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Next step: E-pre-trips?

MONTREAL, Que. - To further exploit the potential of on-board computers, Societe de l'Assurance Automobile du Quebec, Transports Quebec, Transport Canada and the province's trucking industry have just...


MONTREAL, Que. – To further exploit the potential of on-board computers, Societe de l’Assurance Automobile du Quebec, Transports Quebec, Transport Canada and the province’s trucking industry have just begun to define a large pilot project that could see the advent of such things as computerized pre-trip inspections.

“You’ll need a display with more than one line. The driver would enter the results of his inspection. He would scroll down through the display to show it to a roadside inspector,” says Claude Corbeil, chief of services, policies and programs for owners and operators of heavy vehicles with SAAQ.

The E-pre-trip inspection could be uplinked on the road, or downloaded back at the terminal into a company’s management system. Aside from proving that the E-pre-trip inspection is accurate and complete, says Corbeil, “essentially, the only issue is the signature.”

However, an electronic signature is nothing like the type requested by courier drivers, who have customers scrawl onto a handheld computer’s screen. Rather, it is a secure, electronic way of ensuring or proving that a printout of an E-pre-trip inspection is as legally submissible as a certified photocopy or a copy of the original.

“When you table any document in court, it must have this characteristic,” says Corbeil.

The pilot program itself should start in September 2001, with both Canadian and American companies taking part.

One hi-tech twist will be to use smart cards instead of manual logbooks.

“A smart card is the equivalent of a credit card, but with a chip that identifies you and can store information. By using a smart card to replace a hand-held logbook … you can switch trucks and always have your records with you,” says Corbeil.

“We don’t know if it will be feasible, but we think it will.

“From a business point of view, it is a key that guarantees that your equipment cannot be stolen. It could be a deterrent because you won’t be able to start the tractor or open the trailer doors without the card. This is not new. The technology exists now.” n


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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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