variety of mobile solutions that make it easy for drivers to capture data and share updates with logistics coordinators. For example, Vector offers a Mobile Capture tool that allows drivers to transmit paperwork right from a mobile device.
Vector also offers an imaging and billing app, enabling drivers to scan PODs and other supporting documents, and invoice based on customer preferences.
The company also offers a Driver Workflows tool, which pulls information from onboard telematics systems and provides automatic calculations for mileage and pay.
This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.