Less than one year after launching their iOS app, Waterloo-based trucking fleet mobile app developers BigRoad are celebrating an American regulatory victory. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued a guidance stating that the kind of electronic logbooks and electronic signatures in which the company specializes are perfectly legal, qualifying for records of duty (RODS) compliance status.
“This is a huge victory for drivers who boldly took the road with our innovative smartphone technology for electronic logs and risked citations because of ambiguous regulations,” said Terry Frey, co-founder and COO of BigRoad. “We salute all those early pioneers.”
The company was founded in April 2011 by CEO Kelly Frey and CTO Dan Collens. Funding was raised eight months later through Laurence Capital.
BigRoad’s app helps drivers and fleet managers track hours-of-service and daily logs which inspectors can verify directly by looking at the screen of a driver’s phone. It also just generally smoothes out and consolidates the dog’s breakfast of regulatory hoops and documents that trucking fleet employees and long-haul drivers had to contend with previously, on top of pushing their physical boundaries working long stretches on the road.
“The FMCSA’s guidance recognizes the legitimate interest of the small fleets and owner-operators who represent our membership,” says David Owen, president of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies. “This guidance will allow all of us to move off paper logs and adopt new low-cost technology producing error-free electronic ‘paperwork.’”
BigRoad, in a blog post celebrating the FMCSA ruling, describes the lengthy journey towards institutional acceptance as a process of educating Department of Transport officials, inspectors, and regional enforcement officers on a state by state basis, through one-on-one meetings and webinars.
BigRoad’s app incorporates the kind of regulatory documentation that truckers are normally required to produce for inspectors, including driver hours-of-service, job status, vehicle inspection histories, mileage reporting and real-time messaging and document exchange between drivers and fleet managers.
The FMCSA guidance clarifies that while a trucker or fleet employee is required to produce a paper copy on demand if directly requested to do so, it is (and has always been) perfectly legal to keep electronic logbooks for visual inspection, eyeballing only the smartphone, eliminating the often costly and time-consuming need for paperwork.
The company estimates that use of their app saves between $20 and $80 per driver on faxes alone, previously demanded by roadside inspectors and auditors.
BigRoad’s app, which is free to use for drivers and $15 per user per month for fleets, has been downloaded more than 160,000 times from the Google Play and Apple App stores, with approximately 1,900 fleets using the app.