Severe and unexpected weather can create unforeseen delays and dangerous situations for fleets and drivers. Connected truck solutions provider Drivewyze added real-time weather warnings to its Drivewyze Safety+ driver notification platform to alert drivers to slow down, alter routes, or pull over depending on the severity and atmospheric conditions.
C.R. England (No. 34 on the FleetOwner 500: Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022 list) was a beta tester of the service rolling out this month to all Drivewyze Safety+ customers. “In Texas, for example, we were providing heavy rain alerts to get our drivers ready for incoming weather,” said Gerardo Granados, a part of C.R. England’s safety department management team. “The alerts were well received, and the proactive alerts provided ‘foresight’—minimizing risk for our drivers is something we’re always trying to do.”
The Severe Weather Alerts function works up to 50 miles from the severe weather. Alerts are delivered if drivers could encounter the conditions on their route. The alerts end when the weather threat passes. Safety+ is an always-on service that does not require third-party navigation.
“We’ve already built a library of alerts that cover things like high-rollover areas, areas with high numbers of speed citations, areas of high cargo theft, and this is the newest addition to that library,” Alexander Bertoni, Drivewyze brand marketing director, told FleetOwner. “We’ve worked with the National Weather Service, and we’re using NOAA data. So instead of drivers needing to look at a weather app before starting a route, we have geofenced areas that alert them within 50 miles of an ongoing severe weather incident.”
According to the latest Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data, weather played a role in 20% of heavy truck crashes that resulted in death and 12% that led to injuries. It also created 13% of property damage.
“Drivers have a tough job with traffic, weather, and delivery windows,” Granados noted. “Anything we can do to help them, we want to do. The Severe Weather Alerts Drivewyze is now offering is a great complimentary tool that we’re excited to use.”
More than 60 types of severe weather alerts are included in the new Safety+ upgrade. The alerts include warnings, watches, and advisories about blizzards, blowing dust, fire dangers, fog, smoke, floods, freezes, heat, hurricanes, ice storms, snow, thunderstorms, tornadoes, wind, and even volcanos.
Drivewyze Safety+ runs in the background on supported ELD devices so alerts are always on. The Severe Weather Alerts feature is rolling out to all compatible ELD devices this August. In-cab alerts with messages such as “Snow Squall Warning, Drive for Conditions” display on the ELD.
Alert technology developed with fleets
Before Drivewyze launched Severe Weather Alerts on Aug. 15, C.R. England and Western Express used the Safety+ “custom” geo-fencing function to create their own, manually created driver weather alerts.
Western Express (No. 34 on the FleetOwner 500: For-Hire list), which has more than 3,500 power units, beta-tested the technology in five of its regions. “We had our regional teams put together alerts and we focused on the major interstates—giving our drivers a heads up on incoming snow, for example, or where chains were being required,” said Daniel Patterson, Western Express safety director.
He also had the fleet include alerts when states didn’t allow empty trailers to be transported due to weather conditions. “All these winter weather alerts we put together helped our drivers—they appreciated the notifications,” Paterson added. “In the summer, we gave out heat advisories, which was really important for our flatbed drivers. We wanted them to stay hydrated and not have any heat-related health incidents.”
According to Granados, weather is every fleet’s enemy. “Safety is a core function and it’s engrained in C.R. England’s culture,” he said. “When we started using Safety+, we took advantage of geo-fencing for weather. We have a fleet of 4,000 trucks, so we began to identify our busiest lanes—providing our own weather alerts for our drivers, taking info from the National Weather Service and other sources.”
Weathering the unexpected on the road
“Weather can turn on a dime and we work with partners to utilize real-time, high-quality data that impacts real driving conditions,” Drivewyze CEO Brian Heath said. “Our platform allows us to take that critical information and immediately pass it along to drivers. Providing early warning for extreme and severe weather helps protect truck drivers and others on our roadways.”
Drivewyze Safety+ also provides drivers with alerts for high rollover areas, low bridges, mountain corridors (steep grades/runaway ramps), real-time congestion, speed (areas known for high citations), cargo theft (high alert areas), and rest areas (parking availability). Drivewyze Safety+ also allows fleets to create customed geo-fencing and alert notifications. A web portal allows fleets to track the impact of the alerts for driver coaching.
“While all the alerts we offer are designed around driver safety, we feel the Severe Weather Alerts are extremely important since weather is often a contributing factor in an accident – it’s why it was something fleets and drivers requested from Drivewyze,” said Heath. “These alerts give drivers ‘eyes’ to something they can’t see ahead. They’re a way to protect drivers, the motoring public, and the cargo and company they work for. It’s a critical component to making a fleet safer.”
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.