Technology on the Road

on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 in Life on the Road

For this week’s blog, we’ve enlisted the help of TMC driver Bill Phillips, and asked him to share what technology has helped him on the road. Bill started driving for TMC straight out of truck driving school and has been with us for two and a half years. Before he began his driving career with us, he worked in the printing industry for thirty years, and was in graphic design for a good portion of that timeframe. One of Bill’s former bosses often introduced him as his “Mac Guru.” According to Bill, “Anything out of the ordinary, either hardware or software, he just laid on my desk.” Who better to share technology tips for drivers? Below, Bill shares different gadgets and software that he’s found most helpful in his life on the road.

Bill uses his laptop in the truck to run Eclipse Logbook Software. Through this system, he does not have to think about his hours, the drive line alerts him by turning red when he needs to be stopped. For drivers from companies that are still running paper logs, the system makes split logging and multi-day planning much simpler.

*TMC anticipates being all e-log by the end of May 2013.

When using the Eclipse program, you need a printer to print out your completed logs for submission. After some research, Bill selected a Canon Pixma iP100. He finds it portable and feels it holds up well to the rigors of the road. While Bill has an inverter in his truck, it has an accessory battery available that drivers who do not have an inverter will find helpful.

Bill also uses the printer to produce trip sheets. He scanned a blank trip sheet and used that as the main base of a Word document. That way, he can type the information in rather than hand-write it and can drag pre-built ovals to the correct position, making everything much easier to read. Then he simply prints one for consignee signature and saves the document changes each time, so if anything happens to the printed copy, all he has to do is print a fresh one.

Bill also keeps a scanner in his truck that he uses to Transflo trip sheets and logs right from his cab. He usually sends these documents in while waiting for his next load, or, if he’s pre-planned, he waits until the end of the day to Transflo. He recommends the Canon p150 model, which he also feels is made to be portable and holds up well to the trucking lifestyle.

The thoughts of the new 22” flat screen TV in the new Peterbilt 579s have Bill considering a Mac Mini computer. He would use the 22” screen as a display, rather than having to pull out the laptop and plug in whichever other device he needed in the moment. It would be like having his very own “office” in his truck!

*TMC is currently testing portable document scanners so drivers can send their paperwork from the convenience of their truck, eliminating the need to wait in line at truck stops for scanning. Printers are also being tested for the purpose of sending permits to the truck.