Driver turnover, long a problem for most over-the-road trucking fleets, has become critical as the economy expands, and fleets are becoming ever more innovative to keep their seats filled.
One area being targeted is the quality of life on the road.
Cargo Transporters, Claremont, N.C., recently began installing an in-cab satellite TV system from EpicVue in some of its trucks. The early results have been encouraging, according to the carrier.
“Driver feedback has been great,” says John Pope, Cargo Transporters’ chairman of the board. He compared the response to when the company added satellite radio to its trucks.
“EpicVue has given our drivers a means of staying fully connected with news and entertainment while they are away from home,” he says. “When they are trying to unwind after a day of driving, it’s a simple flip of a switch to tune into the news or their favorite program. They also have the ability to record programs to their DVR while they are parked so they can watch those at a later time or on their own schedule.”
EpicVue’s service for fleets includes a 24-inch flat screen TV, a DVR, an off-air antenna used to pick up local channels and a ruggedized satellite antenna to be installed on the rear or the top of the cab.
The satellite package features more than 100 channels of DirecTV programing, including premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax, Showtime and the NFL Sunday Ticket. It is offered through a monthly subscription fee without any upfront hardware costs.
The company initially ordered 20 TV packages to gauge the ease of use and installation, according to a press release from EpicVue, which added that the driver response was so positive that the carrier ordered 70 more packages.
Currently, the TV package is priced at $49 per month per truck under a five-year contract for fleets of 20 or more trucks or for $59 per month with a three-year contract.
As for determining a return on investment for such services, “We don’t have a hard and fast ROI for technology,” Pope says. “Due to the complexities of impact on the driver, public safety or operations, we generally take a number things into account.”
Cargo Transporters has long been at the forefront in implementing various technologies aimed at a safer, more efficient and more comfortable driving experience, Pope says. These systems include Omnitracs mobile computing devices, electronic hours of service, adaptive cruise control, event video recorders, collision avoidance systems, lane departure warning systems, roll stability control, integrated navigation, and a fuel stop locator.