Three Arka Express tractor-trailers, Freightliner, Volvo, and Peterbilt

Arka Express, with 650 trucks and 1800 trailers, believes investing in drivers and technology are among the keys to its success.

Photo: Arka Express

There are thousands of trucking companies out there. How do you stand out? For Igor Naumov, the safety director at Illinois-based carrier Arka Express, it all starts with the drivers — and it's enhanced with technology.

The company runs east of the Mississippi and works with some of the largest retailers in the U.S., including Target, Walmart, and Home Depot. Since it was founded with a few trucks in 2007, Arka Express has grown to become a 650-truck fleet with 1,800 trailers. Over the years, it has developed a reputation of being a reliable and safe transportation provider.

Arka and its competitors may “run the same states, maybe one has Kenworths, the other has Volvos,” Naumov says, but the secret to success is “how you treat your drivers — they are your most valuable resource.”

Happy drivers are more likely to be safer drivers and provide better customer service.

Arka Express drivers appreciate aspects such as regional-haul trucking routes, drop-and-hook freight, medical benefits, vacation time, and no forced dispatch.

And, Naumov says, the company invests in technologies that improve drivers’ lives, such as crash avoidance and other advanced driver assist systems, in-cab technologies, wi-fi hotspots, and weigh-station bypass.

Navigating the 3G Sunset

Arka Express Fleet Snapshot

Who: Arka Express

Where: Markham, Illinois

Fleet: 650 trucks

Operations: Truckload and dedicated east of the Mississippi

Challenge: Bridge strikes and rollovers, weigh station bypass

Fun Fact: Arka Express was one of a coalition of trucking companies that founded Trucking & Logistics Professionals for Ukraine, which has raised more than $2.5 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia in 2022.

When the 3G cellular network was being sunset in 2021, Arka Express made a choice to start using its own mobile devices with Samsara, instead of the Omnitracs devices it had been using for electronic logs and other in-cab communication.

One problem, however, was that the weigh-station bypass provider it was using at the time, Drivewyze, did not have an integration with Samsara.

There are only two players in the weigh-station bypass market, Naumov noted, so Arka switched to PrePass, which said it would soon have a Samsara integration.

However, Arka Express did not find the PrePass transponder-based system as easy to use as the app-based Drivewyze system, and the promised Samsara integration did not appear. At the beginning of 2023, Arka switched back to Drivewyze, which by this point did have a Samsara integration.

With its GPS geofencing-based bypass product, Drivewyze did not require the transponders that Arka found frustrating. Data about the company and trucks flows seamlessly between the two systems.

Safety Alerts a ‘Game-Changer for Drivers’

On top of the weigh-station bypass, Naumov said drivers appreciate additional Drivewyze features. One of them is Safety+, which he calls "a complete game-changer for the drivers."

The Drivewyze Safety+ system gives drivers safety notifications as they near dangerous curves, low bridges, steep mountain grades, as well as sudden slowdowns, and upcoming work zones in select states. Visual messages, such as “high rollover,” and “sudden slowdown ahead,” are displayed along with an audible chime.

“It’s brilliant,” Naumov says. “Right now, our drivers stay aware of weather alerts, speeding zones, high susceptible rollover zones, low-clearance bridges.”

With Arka Express based in Chicagoland, which is notorious for its low-clearance bridges, this feature quickly proved its worth. Since starting use of the safety alerts, Naumov says, the fleet’s low-clearance accidents have been cut in half.

The two crashes that did happen?

“One of the drivers did not turn on his Drivewyze; the other was low branches on trees.”

In-cab tablet showing low bridge ahead alert

In-cab low-clearance bridge alerts have cut Arka Express low-clearance accidents in half.

Photo: Drivewyze

Preventing Truck Rollover Crashes

In recent years, Arka Express experienced multiple truck rollover events, so eliminating these types of crashes was a goal for the company.

“When you factor in vehicle repairs or replacement, insurance, downtime, and other costs associated with a rollover event, it can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Naumov says.

“If a driver is unfamiliar with the roads they’re traveling on, these curves can sneak up — and by the time they try to reduce their speed, it can be too late.

“Since we began using the service, we haven’t experienced a rollover event. Before, we would have at least two a year. I believe it’s the professionalism of our drivers multiplied by the Drivewyze notifications.”

Saving Time, Reducing Driver Stress

The Drivewyze app also reduces the level of stress for drivers, Naumov says, and avoids wasted time at inspection stations. The bypass notifications to the driver are easy to see on the tablet on the dashboard.

“One of the most important factors is the reduction in the downtime and idling time you spend at the [weigh] stations,” he explains. “Usually [inspections] last 15 minutes to an hour and a half. Whenever you have the opportunity to bypass… and it saves the available [driving] time of your driver, they can keep driving.”

In one of Arka Express’s recent monthly reports, the 370 trucks with Drivewyze PreClear bypassed close to 4,000 weigh station sites, an average of 11 bypasses per truck. According to Drivewyze, that cut the time drivers spent at weigh stations by approximately 329 hours for an estimated $34,000 in operating costs.

And less idling saves on fuel costs as well.

Arka Express tractor-trailer on the highway

From drop-and-hook freight to weigh station bypass, Arka Express tries to make its truck drivers' lives easier, safer, and more productive.

Photo: Arka Express

Arka Express Truck Drivers Operate More Safely

According to Naumov, through the Drivewye Hub, Arka Express also can access data on how individual drivers are adjusting their driving behavior after they receive an alert. The company can identify fleet safety trends, including benchmarking how it compares to other fleets using the service.

“We know these safety alerts are having a positive impact on drivers, because the data is showing that when drivers receive an alert, for example of a high-rollover curve, they’re reducing their speeds more than they would if they didn’t get the notification,” Naumov says.

Other alerts that come with Safety+ also benefit drivers, such as rest area alerts that inform drivers of upcoming parking availability at rest areas and other parking centers in some states.

Whether it's a driver app, the latest truck safety technology, or pay and benefits, Naumov says, “It should be only the best, what you offer to a driver.”

About the author
Deborah Lockridge

Deborah Lockridge

Editor and Associate Publisher

Reporting on trucking since 1990, Deborah is known for her award-winning magazine editorials and in-depth features on diverse issues, from the driver shortage to maintenance to rapidly changing technology.

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