Driver Hi-tech Needs??

Topic 2009 | Page 1

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Hookemhawk's Comment
member avatar

I have a laptop, an Ipad, and my trusty Razor flip-phone. Do I need a smartphone? For a driver, what are the advantages/drawbacks for using these on the road?

Thanks.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

With the laptop and iPad you won't "need" a smartphone but the big advantage to having one is obviously portability. With the phone you can slip in it your pocket and take it in places like truck stops and customers to check your email, text, look up directions, etc. That's the only disadvantage you'll be at - you'll have to carry the iPad or laptop around with you if you want internet access.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

I find my smart phone to be a real convenience, but not a necessity. Most of the major companies that trucking companies use to get your paper work turned in for your completed deliveries now have apps on the phone that you can use to turn in your paperwork. That makes my job a lot more efficient, saving me the time and trouble of finding a truck stop and having to get out in bad weather just to turn in my paperwork. Of course we generally stop at a truck stop every other day anyway so that's why I say it's a convenience, and not a necessity.

Hookemhawk's Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys.

I checked out YouTube looking for apps like Old School uses and found out how many other apps are out there. My gut is telling me it won't be too long, after I start driving, that I will finally take the jump and get a smartphone.

Time to start researching phones.

Chief's Comment
member avatar

I have both, a smartphone and an ipad. My company uses Transflo to submit our paperwork and I have apps on both of my devices for it. I use the ipad mostly because it's easier to see things on (for me anyway). My phone is pretty much for phone calls and texting.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar

I have a Droid tablet, laptop, smartphone. I find that I use my smartphone during the day & my laptop in the evening once I am stopped for the day. I mostly use my tablet if I want to read an electonic book (much more space effecient that books themselves) or to see something better that I can't see on my smartphone (which is a Droid as well).

Prime has an app that I use to submit my paperwork usually before I leave the receiver. It also gets most of the messages that are sent to me via Qualcomm. I can also answer messages or write new ones right from the app. As an added bonus, Prime gives us extra money each week if we send in all our paperwork right away (so an added incentive to do it quickly).

So for me, having a smartphone has been a real time/life saver for so many things that I almost would be lost without it.

Ernie

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Mike L.'s Comment
member avatar

I do like my Droid phone mostly because of satellite photos on the go (but i dont mean while driving). A great thing about smart phones is you get a phone AND mobile tetherable internet which goes a long way with keeping in touch and keeping your sanity. It just depends on how much of a net junkie you are. Some drivers get hot spots which is a device that works just like a smart phone for internet but without the smart phone. Kind of a waste to me since you get both and it costs rouhgly the same plus you get the portability.

As far as needs? GPS saved my butt many times but satellite photos combined with GPS made all the difference. I rarely had to go into a new location without knowing exactly which way I could take my truck and what to expect for surface streets. A Thomas guide only goes so far but will still get you there.

A lot of "old timey" drivers will say there's no point in them and all you need is a cell phone but they just don't have the experience with technology.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Hookemhawk's Comment
member avatar

Here is what my expectation of tech usage on the road would be. I checked out data usage calculations on AT&T and Verizon and figured mine to be around 6-8 Gig per month while on the road..... I am probably off by a mile.

My expectations:

Phone use: 1) Phone and text home to honey. 2) Calls/texts to dispatcher and other service or emergency needs.

Laptop: 1) Surfing the net....TT, other forums, YouTube 2) Playing DVD's

Tablet: 1) Google Maps GPS for those "moments of need" 2) Surfing the net....TT, other forums, YouTube 3) Facetime or Skype 4) Reading

You guys have the real life knowledge. How big of a data plan do you have? Has the data quantity met your needs?

One more question. I have to ask, is any amount of a wireless bill a taxable write-off for a company driver?

Anything else you can add, it is appreciated.

Thanks.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Here is what my expectation of tech usage on the road would be. I checked out data usage calculations on AT&T and Verizon and figured mine to be around 6-8 Gig per month while on the road..... I am probably off by a mile.

My expectations:

Phone use: 1) Phone and text home to honey. 2) Calls/texts to dispatcher and other service or emergency needs.

Laptop: 1) Surfing the net....TT, other forums, YouTube 2) Playing DVD's

Tablet: 1) Google Maps GPS for those "moments of need" 2) Surfing the net....TT, other forums, YouTube 3) Facetime or Skype 4) Reading

You guys have the real life knowledge. How big of a data plan do you have? Has the data quantity met your needs?

One more question. I have to ask, is any amount of a wireless bill a taxable write-off for a company driver?

Anything else you can add, it is appreciated.

Thanks.

Your phone bill can be written off as long as you are using it for business...calling customers and the like including data useage for weather and safety related activity.

Now if you have a separate data plan like a hot spot that is more of a gray area cause you have to prove is was used for business or job related activities.

The easiest way to know if something is tax deductible is to ask if you were home would you still have the same expense as being on the road?

Your tax preparer should be able to give you a list of things that you can deducted during tax time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
member avatar

Here is what my expectation of tech usage on the road would be. I checked out data usage calculations on AT&T and Verizon and figured mine to be around 6-8 Gig per month while on the road..... I am probably off by a mile.

My expectations:

Phone use: 1) Phone and text home to honey. 2) Calls/texts to dispatcher and other service or emergency needs.

Laptop: 1) Surfing the net....TT, other forums, YouTube 2) Playing DVD's

Tablet: 1) Google Maps GPS for those "moments of need" 2) Surfing the net....TT, other forums, YouTube 3) Facetime or Skype 4) Reading

You guys have the real life knowledge. How big of a data plan do you have? Has the data quantity met your needs?

One more question. I have to ask, is any amount of a wireless bill a taxable write-off for a company driver?

Anything else you can add, it is appreciated.

Thanks.

I would be interested in seeing this format by some other drivers to see what they have and how they are using the resource. Which wireless/phone plan suppliers are being used. Are you using exclusively wireless hotspots at the truckstops for your Internet, or does your plan give you Internet access where ever you want (naturally in areas that have normal covereage, not in the middle of Wyoming...). I remember years ago (before smart phones shocked.png ) I got a cell phone that had some options. I could either get a bunch of free minutes or have free long distance calling anywhere in the lower 48. Since I was anticipating on traveling a lot with that particular job, I chose the long distance option; it was the best for my situation. All that being said, I am sure there are packages available today that would better accommodate an OTR trucker better than other packages.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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