Time is US $9.26 at a roadside scale

Time is money, and this is particularly true when you’re stuck at a roadside scale. Even if everything is in running order, drivers still have to wait their turn before being waved on their way.

The Canadian-based developers of a weigh station bypass app know exactly how much money such delays cost – at least in the U.S.

Drivewyze crunched data collected through 13 million site visits at 1,200 weigh stations last September and October, and discovered an average truck spends three minutes and 37 seconds at a typical scale. Put another way, each of those stops would cost a fleet US $9.26 (Cdn $12.03).

It is good news and bad news when compared to 2006 research by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. While the process is marginally quicker than it was, an average stop has traditionally been costed at US $8.68 (Cdn $11.28). Blame factors such as higher labor costs for the difference.

Weigh station delays are a bigger problem for some operations than others. Consider one truck in Minnesota that passed the same I-94 inspection station 20 times per day, as it traveled back and forth to a distribution centre.

That’s why fleets should focus on their specific needs rather than averages alone. “There is no such thing as an average truck, and there’s no such thing as an average fleet,” says Doug Johnson, Drivewyze director of marketing. One in four of the studied trucks were in and out of a scale in less than a minute. Another one in four took anywhere between 3-1/2 minutes and, in the case of detained trucks, more than eight hours.

The times at individual scales will evolve, too. Massachusetts and Wyoming recorded the highest detention periods during one timeframe, but have dropped back since then. “Sites open and close. Traffic changes. Weather patterns change,” he says. “Nothing is static.”

It all helps to make the case for technology to help manage such delays.

For now, the Drivewyze PreClear app focuses on U.S. sites, but developers are in talks with three provinces. It might be coming north soon.

 

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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