News Archive

Truck Tracking

by msecadm4921

Thousands of trucks and trailers are stolen every year in the UK at a cost of millions of pounds.

That is why it is vital for operators to take responsibility for their share of the problem, which means taking security measures that include the fitting of a tracking system. As all hauliers know, the cost of commercial vehicle insurance has leapt up in the last year ‘ and all the signs are that this trend will continue next year and possibly beyond. What many hauliers do not realise is that, by taking some simple steps on vehicle security, they can bring down their premiums and help to offset future increases.
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Vulnerable Loads
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Operators should be aware that for their vehicles to be part of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Vulnerable Loads Scheme they must have in-cab communications, an effective security system and a tracking system. Previously many smaller operators and owner-drivers have shied away from purchasing tracking systems primarily due to lack of support staff and cost of installation. However, recent innovations in tracking systems mean that new technology not only allows hauliers to track their trailers and loads through a mobile phone but also through the Internet. Costs for GPS/GSM tracking systems can now be as little as œ400 a year including 12-months line rental. Insurance companies reward hauliers for installing such equipment by offering discounts on premiums of between 5pc and 10pc if fewer claims are submitted making the installation of tracking equipment very worthwhile.
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Trailer tracking
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As tracking systems have become more technologically advanced and better understood, it has been possible to embody "best of breed" processes into their use by drawing on the experiences of many hardware manufacturers like Triteq and merging their expertise with software developers. Now the combination of hardware and software innovation provides a solution to find and track one or more trailers via a web browser or GSM cellular phone to street level anywhere across Europe.
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Solar Powered Tracking Systems
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Systems like Astrotraq enable companies and individuals to track large assets using solar power and back-up battery packs irrespective of whether or not the trailer is linked to a cab. Especially designed for the protection of trailers, such systems also provide companies with a means of tracking trailers that use complex logistic route models. In such instances where more than one truck is used to transport a trailer from its point of departure to final destination, trailer based systems provide the ideal tracking solution. Devices such as Astrotraq are completely self-contained and can literally be stuck onto the trailer using specially developed adhesive pads. Measuring just 370mm in diameter by 70mm high, the compact systems are totally weatherproof and shock absorbent to protect knocks or vibration. The location of a trailer or load fitted with a suitable tracking system can be reported automatically at predetermined times set by the user. Other options include the ability to monitor alarm activations and other contacts such as coupling of doors. In addition systems can send text messages and email alerts to the owner to say that an alarm has been triggered.
Once installed, appropriately equipped systems can be controlled or reconfigured remotely via the software, removing the need to revisit the device. Alarm inputs can be connected to provide instant notification if a door is opened or there is a change in temperature. The configuration of these alarms can be altered at any time by text messaging.
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Other Security Measures
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Whilst tracking is an important weapon in the fight against theft and hijacking, other standard security practices must not be forgotten. These include: roof markings to help police air-support units to identify vehicles.; locking and securing of vehicles whenever they are left; refueling on site before beginning a journey; building security duties and directives into a driver’s contract; making sure that any tools or equipment, which might help criminals to steal trucks or loads are securely locked away when not in use; checking regularly that drivers understand and use the security equipment fitted to the vehicle; and checking drivers’ references properly before taking them on. Since GPS was launched in the 1980’s as a military tracking system, great strides have been made in its use. GPS is now capable of accuracy better than 10 metres for commercial applications, therefore the excuse of no longer being able to closely pinpoint positions is no longer acceptable. Used together with innovative hardware and other security measures, tracking is now an essential weapon in the battle against theft and hijacking from vehicles and containers.

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