Free Safety Apps for Consumers and Citizens

Why Free Safety Apps?

Contributed by Kim Thoman, Business Analyst

At Fleetistics, we always tell our customers that our goal is for “Every driver to come home safely every day”. As a business we are primarily focused on fleet vehicles, however safety should be a priority in our everyday lives as well. There are many free safety apps available, both crowd sourced and commercially sponsored.  We selected three to test and review for our readers.

SaferCar – Free Safety App for Vehicle Recalls

SaferCar for iPhone

iPhone QR Code

SaferCar on Google Play

Android QR Code

Did you know that one in four vehicles on the road has an unrepaired recall? That is a huge safety risk. If one of your vehicles has a recall, wouldn’t you like to know exactly what it is and what the next steps are? The SaferCar App keeps consumers aware of the latest information about recalls which is a top priority for the National Highway, Transportation and Safety Administration, NHTSA.

After you download the SaferCar free safety app, you have the ability to set up your virtual garage. You can add as many vehicles as you like as well as related equipment like tires, trailers and car seats. Once the information is entered you can enable notification for all related recalls.  It will even point you to local dealerships handling vehicle repairs so you can make the necessary appointments and get it fixed for free.

NHTSA’s mission is focused on consumer safety, but they are also determined to protect your privacy. There are no sales gimmicks, and your information remains completely private. The SaferCar app not only keeps you safe, it’s also secure. After testing this app we would recommend it to all consumers.

SaferCar Free Safety App

Recall Alert & Safety News Notification

Recall Alert for iPhone

iPhone QR Code

Recall Alert on Google Play

Android QR Code

Our next featured free safety app is Recall Alert and Safety News Notifications. If you want to know about every product recall everywhere on earth this is a great app.  It is not necessarily the right app if you are only interested in local recalls that affect you personally.  If your profession requires that you stay on top of all kinds of product safety issues, this is the app to have, but an update alert on taco dip trays and platters at 3:00 am is a bit over the top for most of our interests.

The app allows for search by category like Toys, Furniture, Vehicles, and Medical. Ultimately, there is great value in consulting the app prior to purchasing items to verify there are no recalls.  On the other hand, it delivers far too much information for the average busy person to consume.  Without any settings to filter the alerts to specific areas of interest, we found it to be annoying.  If only the alerts could be filtered effectively it would be a 5 star app.

Recall Alert Free Safety App

PubSafe by Aftermath Data

apple app store
PubSafe for iPhone

iPhone QR Code

google play store
PubSafe on Google Play

Android QR Code

PubSafe by Aftermath Data is a global community ready to help others.  It allows users to give help, get help, and share information in real-time. It is the world’s only network for citizens by citizens.  Furthermore it is available to governments and non-government relief and rescue organizations.

Simply put the PubSafe mobile app facilitates real-time information sharing with other users. Users in the area are alerted when a help or emergency is posted. Additionally, users can report the location of animals in need or rescue. If a flood is imminent and you need help moving horses, post a help request. The opportunity to help others is endless and PubSafe connects people effectively and efficiently with integrated maps.

Key App Features

DESIGNED FOR CITIZENS

  • Map information for situation awareness and rapid response
  • Enable neighbors to help each other
  • Every citizen is a source of information for the collective effort
  • Volunteer NGOs and SAR team rescues
  • Churches & non-profit targeted relief
  • Government 911 overflow and situational awareness
  • Animal rescue groups
FEATURES

  • Share your last known location
  • Active shooter alert
  • Share updates on the situation in your area
  • Request help and give help to people and animals
  • Map and update shelters and NGO staging area
  • Post emergencies – Rooftop flood rescue, active shooter
  • Share data for research to improve large scale response
  • Share video & images with first responders and animal rescue teams
  • Log volunteer hours for FEMA reimbursement

Citizen damage assessments

PubSafe Free Safety App
We highly recommend PubSafe by Aftermath Data and encourage you to install now to be ready when the unexpected occurs.  Considering the massive winter storms we have experienced this season, another hurricane season right around the corner, and who knows what direction the COVID pandemic could turn, it just makes sense for citizens to be ready and able to work together to get help to those who need it.
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Optimized Routing Generates Huge Impact – Video Post

Optimized Routing can be the game changer your company is looking for.

Enjoy our two part discussion about optimized routing with Sean Stenson.  Each part runs about 15 minutes.  We asked Sean some tough questions to get you the answers you are looking for.  Learn how automating your routing process can be a game changer.

Call Fleetistics today to arrange a consultation and demo.

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6 Ways DashCam Investment Pays Off

DashCam Investment Can Reduce Insurance Cost in Many Ways

It is no mystery that video footage will have a major impact in the event your driver is involved in an accident.  Four of the six ways on our list are clearly related to managing risk and reducing insurance related costs.

1. Some commercial insurers offer a direct discount for having dahscams. Dash cams reduce overall risk and streamline the claims process resulting in lower premiums.

2. Protection from false claims against your drivers. Many damage claims are based on one person’s word against another. DashCam recordings of events can shut that down in a hurry.

3. Protection from staged crash claims is another benefit. Commercial trucks are often the targets of criminals staging crashes or personal injury incidents because commercial pockets tend to be deeper than individuals, and some commercial trucks follow a predictable routine. DashCam footage proves what really happened.

4. Having video footage speeds up the claims process resulting in less vehicle down time, quicker reimbursement, and less time spent “testifying”. All of these present additional ROI.

DashCam Investment Contributes to Accident Prevention

5. DashCams help you to prevent future collisions by identifying & correcting distracted driving behavior through event triggered video captures.  Fewer accidents also mean fewer premium increases, but that is just the beginning. The cost of an accident adds up fast.  Bent metal, damaged goods, vehicle down time, employee down time and injury related costs, services/stops missed, and potential litigation top the list.   It is not uncommon for the final cost of a commercial vehicle collision to exceed $100,000.

Check Out CrewChief™ Today!

CrewChief - dashcam

DashCam Investment for Improved Supervision

6. Often overlooked by management is Driving Attitude. Why?  Because they have no way to know unless they ride with the driver, OR, have dashcams.  Honestly, in cab footage can be uncomfortable to view, but it offers insight into much more than if a driver is smoking in the vehicle or using his cell phone.  A driver with a great attitude looks a lot different on camera than a driver with a bad attitude.  When I see video of a driver who is calm and collected, smiling, sometimes singing along with the radio, I think yes, he enjoys his job and I want a driver like that to deliver my goods and services.  When I see video of a driver who looks angry with the world or makes inappropriate hand gestures at others, even the one who is rocking out – more focused on the music playing than the job at hand, I think wow, hope they never send that one to my door.

What Are the Signs?

From a business perspective, knowing who to encourage is just as important as knowing who to counsel.  And there is scientific data to support that attitude affects driving behavior.  According to Science Direct, “Hazard response times and eye tracking data suggest sadness can have a negative impact on driving behavior.”  Your odds of getting in a collision are 10 times higher when you’re angry or sad, according to Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute.  Notice in the video below from our CrewChief™ DashCam, the driver’s expression during the harsh braking event as it starts and the hard turning event at about 20 seconds.

We can all relate to the fact that driving while upset or angry will bring out aggressive driving habits.  We are not suggesting that you spend a lot of time evaluating in cab driver footage, but noticing the body language that indicates attitude during your routine review of event triggered video could help you to identify drivers that need some coaching or encouragement.  Over time a Manager can learn a lot about a driver’s strengths and weaknesses by viewing the in cab video.  Also, if you are concerned there might be issues with a driver, a quick review of in cab footage may give you some perspective regarding those concerns.

How Will Your DashCam Investment Pay Off?

DashCams certainly provide the measurable dollar ROI, but they can also be used to capture the more elusive human ROI.  By better understanding through video things like job satisfaction, driver loyalty, anger issues, depression, and customer satisfaction skills, management can “get to know” employees that they have little personal contact with.   That may be the greatest ROI of all.

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Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels

Instant Pot Cooking on the Road

Instant Pot cooking would not seem to be an appropriate post for a fleet management blog, but all is not what it seems to be.  Before we are done we will touch on driver safety, morale, health, giving back to the community, and return on investment.

I first heard about Randy from a co-worker that belongs to a Facebook group that he is active in.  His story peaked my interest so I contacted him to learn more.  He quickly agreed to do an interview.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Introducing Randy

Randy drives a 2020 Peterbilt for Western Distributing in Colorado.  He used to prepare his meals using a lunch box oven as many truckers do.  That, and fast food are what truckers are often stuck with due to the demands of their work.  He could not make pasta or rice, and the lunch box oven is not the greatest way to prepare vegetables.  He was very limited in what he could prepare in it and found himself bored with the limited menu.  Meals took a long time to prepare and were not very appetizing.

Randy's Kitchen
Randy Garza

Typical Lunchbox Ovens Used by Truckers

typical lunch box oven

All of that changed when his sister gave him an early Christmas gift in Colorado around November 25th of last year, his first Instant Pot.   He picked up an inverter in Las Vegas, installed the inverter in Guymon, OK, and finally used his Instant Pot around December 2nd or 3rd.  The first meal he cooked was spaghetti, something that just can’t be done in a lunch box oven.

Now he uses it daily and has added more Instant Pot products to his in cab home. He can cook just about anything with his collection that includes the dual lid for air frying, another 3 quart Instant Pot, an Instant Vortex Plus and an Ace Nova blender.

Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels
Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels
Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels

Real Meals on 18 Wheels

Randy told me he eats healthier and life is easier with the Instant Pot appliances.  He can cook almost anything on the road.  His favorite is making pancakes on sauté. He stocks up on produce every few days and meat weekly.  The hardest part he says is parking his tractor-trailer at the grocery store.

Instant Pot products have saved him time and money while expanding his diet to include pretty much anything at all. He can pressure cook, air fry, bake, steam, roast, sauté, and even make soup.  With so many homeless people on the road, he gets great satisfaction doing little things like baking a cake or providing a meal for a homeless person in need.

Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels
Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels
Instant Pot Meals on 18 Wheels

Healthier Drivers are Safer Drivers

What impresses me most is Randy’s desire to change the way people eat.  He believes that when drivers eat healthier and get a wider variety of fresh foods, they will be stronger, happier and more alert, making the road a healthier and more comfortable workplace for truckers and a safer place for all of us.
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MyGeotab Release 2101

MyGeotab Release 2101 Update

MyGeotab release 2101 includes a new and improved look and feel.  Changes in colors, fonts and icons focus your attention on what is most important and impart information quickly.  Many of the improvements are things we have been asking for, and we are especially excited to show you what is coming soon.  It is a lot to take in, so we have used quite a few GIF images to tell the story.  These updates should be rolled out toward the end of May 2021.

Some of the enhancements are available now to users who have feature preview turned on.  To select the feature preview option, follow the instructions at this link (click here).

Expect to see design changes on these components.

  • HOS Logs and HOS Availability pages
  • Charging events
  • Updated logo and favicon to use accessible colors
  • Maintenance and Reminder Rule Add/Edit
  • Report pages
  • User options
  • Vehicle Edit page
  • User Edit page

New to Vehicles in Release 2101

Finally, users will be able to add vehicles without an associated device serial number.  You can add vehicles as they are acquired and update with a device serial number when you are ready to install the devices.  This allows you to organize in groups, add license plate info, and assign appropriate maintenance reminders in advance.  You can also add assets that you may not need a tracking device for, but would like to do inspections or set maintenance reminders for.

To be able to sort based on this new functionality, three new statuses and icons will display on the Vehicles page.

  • Active with a tracking device
  • Active without a tracking device
  • Archived
New Vehicle Icons in Release 2101

Streamlined process for install records

Previously, Customers who employed Installers and used one of the installation websites  had to navigate to a specific page to review new installation records and manually update the vehicle name, license plate and other information. Customers will now receive a prompt when there are new installation records, and can update the vehicle information using an Accept All button.

Device Data Streaming

With Data Streaming, Administrators can send share requests to partners they work closely with, and partners can subscribe to Data Streams that make sense for their business. Subscriptions are available on Base, Regulatory, Pro, and ProPlus rate plans, with easy billing that begins as soon as a share request is accepted.  For more information on Data Streaming, stay tuned for Blog updates and training announcements. You can also email multistreaming@geotab.com.

New on the Map in MyGeotab Release 2101

Vehicle and Driver Label Options

Large fleets have wanted for a long time to be able to choose when vehicle names and driver names are displayed on the map to reduce clutter.  Now you will be able to do just that. Easily add or remove the labels with a click.

New in Release 2101, Show Hide Labels on the Map

My Location Enhancement

If you used the MyLocation button in the past you may have wondered if it was working, as it only took you to the general area.  In MyGeotab Release 2102 it will identify your actual location with a blue circle.  This is a great tool to see where assets are in relation to where you are.

My Location

New Replay Feature Added to Map Options

This new feature allows you to replay trips for single or multiple vehicles adding visual insight to how the driver’s trip progressed. For example, you can focus on and replay parts of the trip there were delays or exception events to better understand what occured.

Route Replay in MyGeotab Release 2101

View Previous Trip & Current Position Together

You can now view the vehicles’ previous trip as well as the vehicles’ current position on the map.  This feature adds context to the current location by helping users to understand the vehicles progress.

New Administrative Features in MyGeotab Release 2101

Emailed Reports to Individual Users

Sceduling reports to be sent to individual users a convenience we have long awaited.  In MyGeotab Release 2101 you can still create a group and send to everyone in it, but now you can also choose an individual user to receive scheduled reports.  This will be a real time saver for administrators.

Select AND or OR Logic in the Groups Filter In Feature Preview

Previously the OR function was the only available operator.  Now, if you need to see just the tractors in your eastern branch, you will be able to select the AND function to refine your search.

AND OR Operators in MyGeotab Release 2101

Reprocess Data for Selected Rules Only

You can now select just the rules you want when requesting a reprocess of data. Previously, the system would evaluate all the rules in your database for the specified time period. Geotab heard our concerns that after a full reprocess of data, genuine exceptions are erased.

For example, an exception event is generated when a driver speeds in a construction zone. Then, later in the year — when the construction is completed — the speed limit reverts to the original posted road speed. In cases like this, when the data is reprocessed, some exception events are removed since the system now evaluates the rule against the current posted road speed. The ability to select specific rules when reprocessing data, preserves your data to avoid similar situations.

Reprocess Data Options in Release 2101

Inside Any Added to Event Types for Zone Rules In Feature Preview

The Inside Any event type generates a separate exception event for each zone when a driver drives through a cluster of zones — either overlapping or in close proximity to each other — with the same zone type.  Previously a separate rule for each zone was required to achieve this result.

Set Truck Specific Speed Limits

On some roads there are different speed limits enforced for heavy duty trucks than for passenger vehicles.  This new feature allows fleet managers to apply truck-specific speed limits based on posted road speeds for trucks.

In addition, adding truck speed limits to a group rather than on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis saves you time and automatically applies the rule to any fleet vehicles added at a later time. You can set up truck-specific speed limits using the rules page. Under Conditions, click the Add speed limit button then toggle Truck speed limit to Yes.

Speeding exception reports will use truck-specific speed limits for vehicles in groups that have opted to use this. When exceptions are calculated against truck-specific speed limits, the application indicates the maximum truck speed limit for your convenience.

Where there is a custom speed limit for trucks on a specific road segment, the map can be updated as well. Click the road segment on the map to view the general posted speed limit (left) and the truck-specific speed limit (right). To update either speed limit, select Update posted road speed from the list.

 

Maintenance Reminders in MyGeotab Release 2101

Improved Functionality & a Fresh New Look In Feature Preview

Tracking maintenance is easier than ever in MyGeotab Release 2101.  A new bulk import feature allow you to easily add previous maintenance records.  Of course you can still schedule preventive maintenance, receive reminders about upcoming and overdue maintenance and log completed maintenance. All of these features come with a new and improved, simple, easy-to-use UI and intuitive user experience. Currently these updates to Maintenance & Reminder features are only available in feature preview.

 

View All Reminder Rules in One Place

The Maintenance Reminder Setup page makes it easier to view all scheduled maintenance reminders in a single place. For each maintenance reminder, you can also view the following details: maintenance type, repeat frequency and number of vehicles. To access the list of scheduled maintenance reminders, go to Engine & Maintenance > Maintenance > Reminder Setup from the main menu.  From there select Add Reminder to quickly and easily add new reminders and assign vehicles to them.

 

Manage Upcoming Maintenance

Manage your maintenance schedule on the new and improved Upcoming Maintenance page! Enjoy handy filter and sorting tools for vehicle, maintenance type, status and reminders to help you find what you need fast, while avoiding overdue maintenance events. You will find this page under Engine & Maintenance > Maintenance > Upcoming.  Once there you can easily add comments and details to log completed maintenance events, add a new maintenance event that was not prompted by a reminder, and view your completed maintenance records.

Import Your Maintenance History

You will now be able to import your existing maintenance records into MyGeotab to have everything in one place. Keep a complete history of vehicle maintenance in one convenient location.  Geotab will provide a downloadable Excel template.  Just follow the instructions provided, and upload your records using the Bulk Import tool.

MyGeotab Release 2101 adds Bulk Import Maintenance Records

Last, but not least… An easy new way to unlock user accounts

We have all received that call from a user who has exceeded their login attempts and can’t log in.  Now the administrator will be able to visit the Users page, click the lock icon beside the user, then click the Unlock button.

Unlock User Account