The truck driving community may finally be getting rid of the logbook, but only if they start using the electronic work diary. PowerTorque tests one of them out in the real world.
The road to an effective electronic work diary (EWD) has been long and winding, and looks like continuing in a similar vein for some time. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is running the process of approving EWDs for use by drivers, but it’s been a long time between the initial announcement of the EWD and the technology actually becoming available as a compliance tool.
One of the problems has been the fact that many telematics suppliers have been supplying an EWD for some time, but these were not designed to meet the standards set by the NHVR for a work record which has legal standing in a roadside enforcement check.
The requirement from the NHVR was for an EWD which meets all of the requirements in place for the current work diary. This means any EWD has to be regarded as and function as a legal document which will stand up in a court of law. This adds several layers of complexity onto a simple EWD built into a telematics program for an operator to use to check compliance and inform payroll.
To date, there are four EWDs approved by the NHVR. These are from MTData, Netstar Australia, Step Global and Teletrac Navman.
The offering by MTData uses the Talon and Swift Samsung Galaxy Active Tab Samsung Galaxy Active Tab 2. Drivers can record their work and rest hours by pressing a button on the Talon driver screen instead of manually calculating various time periods as part of the integrated telematic package supplied by MTData.
The EWD from Netstar Australia, the Netstar EWD Garmin Fleet 7XX Series, functions as a part of the Netstar telematics systems fitted into a number of fleets.
Teletrac Navman’s EWD solution is called Sentinel with a real-time dashboard of fatigue information and driver hour status, and this is powered by the AI delivered in TN360, Teletrac Navman’s new software platform.
While these first three are parts of a broader telematics platform which will deliver a number of diverse services and sets of data for a trucking operator, it is the Step Global solution, Smart eDriver which is the outlier.
This method of getting rid of the logbook is not a hardware solution but, instead an app on a mobile phone or tablet. At the moment the app is approved by the NHVR to run on a specified list of devices, but this list is likely to extend over time. Unfortunately, the app only functions on Android devices, but Step Global say there will be an IOS version available quite soon.
Because the Smart eDriver app is an android app this makes it a useful add-on for some of the other telematics providers in the marketplace, who are able to add the functionality of an EWD to their existing offering to customers by including the app in the package of the existing box in the truck cabin.
Assuming the driver has a compatible mobile phone (there are 12 devices currently listed by the NHVR as being approved with Smart eDriver), the first step in the process is to set up an account for the operator and then for each individual driver. In the case of an owner/driver the process is the same, except that they are entered first as an organisation and then as a driver, with separate confirmation emails. There is a relatively simple process, filling in a few details with ABN, driver license number etc.
Once registered an email arrives to invite the driver to log on online and set the ball rolling. The app itself can be downloaded from the Google Play (and later from the Apple App Store). Before you get to play with the app itself there is a training process. This is a matter of sitting through instructions on how to use the app and then answering ten questions correctly.
Then it’s simple a matter of logging in on the app and the driver’s information is automatically filled out within the application.