With all but two U.S. states wired for weigh station bypass technology, the fight now for market share shifts to Canada, where Drivewyze just added Newfoundland and Labrador to its network.
Drivewyze announced earlier this month that it had signed up the province for its PreClear bypass system, replacing conventional requirements that drivers pull their trucks in to weigh stations.
Bypass technology provides a weigh station a data stream of the driver and truck’s safety and maintenance history, which can then send back to the truck a message that it is cleared to pass the location without stopping.
Brian Mofford, Drivewyze’s vice president of government experience, told FreightWaves in an interview that getting weigh station bypass into Canada “has been a challenge for a while.” Drivewyze does have the technology in place in Ontario and Alberta.
Weigh station bypass technology has two significant players: Drivewyze and PrePass. The battle between them can be fierce, but it is rare that virgin territory opens up for competition.
Queries to PrePass were not responded to by publication time.
According to Mofford, the only states that are not operating weigh station bypass technology are Georgia and New York.
He said New York is part of the Norpass system — a cooperative agreement among states on weigh station bypass that also partners with Drivewyze and PrePass — but that its system is not operative.
Drivewyze is in 44 states, though many states work both with Drivewyze and PrePass. With the market in the U.S. saturated and with both systems in place in numerous locations, it means the Canadian provinces that are up for grabs are hot areas for organic growth.
Without weigh station technology, Mofford said, “if you’re driving back and forth past a weigh station several times a day, and you go past one particular weigh station, there’s no way for you to share your information upfront.” The result then is the need to pull in to the weigh station on each of those trips, since the normal process of the technology being able to provide safety clearance and avoidance of the weigh station stop would not be available.
Eliminating that requirement — as Mofford said, a driver might see a weigh station attendant three or four times in a single day — was a key motivation on the part of Newfoundland to move to bypass technology.
While weigh-in-motion (WIM) technology can be part of weigh station bypass services, where various technology tools can “weigh” a vehicle, WIM is not part of the Drivewyze deal with Newfoundland, Mofford said.
He hinted that the Newfoundland deal might kick off other contractual agreements in Canada soon. “We think we’re going to have some exciting announcements coming up with additional provinces,” he said. “Conversations” have started with all the provinces, he said.
“I think the challenge with turning on new provinces has not necessarily been just about the competition side of the business or whether or not it makes sense to do business in Canada,” Mofford said. “It’s just about the process of how to turn it on, how to make it work in Canada and to integrate with all these different data systems.”
In Canada, according to Mofford, the problem is that there is no Canadian equivalent of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Each province maintains its own safety records, which could limit the impact of the technology if a province doesn’t know the history of a vehicle from another region.
Mofford said the data is “not freely shared” among provinces, “but it’s something that we’re kind of helping to bridge the gap now.” With three provinces signed up, Mofford said Drivewyze can provide that safety data in each of those regions so that the bypass technology can draw on a wider base of information than what is available from the home province.
Mofford would not offer a specific timeline on how long discussions had been ongoing with Newfoundland. “We review our technology with them and try to find a way for it to be a fit for their particular program,” he said. “I think in the case of Newfoundland, it’s always been something of interest, and just finding a way forward with each agency can be totally different.”
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