What Makes A Great GPS System?

Top-brand commercial geopositioning systems (GPS) should always be linked to constant upgrades and updates. Roads, highway ramps, motels, hotels, fuel stops, eateries, parks and other traveler amenities all change from week to week. Roads close for construction. The Department of Transportation may limit commercial vehicle access on some roads. Exit and merge ramps open and close for construction. Motels, hotels, RV parks, fuel stops, restaurants and cafes all open and close without warning.

GPS units should contain state by state data input that enables drivers to export mileage information to a spreadsheet. This feature would plan best routes for time and distance. This report function should also allow commercial drivers to track toll vs. non-toll miles by state or province for IFTA fuel tax reporting. Owner Operators and Drivers should be able to review data input by quarter or by the day, by state and/or province.

Warning systems on top brands should provide alarms for the distance ahead and be able to report on what is around the corner or down the road. Drivers would then be able to make adjustments for speed or stopping distance way ahead of time. Alerts should include sharp curves, steep hills, speed limit changes, over-speed-limit indicator, state boundaries, road construction, time zone changes, and on/off duty changes.

As drivers are approaching their final destination, address ranges and street names should display on the status bar. Getting there features should zoom to the neighborhood or city as a customization for that trip in that vehicle.

When a driver needs to pull off the road for a brief stop, or is taking an alternate route, units with auto re-route should have pause/resume features to avoid unnecessary GPS activity on the unit. There should also be a quick display of the entire route at a highway level so that drivers are never lost and know in advance which roads they will travel.

The unit should function in several languages like English, Spanish, and French for the North American continent. Text and verbal translations should be available for drivers that use English as a second language to fully benefit from the product. This is a critical business tool for the professional driver.

How helpful can speed limit changes and over-the-limit alarms be for protecting a driver’s livelihood and saving lives? It’s one thing to record this data for the view of the safety manager alone and quite another to make it available to the driver so the professional can take the appropriate action with that same information. Information is empowering and a lack of it results in punitive measures and being treated like an irresponsible child.

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