What is an Omnitracs system?
Omnitracs, Inc. (Qualcomm) is a global satellite tracking system Werner installed in each truck in 1992 to track truck locations, identify problems and determine delivery times. The unit, maintained in each Werner truck, is similar to a mini computer and features both a touchscreen and keyboard. It’s used as a communication tool for drivers and Werner personnel, as a GPS for routing and directions and as an Electronic Logging Device.
What is Werner’s Electronic Logging Device?
Werner’s innovative Electronic Logging Device changed the way the entire trucking industry views safety. The system replaced the traditional paper logbooks used to record work hours and activities and is being proposed for industry-wide implementation. Connected via satellite through Omnitracs, the Electronic Logging Device helps professional drivers manage their time efficiently. Without the hassle of paper logbooks, Werner drivers can focus on what they do best — driving.
Why did Werner develop the Electronic Logging Device?
Werner Enterprises developed the system with several goals in mind:
- Ensure drivers are in compliance with federal regulations. The system helps track hours worked and hours available. Werner monitors these records, identifies load delivery problems and makes adjustments for on-time delivery, such as swapping loads with other drivers who have available hours.
- Assist with driver safety. Since the Electronic Logging Device tracks work hours, Werner can organize deliveries according to drivers’ work schedules/hour availability.
- Keep shippers apprised of load delivery schedules. The system enables Werner to track truck locations and more closely determine drivers’ abilities to meet delivery schedules based on hours worked and their available hours.
- Reduce hassle for drivers. When asked to identify job frustrations, “filling out paper logbooks” typically is among the top five items listed. If drivers are stopped by a carrier enforcement official, or are at a weigh station and don't have their logbooks current, they can be fined and shut down for hours, which then affects their paychecks.
- Improve driver retention and recruitment. Drivers prefer driving over filling out paperwork. In addition, Werner’s excellent overall safety record and high marks on roadside inspection problems mean drivers have more opportunities to keep moving with fewer delays.
What are logbooks and why do drivers keep them?
Professional drivers throughout the United States use logbooks for tracking work hours and recording work activities (driving, on-duty not driving, sleeping or off-duty). Drivers must chart their hours and activities every day by drawing lines through a grid and calculating the hours worked and hours available. Federal officials periodically inspect driver logbooks at weigh stations and other locations to certify they have been kept up-to-date by the driver, as well as ensure the driver is following the hours-of-service regulations.
Is the Werner Electronic Logging Device easy to operate?
Yes! In fact, it is so easy that all information is right at our drivers’ fingertips through a touchscreen or keyboard.
What was the process involved in developing Werner’s Electronic Logging Device?
Werner began developing electronic logs in 1994. The entire project was created in-house by Werner’s team of computer specialists, with help from departments throughout the company. Werner began testing the system in its trucks in July 1995; all participating professional drivers continued to maintain traditional paper logbooks. In 1997, Werner contacted the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and obtained approval for continued testing. In 1998, Werner tested the system with approximately 2,000 of its professional drivers. On June 10, 1998, the FHWA officially authorized Werner to adopt electronic logs under a pilot program and discontinue use of paper logbooks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted exemption from paper log usage Sept. 21, 2004.
Are there any safety issues related to using Werner’s Electronic Logging Device?
The system enables drivers to focus their attention and energy on safely transporting merchandise across the U.S. instead of worrying their paper log is not up-to-date.
What do federal and state regulatory personnel do when a driver is stopped?
Professional drivers provide officials with a copy of a notice explaining how to retrieve the logs from Omnitracs. If the official requests, drivers can show them an eight-day recap of the hours on the screen, or the logs may be faxed to a specific number.
I use paper logbooks for myself to track my hours-of-service; can I do that with the Werner system?
While you should always have a paper logbook with you in the event of an Omnitracs outage, your electronic logs should be your primary and only record of duty status; federal regulations do not allow for more than one. This often prompts trainers to ask, “If that is so, how is my student allowed to keep a paper log record of his or her hours?” The answer: the student’s primary record of duty status is the electronic logs on the Omnitracs system. Students keep a paper log as training so they can learn how to log in a paper logbook in the event of an Omnitracs outage. In addition, the student’s paper log MUST be clearly marked “For Training Purposes Only.”
How will this system impact my miles?
Werner has used this satellite-based log system for years to dispatch loads to our drivers. Due to better planning, driver miles have increased. The system allows managers to preplan and assign loads based on accurate future and available driving hours. This allows Werner to maximize the time of professional drivers on the road.