Weigh station bypass services now include road safety, parking alerts

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Updated Aug 18, 2020

A good safety record, a subscription and a truck-mounted transponder or mobile app. That’s all it takes to participate in a weigh station bypass program, but now carriers are getting more from their subscription than a lower pull-in rate for inspections.

In addition to using apps for bypass, more carriers are choosing them to give drivers a heads-up for upcoming safety risks along their routes.

PrePass Motion now is available as an option to fleets that use Geotab’s telematics platform.PrePass Motion now is available as an option to fleets that use Geotab’s telematics platform.

The only two companies that offer weigh station bypass are PrePass Safety Alliance with its PrePass program and Drivewyze with PreClear. Both have extensive relationships with government agencies to collect road and traffic data and to supply location-based safety information.

Road safety alerting

PrePass always has used a windshield-mounted transponder on trucks for its bypass system and has no reason to phase out the technology, since many of its 645,000 customers also use the devices for toll roads.

Its customers can use the PrePass Motion app at no added charge. Drivers can install the app on personal devices, and it also can be integrated with fleet telematics platforms.

PrePass has an integration with Geotab and is planning to announce others with major telematics providers, said Jarrod Del Prado, senior director of operations for PrePass Safety Alliance.

Besides using the app for weigh station bypass, drivers also can receive both static and dynamic location-based safety alerts through a visual interface that pops up on the screen.

In 2019, PrePass added safety alerts for I-70 in Colorado and other mountain routes in the state for steep grades, runaway ramps and tire-chain pulloffs. It currently has 800 total safety alerts in 31 states, including dynamic real-time traffic alerts for accidents, congestion and work zones. Kentucky is the first state to provide dynamic alerts.

PrePass currently is embarking on a project to provide drivers with dynamic location-based parking alerts through the app. Drivers would be notified of available parking from locations that have sensors or cameras that detect spots for commercial vehicles.

Expanding the connected vehicle

Drivewyze’s PreClear program is currently in 45 states at 830 sites. As the bypass network continued to grow, the company “very consciously” made the decision to build a connected truck platform, said Brian Heath, president and chief executive officer for Intelligent Imaging Systems, Drivewyze’s parent company.

Drivewyze gives drivers location-specific safety notifications.Drivewyze gives drivers location-specific safety notifications.

Intelligent Imaging recently closed a $60 million minority financing round by Sageview Capital and plans to use the investment to scale Drivewyze’s connected truck platform in the commercial vehicle services market.

“At some future point, all vehicles will need to interact with the infrastructure around them,” Heath said. “We knew we had a unique capability in the industry to connect with the programs, systems and sensors on the side of the road.”

The transportation industry loses billions every year in traffic congestion and delays. Weigh station bypass alleviates some chokepoints, but more can be done, Heath said. Through the Drivewyze app, drivers get road and traffic information “when and where they need it” to operate more efficiently and safely, he said.

Drivewyze has integrations with telematics providers that preinstall the app for fleets. PreClear is running in more than two million vehicle telematics systems in the background to provide drivers with weigh station bypass alerts and road and traffic information.

Drivewyze’s app does not track a vehicle but monitors locations to alert the driver when the vehicle is in proximity to a safety notification site such as a steep grade, low bridge or high-rollover or crash zone. Thousands of safety notification sites are loaded into the system throughout North America.

For Searcy Trucking, an open-deck carrier based in Manitoba, Canada, the safety notifications are helpful with oversized loads to give drivers “a heads-up on high rollover areas, steep grades and runaway ramps on mountain passes, plus on low bridges,” said Rachelle Baker, the fleet’s manager of driver services. “I had a driver once tell me how he had to stop his rig and measure his height to make sure he could fit under the bridge. Any technology that will help with this, we’ll take.”

Drivewyze recently began working with traffic data provider Inrix to alert drivers of dangerous congestion-related slowdowns and help them prepare to stop quickly, Heath said.