Editor’s Comment: Keeping in Touch Is Far Easier Than It Used to Be

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When word hit the street that the U.S. hours of service regulations were being challenged and that they were tentatively deemed to be illegal, one could sense some panic ripple through the industry on both sides of the border.

Many questions immediately sprung to mind, especially for those behind the wheel. What rules do I follow now? Will I be forced to learn an entirely new set of regulations after finally getting used to these ones? Will this affect the impending changes to Canada’s hours of service regulations?

One can only imagine the colourful conversations taking place between professional drivers at truck stops that afternoon across Canada and the U.S. With an event like this, it’s not uncommon for misconceptions to get perpetuated as word spreads over CB radios and over coffee at truck stops and diners. It used to be that a trucker’s main source of information about the industry was from other drivers.

Not too long ago, a trucker would probably have heard several different versions of what was taking place before eventually returning to the terminal and reading the memo posted on the lunchroom bulletin board. Not anymore.

As soon as the challenge to the U.S. HOS rules was announced, H&R Transport in Lethbridge, Alta. sent out an alert to all its drivers. The message simply notified them of the challenge and advised them to continue following the existing rules. Within seconds, the company had put any concerns to rest and clarified any rumours or misconceptions that may have been floating around.

Countless other carriers did likewise, and once again real-time mobile communications demonstrated why it plays such a role in the trucking industry. The ability to instantly communicate has changed the face of the industry for the better.

And it doesn’t end there. Web sites such as www.trucknews.com are updated daily with information of value to drivers and trucking companies. E-mail new alerts are also available, and nowadays many drivers have the means to access these from within their cab, allowing them to stay on top of the latest industry news while on the road.

Mobile communications systems and WIFI Internet access not only contribute to a driver’s quality of life while on the road, but they are worth their weight in gold when news happens. And in this industry, news happens these days more than ever before. Border backups, terrorist alerts and legislative changes are just a few events that can have an immediate impact on a driver. The ability to communicate these events in real-time has never been so important.

As these systems become more commonplace, the cost has also decreased making them more affordable. And there’s a wide ranger of offerings to choose from on the marketplace. Every truck should be equipped with some kind of mobile communications system.

Keeping in touch has never been easier.

– James Menzies can be reached by phone at 403-275-3160 or by e-mail at jamesmenzies@shaw.ca.

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Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

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