Omnitracs' Road Ahead blog

Vehicle Idling Solutions for Your Fleet

Due to bad habits and outdated beliefs, trucks idle for 40-60% of their working lives. Inattention to idling increases costs and shortens engine life — inefficiencies that are ultimately passed on to consumers.

However, there are a variety of vehicle idling solutions out there. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few of the vehicle idling solutions for your fleet.

Solution #1: Power Sources

There are plenty of other power sources your truck could use when it’s not in use. Many newer trucks have small auxiliary power units (APUs) already installed and included in the purchase price. For older vehicles, installing after-market APUs is possible and should be investigated.

Using hybrid technology vehicles is another option. They are designed to shut down the engine when stopped – even when stopped in traffic – which is the most challenging segment of idling time to eliminate.

Some conventional vehicles also include start-stop systems to shut off the engine when it would otherwise idle. These are usually set to shut down the engine after five minutes of idling, but in practice, some are unreliable and can be easily bypassed by a driver.

Solution #2: Driver Rewards Programs

A little incentive never hurts. Having a driver awareness or rewards program to encourage voluntary idling reduction can be very effective.

  • First, it makes drivers aware that idling is an issue that needs to be corrected.
  • Second, adding a little reward behind it may make the drivers more likely to comply.

Solution #3: Telematics

When you get a telematics platform to track your vehicles, you get a direct connection to the engine to track engine idling in real-time. Tracking your vehicles allows you to get a direct connection to your truck and your driver. It’s much easier to reduce idling when you can track it in real-time.

But Which Idling Solution Is the Best?

Each of the methods above can help you achieve your goal of reduced idling. But they all have their challenges — and costs:

  • Enthusiastic driver participation is hard to achieve.
  • Data collection for intensive time/distance studies takes time.
  • Procuring new vehicles is expensive and takes time to execute.
  • Changing driver behavior is difficult and would be based on direct driver observation by already too-busy driver management.

The best method that gets you close to solving the idling problem is using telematics. You can make a dent by getting new trucks or getting your drivers to try to stop idling, but only telematics will you give the data you need to know, namely, how much idling is occurring, and what drivers and which trucks are idling the most.

There is no way to know this without telematics since this comprehensive data tells you precisely what each vehicle is doing and which driver is associated with which vehicle for the day.

Using Telematics From Omnitracs

Omnitracs telematics combines GPS-based onboard monitoring and engine diagnostics with easy-to-use mapping and reporting software to track operating and usage parameters, including engine faults and idling time. The result is a clear picture of your fleet’s risk, productivity, and maintenance status — and a clear path toward improvement.

By using an “Idle Alert” in your trucks, you should be able to reduce idle time by 10 to 20 percent within a short time frame. This often occurs with very little management intervention or company standards in place because the drivers who idle the most will self-correct rapidly. As noted earlier, idling can be tracked at the truck level and is associated with a specific driver.

Reducing Idling With Omnitracs Telematics

With telematics from Omnitracs, along with a driver behavior program, you can easily drive excess idling out. You will have all the data you need to make the right decisions since telematics tracks current and historical activity. You can monitor daily activity and see trends or problem spots over weeks, months, and years.

Telematics also allows you to see your routes in real-time with GPS tracking, manage by exceptions, and make sure your route plan is optimized. Information on where your drivers are, when they will make deliveries, and if they make changes to route plans is critical to optimal management. Learn how you can start using telematics from Omnitracs by exploring our solutions or giving us a call.