360SmartView, as HELP calls it, uses cameras to read the license plate and DOT number of a truck. The identification is wirelessly filtered through some 90 databases, including the PrePass system, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Safety and Fitness Electronic Records and the National Crime Information Center, and the results are downloaded to the inspecting officer.
This gives the inspector a heads-up on any shortcomings in the truck or driver, says Rick Clasby, president and CEO of HELP. "It helps focus resources on the bad carriers, and it improves the efficiency of the enforcement system."
The system is being pilot-tested in Montana and Florida, and HELP is developing a business model that will make the $1 million cost manageable by the states.
He sees SmartView as the next step from the PrePass services HELP has been offering for the past 15 years.
PrePass is an automatic identification system for carriers that have been vetted for safety and are equipped with a transponder that clears them to bypass weigh stations and state ports of entry.
PrePass is now available in 31 states. Almost 35,000 carriers and more than 425,000 trucks are enrolled, and Clasby sees considerable growth potential. The market for PrePass services ranges up to 100,000 carriers and 850,000 trucks, Clasby says.
In the future, HELP expects to migrate from its current 915 MHz communications protocol to the more robust 5.9 GHz standard.
"It offers a bigger bandwidth, more functions and more speed," he says. A pilot project for the 5.9 GHz system will get underway this summer in Indiana.
HELP is a not-for-profit public-private partnership. Its partners include federal agencies such as FMCSA, and industry organizations such as state and national trucking associations.
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