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Resource Center The Pitfalls of Ignoring Advanced GPS Truck Tracking

The Pitfalls of Ignoring Advanced GPS Truck Tracking

June 30, 2023 Tyler Linn

Not all truck tracking solutions are created equal. While standard options may give you the ability to track your vehicles, they lack the critical features of more advanced vehicle trackers that could help you tackle multiple pain points with a single solution. In this article, we’ll explore the drawbacks of using location-only trackers and how your fleet can gain up to a 545% return on investment.

Let’s dive in.

1. The Problem: Inefficient GPS Truck and Trailer Tracking Solutions

GPS tracking systems typically measure accuracy using Circular Error Probability.

The Drawbacks of Conventional GPS Tracking Methods

  1. Inaccuracy: Traditional GPS tracking systems can often provide inaccurate data due to signal interference or hardware limitations, leading to logistical inefficiencies and potential losses. Older units typically perform worse in dense urban environments. They also offer less accurate tracking. GPS accuracy is often measured in Circular Error Probability (CEP). So when a system claims “10m CEP 50%”, it means that half of the time, the tracker will give you the location of your truck within a circle that’s 10 meters (or about 32.8 feet) in radius, which is roughly the length of a large motorhome or a small bus.
  2. Limited Coverage: Traditional GPS tracking often has limited coverage, especially in remote or rural areas, leading to blind spots in tracking. With the recent sunsetting of 3G, many trackers and GPS units are now defunct. We’re now on a 4G baseline, with more advanced truck tracking units offering 5G connectivity. You might assume 4G to be good enough, but it’s not nearly as reliable in urban environments due to its lower capacity.
  3. Limited Data: Conventional vehicle tracking solutions only offer location data. They do not provide comprehensive data on vehicle health, driver behavior, or fuel efficiency like newer, more advanced systems. This means you’ll need extra equipment if you want to begin tackling critical issues like fleet performance and utilization. Standard vehicle trackers can still be a great tool, just be aware of their limitations.

Graph with increasing of the fuel price market

The Ripple Effects of Inefficient GPS Tracking on Business Operations

  1. Increased Operational Costs: Inaccurate tracking data can lead to inefficient routes and increased fuel costs—both of which impact your bottom line.
  2. Poor Customer Service: Delays in deliveries or inaccurate delivery estimates, caused by poor tracking, can lead to missed delivery windows and customer dissatisfaction. If you want to ensure happy customers, an accurate tracking system is a must-have.
  3. Decreased Productivity: Inefficient tracking can result in operational bottlenecks, affecting overall productivity. Not knowing your team’s location at all times hurts your ability to appropriately route, dispatch, and manage vehicles.
  4. Loss of Business Opportunities: Without real-time tracking and comprehensive data, businesses might miss out on opportunities to optimize operations and increase profits. Inaccurate truck and trailer tracking solutions limit your ability to analyze usage reports and optimize your team’s time to fit in additional routes.
  5. Safety Risks: Inaccurate or delayed information about vehicle speeds, driver behavior, or vehicle health could decrease your ability to address safety issues. Without the right information, you risk accidents, legal action, and damages to your reputation.

2. Leveraging Vehicle Data


Vehicle Speed Tracking: Your Best Bet for Addressing Safety and Inefficiency

So what can we do to address these issues?

Vehicle speed tracking is key to tackling the problems we’ve laid out. Studies show that excessive speeds accounted for 29% of fatal accidents in 2021 with over 12,300 deaths.

An added benefit of monitoring driver speed is the reduction in fuel consumption. When you consider that a truck traveling at 75 mph uses 27% more fuel than one going just 65 mph, the ability to identify frequent speeders can save your business considerable money.

Check out our Top 9 Ways Fleets Can Lower Fuel Costs article for more info.

With a precise eye on your fleet’s speed habits, you can improve fleet safety, encourage efficient driving habits, reduce fuel consumption, and control costs.

Connecting to ECM: Getting the Full Picture of Your Fleet’s Health

With more advanced vehicle tracking solutions, you gain the added benefits of Engine Control Module (ECM) data. These units typically plug right into the OBDII or JBUS port under your dash and deliver valuable data, including:

  • Engine RPMs
  • Vehicle Speed
  • O2 Levels
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Diagnostic Trouble Codes
  • Coolant Temps
  • and more…

With in-depth data pulled directly from the vehicle, fleet managers can build actionable plans based on real information to improve operations in two key areas: Vehicle maintenance and driver efficiency.

Vehicle Health & Maintenance

Connecting to the ECM provides real-time data on vehicle health and engine performance. Having an ECM connection can alert your team to issues like spikes in coolant temperature, oxygen sensor issues, poor combustion, or high idling RPMs. With this real-time information, you can schedule maintenance such as cleaning out the diesel particulate filters or replacing fuel injectors before issues compound.

Identifying maintenance issues as quickly as possible can save you thousands in costly repairs. As one study found, you could realize a 545% return on investment with preventive maintenance. That’s massive.

Driver Efficiency

The next benefit of engine data can come in the form of addressing driver behavior. Maybe you’ve noticed your drivers regularly run their trucks at higher speeds or that idling times are excessive. This engine data can help fleet managers identify trends and improve the behaviors of their drivers.

3. The Power of Geofencing & Driver Behavior Monitoring

IntelliHub can create custom geofences with dispatching, alerts, and reports.

Why Geofencing is Crucial for Unauthorized Use Detection

Perhaps one of the more overlooked benefits of truck tracking is geofencing. Geofencing allows you to set location boundaries for your entire fleet or individual trucks and drivers. In 2019, trucks and buses alone accounted for 100,113 vehicle thefts. Geofencing can help prevent your fleet vehicles from becoming another statistic.

Using an installed vehicle tracking device, you can set up real-time updates any time a vehicle or member of your fleet leaves the prescribed area. This is an excellent way to keep your drivers accountable and avoid issues such as unauthorized stops or becoming a victim of vehicle and cargo theft.

GPS Trackers and Driver Behavior Monitoring

GPS tracking solutions with ECM connectivity can provide a wealth of information on driver behavior for the entire fleet. With a combination of GPS and vehicle data, fleet managers can dramatically improve upon traditional GPS trackers. Fleet managers can better identify issues like excessive idling, harsh braking and acceleration, speeding, and fuel efficiency.

4. Select the Perfect Solution for Your Needs

With all of this in mind, there are two perfect solutions for addressing these issues.

ATrack AX11 - FTS solutions to track your trailers, trucks, and cargo containers

Modern Vehicle Trackers: GPS Tracking + Vehicle Data

Modern-day vehicle trackers provide far more benefits than standard GPS tracking devices.

Here’s what advanced GPS tracking devices have to offer:

  1. Plug-and-Play Insights: Modern GPS trackers not only provide precise location data, but plug-and-play installation. These GPS tracking units plug right into your OBDII or JBUS port and read and transmit valuable ECM data while also maintaining a strong GPS signal.
  2. Real-Time Data: With access to real-time ECM data, you can make real-time decisions. Advanced truck trackers can help you improve customer service, dispatch operations, driver productivity, maintenance, and asset utilization. Whether it’s ensuring drivers arrive on-site and on-time, rerouting to pick up last-minute cargo, or addressing a new cylinder compression issue, an advanced GPS tracker can help with instant data.
  3. Long-Term Savings: By monitoring vehicle health while trucks are out on the road, modern vehicle trackers can help reduce the cost of repairs and downtime, leading to significant long-term savings for your business.
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FleetCam Pro - AI Powered dash cam with ADAS & DMS

Advanced Dash Cams: Real-Time Visibility + Added Safety + GPS Tracking System

Advanced all-in-one dash cams offer unparalleled benefits by combining three critical functions for your fleet business:

  1. Improved Accountability: Advanced truck dash cams enhance driver accountability by monitoring and discouraging poor driving habits and encouraging adherence to routes and schedules.
  2. Increased Safety: Advanced dash cams also offer features like ADAS & DMS to aid drivers in staying safe behind the wheel of their trucks.
  3. Real-Time Tracking: With built-in GPS tracking, these dash cams provide real-time vehicle location updates, offering another layer of data for comprehensive fleet management.

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Not using GPS tracking can lead to increased operational costs, unoptimized routes, and a lack of real-time data for decision-making.

GPS tracking provides real-time data on vehicle location and status, enabling more efficient route planning, fuel usage, and proactive vehicle maintenance.

GPS tracking systems can provide data on vehicle speed, engine status, idling time, and real-time location, useful for enforcing driving policies and optimizing operations.

Psssst… Want to see how our fleet management solutions can help your company cut costs, improve driver safety, automate driver coaching, lower fleet risks, and improve your truck tracking?

Grab a free demo.

Do it.

Do it now.

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