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TMC Report: Zonar modernizes trip inspections

TAMPA, Fla. -- Zonar Systems has modernized the pre- and post-trip inspection process by introducing an RFID system...


Placing the handheld reader near the RFID tag will notify the driver of items to inspect in that area.
Placing the handheld reader near the RFID tag will notify the driver of items to inspect in that area.

TAMPA, Fla. — Zonar Systems has modernized the pre- and post-trip inspection process by introducing an RFID system that ensures drivers are properly conducting mandatory vehicle inspections.

The system consists of numerous RFID tags that are placed around the vehicle in key locations, such as near marker lights or wheels. A handheld reader is stored in the truck, and the driver must position that reader within a couple inches of each tag around the vehicle to verify he has inspected that area. When the reader is positioned close to the tag, a list of items the driver must inspect in that area is displayed.

If any defects are noted, the driver can easily enter them into the handheld reader by selecting the type of defect from a menu. The maintenance manager is notified of the necessary repairs via cell phone as soon as the driver places the reader back into its cradle.

The handheld reader comes complete with a built-in flashlight that helps the driver inspect areas that are difficult to access. Zonars Mike McQuade demonstrated the product at the Technology and Maintenance Council meetings in Florida this week.

While the product is just now being rolled out to the trucking industry, McQuade said there are 30,000 units in place in vertical markets. He said test fleets have traditionally found a spike in defects reported as soon as the system is put in place, proving drivers are beginning to conduct proper trip inspections and reporting the results. Following that, he said the number of violations typically decreases dramatically.

McQuade pointed out reduced tire failures are just one way the system can pay for itself.

Its estimated by some accounts, that those road gators you see lying on the road would be reduced by as much as 90% if the truck driver would just do a visual walk-around inspection, McQuade told Truck News. Its law, but its not getting done. People arent inspecting their trucks.

Fleet managers can access the inspection reports online through a Web-based compliance management program designed by Zonar. This allows them to track their more frequent violations and take corrective action. McQuade said one fleet discovered 81.6% of its violations could have been prevented through a simple walk-around inspection.

Its not a system that costs you money at all its going to save you money, McQuade insisted.

Zonar is working to make its system compatible with the impending NSC-13 rule in Canada, which will redefine trip inspection requirements. The system ranges in price from US$300 to $900 per vehicle with a monthly subscription of $8 to $18.50 required to access the online compliance program. For more information, visit www.zonarsystems.com.


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