While some of the new electronic work diaries, approved by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator 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 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.
From the operators point of view, the portal allows them to manage the drivers in the fleet. Drivers can be added or delinked, but the operator will still have access to relevant data on that driver’s activity.
The EWD is the property of the driver, in much the same way as the current work diary belongs to them. All the operator needs is to have access to the data. The act of paying for the use of the system for one month, means the driver is also paying for Step Global to store the data for three years. Record access is free for the operator, the payment is for the functionality of the EWD and the storage of the data.
Drivers can be linked to multiple operators at the same time. The driver then simply selects which operator associated with their profile they are driving for on any particular day. From the operator’s point of view they can access the driver’s records for all of the hours they log in as working for that particular operator.
An operator can have an account and all drivers associated with them, plus it is also possible to enter the system as a solo driver. Down the track a contractor will be able to register and link themselves with all of the operators they do work for.
After that we will see the arrival of a part time driver registration.This will suit those who do not drive all year round. It will be useful for those who work as a driver seasonally or truck magazine journalists who test drive trucks sporadically, when they are available. For this kind of registration the driver will pay a small monthly fee and then so much per day when the EWD gets used.
Down the track there will also be an agricultural license where a driver can prebook a period of a particular number of days, when they may need to record their driving during harvest, when they will actually need a work diary.
Drivers with the Smart eDriver are supposed to go to their local transport authority to get their work diary cancelled, so that they cannot run two separate work diaries.
As a driver it is possible to edit the record shown in the chart on the device, the device does record the amendment, but also keeps the original entry. When a compliance officer is checking the device, there is a ‘show all’ button which lets them see all of the different versions of any entry.
Actually using the Step Global solution, Smart eDriver does make life a lot easier as a driver. It already knows the date, who you are and where you are. It’s simply a matter of entering the rego of the truck and the odometer reading. After that the driver just has to remember to press the button to move from rest to work, and then remember to press the rest button when it is time to rest.
Whilst working, the app gives you a constant read out about how many hours you have left in the day and also how long until you need to take a break. If you make a mistake, it is simply a matter of amending the record, but you need to remember that all versions of the record are still in the system and can be accessed.
At the end of the working day, the driver simply enters the odometer reading and then hits the button which ends the day and the system does the rest. All good so far, the next issue is what happens at a roadside check and whether the officer can read an EWD, or whether you have made a mistake in pressing the right buttons to make the diary true and compliant.