by Rob Penner

Have you ever stopped to think about the technology on-board today’s tractors, both from an OEM and an aftermarket perspective?

The additional technology to promote fleet and driver safety is incredible. Roll stability, collision avoidance technology, on-board cameras (both forward and inward facing), e-logs, EDVIR, document scanners, navigation, etc.

Even remote on-board vehicle diagnostics that can now direct the tractor to the nearest repair facility and pre-order the parts to minimize downtime. This just to name a few. I wonder what will they think of next. And as a fleet guy I can also think of at least a couple of basic things that you can’t get on a tractor, that have been standard on most cars for many years.

Let’s start with an alarm system. Why wouldn’t the standard tractor spec’ include an alarm? The truck is worth half a dozen Kias, is our driver’s home away from home, is often left unattended in less-than-ideal locations, and the theft of these trucks often leads to larger crimes such as cargo thefts or the illegal transport of goods.

How difficult would it be to set them up with a local audible alarm and also hook the alarm to our on-board communications and tracking systems? We had a driver seriously assaulted a while back while he was sleeping in N.J. Had the truck been equipped with an alarm, he would have been afforded a few more precious seconds to prepare for the attack, assuming the horns and sirens didn’t scare the perpetrator off.

And how about a programmable key fob versus a physical key? Keys are a fleet nightmare and with today’s tech, it would be so easy to use the same systems we have for our buildings on our trucks. Swipe card or electronic key fob for locks and ignition – it’s been in automotive for years.


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  • No Kidding Rob!!!!! I tried to order keyless entry on my latest Freightliner and it not even an option!!! At least with Volvo it was an option. This mentality from the OEM’s is not helping driver retention or attraction. A few simple options make life easier. A keyless entry allows you to wash your truck, in the winter, at not freeze your self out or let your truck sit unlocked while you are inside. I have seen both numerous times!!