Tires are one of a fleet’s most important assets. “A proactive tire maintenance program supports safety on the road and helps fleets capitalize on long-term performance. From Class 8 trucks to passenger vehicles, proactive tire maintenance helps fleets identify and address problems before they happen, potentially avoiding costly downtime while multiplying savings through optimized tire performance, including improved tread life and fuel economy,” explained Kyle Chen, brand manager, truck and bus radial tires, U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO).

By managing a tire throughout its lifecycle – from selection to removal – fleet managers can make a big impact on the bottom line, all while making mobility more efficient for their fleet.

Tips for tire safety

Before they hit the road, every driver should conduct a pre-trip inspection to ensure there are no tire-related issues that need to be addressed before a haul. “For example, visually inspecting tires for irregularities such as cuts or penetrations is a simple and effective pre-trip tire maintenance step that every fleet should perform,” Chen added.

Below are some other best practices that Bridgestone recommends fleets implement before, during, and after a haul to promote safer driving conditions and efficient operations:

  1. Select the right tire for the job. Fleet managers should consider the proper tire size, load carrying capacity, and service type. According to Bridgestone, tire selection is the foundation of tire performance. Fleet managers should also consider additional factors when choosing a tire to make sure performance expectations are met, such as application, size, load carrying capacity, and route. Once a tire is selected, proactive maintenance, operations, and inspections are critical to ensure a tire’s long-term safety and performance over time.
  2.  
  3. Ensure and maintain proper cold inflation tire pressure. Tire inflation pressure is a critical and often overlooked aspect of a tire maintenance program, according to Bridgestone. Improper tire inflation pressure can lead to downtime and damaged tire casings. Proper tire inflation pressure can help to ensure even weight distribution across a tire’s contact patch, which can maximize treadwear life and fuel efficiency. It is important to remember to check tire inflation pressure when a tire is cold. According to Bridgestone, cold inflation pressure is most accurately measured when tires have been parked for at least three hours or driven less than one mile at a moderate speed. Bridgestone also recommends fleet managers and commercial truck drivers use a calibrated tire pressure gauge at each wheel position.
  4.  
  5. Inspect tires often. Hands-on inspections are helpful to identify irregular wear issues, low tread depth, and road-related damage. Before each trip, fleet managers should ensure drivers look for such issues as irregular wear, flat spotting, cuts, cracks, bulges, or penetrations. Frequent, manual inspections will help drivers address any issues before they impact tire performance.
  6.  
  7. Abide by a tire’s recommended speed rating. Fleet managers should always reinforce drivers abide by each tire’s maximum speed rating, which may be lower than posted highway speed limits. By not exceeding the speed rating of a tire, drivers can help avoid various tire-related incidents that could potentially cause downtime or create additional road hazards for the motoring public.

Fleet managers and their drivers should always be on the same page when it comes to tire maintenance. By managing a tire throughout its lifecycle – from selection to removal – fleet managers can make a big impact on the bottom line, all while making mobility more efficient for their fleet.

“Everyone benefits from proper tire maintenance practices. Training and education can help ensure that everyone behind the wheel and in the yard understands their role in a fleet’s tire maintenance program. When everyone knows their role and what proactive maintenance steps to take, fleets are better prepared to avoid downtime and improve safety on the road,” Chen added.

Debunking tire myths

Myths are abundant when it comes to tires. Misinformation is spread so much more quickly today than ever before, and it’s essential to know the truth related to truck tires.

One myth is that all tires are created equal. “Tires are highly specialized pieces of technology engineered for specific vehicles, equipment, and applications. With this specialization in mind, selecting the right tire for the application and use is critical to tire safety and performance. Fleet managers should consider the vehicle type, Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR), speed requirements, service conditions, and tire specifications such as size, load range, and intended application,” Chen said.

Tire selection with application and position in mind is particularly relevant today, as fleets are running heavier loads for longer hours of operation, according to Bridgestone. Another myth is around retreading, or the practice of replacing the tread on a tire casing instead of removing the tire from service after one use.

“Retreading helps extend the useful life of a tire casing by replacing the tread two or more times, which, in turn, helps lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) per mile,” Chen said. “Many people still believe a common tire myth that retreads are of lesser quality than new tires and are a contributor to tire debris seen on highways. In reality, rubber debris most often is the result of human error and poor tire care such as underinflation, overloading, and tire abuse,” Chen said.

Today’s high-quality retreads can provide performance and reliability benefits for much less than purchasing another new tire. “It is easy to see why many of the largest fleets in North America incorporate retreads in their tire programs. Again, safety and performance come back to tire care best practices, which are critical for both new and retread tires,” Chen said.

The bottom line

It can’t be said enough: Tires are one of a fleet’s most valuable assets.

“A proactive tire maintenance program encourages fleets to monitor their tires every day and address issues proactively before they impact operational efficiency, increase incremental operating costs, cause safety concerns, and unplanned downtime. A proactive tire maintenance program treats tires like the important asset that they are, and more importantly, supports the safety of a fleet, its operators, and other drivers on the road,” concluded Chen.  

Source: Automotive Fleet

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If you’re at fault in an accident, there’s a good chance your insurance rates are going up. But just how much more money can you expect to shell out? A new study by Insurance.com ranks the best and worst states for car accident claims, based on the average rates drivers pay following an at-fault accident.

Michigan is the worst state for accident claims, according to the study. Drivers here can expect their premiums to jump to an average of $3,502 after an at-fault accident, a 48 percent increase over pre-accident rates. Louisiana and California are not far behind, as drivers will pay an average of $3,348 and $3,081, respectively. In Louisiana, that’s a 50 percent increase from the average insurance rate in the state, and in California, it’s a whopping 73 percent hike.

Worst states for car accident claims

Best states for car accident claims

1. Michigan ($3,502)
2. Louisiana ($3,348)
3. California ($3,081)
4. Florida ($3,045)
5. Delaware ($2,592)
6. Rhode Island ($2,591)
7. Connecticut ($2,589)
8. Georgia ($2,552)
9. Minnesota ($2,503)
10. District of Columbia ($2,438)

1. Maine ($1,058)
2. Ohio ($1,170)
3. Virginia ($1,250)
4. Indiana ($1,259)
5. Idaho ($1,294)
6. North Dakota ($1,338)
7. New York ($1,360)
8. Vermont ($1,405)
9. Hawaii ($1,414)
10. Alaska ($1,458)

Michigan drivers can expect their premiums to jump an average of $3,502 after an at-fault accident.

Maine is the most forgiving state where drivers pay an average of $1,058 after an accident. This is a mere 20 percent increase over the average insurance rate of $884, which is also the lowest in the nation. Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, and Idaho also ranked high on the list of best states for car accident claims.

According to Insurance.com, rates increase by an average of $450, or 31 percent, after one at-fault accident involving more than $2,000 in damage. Many factors play a role in how much you’ll pay after an accident, including your insurance company, driving record, and where you live. Some insurance companies increase your rate considerably after a claim, while others do not.

Insurance.com says the cheapest car insurance company before a claim may not be the cheapest after you file a claim, so you can really benefit from shopping around for a new policy. “Our data research shows that for the insurers surveyed, a driver can save up to $4,300, the average being about $600, by comparing car insurance quotes after an accident claim,” said Penny Gusner, Insurance.com consumer analyst.

Source: MotorTrend

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Daimler AG is showing off a new wrinkle in digitalization by Daimler Trucks that will ease the stress on commercial vehicle drivers.

At the same time, the added digitalization processes are becoming more efficient and more secure by enabling trucks to autonomously communicate with other machines and carry out legally-binding transactions, such as payments.

With the newly created digital Truck-ID and Truck Wallet, experts at Daimler Trucks have now created the appropriate prerequisites as part of a pilot project. For example, developers have joined forces with partners and successfully carried out an automatic payment at an electric charging station.

Helge Koenigs, head of the Truck Wallet project at Daimler Trucks, said, “With Truck-ID and Truck Wallet, we have laid the foundation for autonomous interaction between trucks and other machines – a true technological milestone.

“Our aim is that, in future, trucks will be able to act on their own behalf in various fields of application. Drivers can then concentrate more on their actual driving tasks and haulage firms benefit from a significant reduction in administration work and more secure processes,” Koenig said.

The system allows vehicles to themselves to other machines using their Truck-ID as if they had their own integrated ID card and can thus provide a unique signature for specific processes.

Truck Wallet works as a platform technology and central user program for all applications which can access the Truck-ID for various purposes.

Truck-ID and Truck Wallet – both currently still in the prototype phase – are stored as encrypted software programs within a cryptographic processor. Koenig said the system makes it practically impossible to carry out such things as fuel card scams whereby criminals copy a fuel card and spy on the PIN number being entered.

This processor is part of the Truck Data Center, the central telematics control unit of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros.

It receives data from the sensors, cameras, etc. in the truck and evaluates this for the most varied of use cases. What’s more, as the interface for all connectivity services, it is responsible for the truck’s external communications.

Just like a modern smartphone, the Truck Data Center communicates via Bluetooth or 4G with the infrastructure, with other vehicles and other instances which are part of the logistics process.

“Also in terms of highly automated trucks, our prototypes show the direction in which such further developments can go,” Koenig said.

Source: The Detroit Bureau

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Fleet drivers with a WEX Inc. fuel card will now be able to use their mobile device to pay for fuel at Shell stations, the company has announced.

WEX’s DriverDash mobile payments app is enabling the transactions at about 13,000 Shell stations. WEX struck a similar deal in June 2018 that enabled mobile payments at 11,000 Exxon and Mobil stations.

Mobile payments are more secure than card payments, and they ensure faster payment processing, according to WEX. Fleet managers can also use the technology to better control expenses.

“This evolution in fuel cards will provide fleet customers with a faster, more secure, more intuitive payment experience at Shell branded stations,” said Peggy Watson, senior vice president of product and marketing for WEX.

Drivers who use the WEX app can also accrue points through the Fuel Rewards Pro loyalty program.

WEX, which is based in Portland, Maine, acquired Shell’s commercial card portfolio in 2018.

Source: Automotive Fleet

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Today’s vehicles are computers on wheels, and the data they generate is heralding a new era of fleet efficiencies. But forming best practices for controlling, sharing, and monetizing this data — the right way — will take time and necessitates a collaborative effort among stakeholders.

At the 2019 Fleet Forward Conference, a panel discussion titled, “Data Privacy and Controls: Practical Considerations for Fleets, FMCs, and OEMs” takes the data conversation the next step for fleets.

The seminar will focus on data usage governance and how data will be accessed, obtaining driver consents to use their data, providing OEMs with VIN-specific opt-ins, understanding the OEM’s commitments to data privacy, and more.

The panelists are Arun Rajagopalan, founder and CEO of Motorq; Greg Buckland, CIO, LeasePlan USA; and Mark McClung, connected strategy and business development, Toyota Motor North America. Roger Lanctot, director, automotive connective mobility at Strategy Analytics, will moderate the seminar.

“There have been many theoretical discussions on how stakeholders should access and control data from vehicles,” says Chris Brown, executive editor at Bobit Business Media and conference chair. “This seminar takes the conversation the next step into the real-world scenarios all fleets will face.”

This seminar will convene on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 9:30am. The 2019 Fleet Forward Conference will be held Nov. 11-13 at The Forager in San Jose.

Source: Fleet Forward

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