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Trucker Tools launches two new broker productivity tools



RESTON, Va. — Trucker Tools, which provides Smart Capacity, a shipment visibility, carrier capacity management and predictive freight-matching solution for the transportation industry has launched two new broker productivity tools.

The company is introducing an expanded market-level “real-time heat map” feature, according to Prasad Gollapalli, Trucker Tools founder and CEO.

Today, brokers on Smart Capacity can view a graphical map representing available capacity in a city or region specific to their network of qualified and preferred carriers.

Under the expanded “real time heat map,” brokers now can see not only their own customer-specific network, but also an aggregated, timely view of all loads and all trucks in a city or market region, such as Chicago or Atlanta, Gollapalli said .

“An important distinction with the Smart Capacity heat map, unlike others, is that ours is built on real-time, accurate data,” Gollapalli said. “Our heat map is refreshed and updated constantly, providing the timeliest view of current market status.  That’s a huge value differentiator for our customers.”

Heat maps are a widely-used management tool that illustrate the ratio of available trucks to available loads in a region. Importantly, the Smart Capacity real-time heat map, which presents an aggregated view of the larger overall market, does not display any customer-specific detail on trucks or loads at market level. Gollapalli said this is a key design element whose purpose is to protect and maintain confidentiality for the broker.  It’s a principal value feature of the Smart Capacity platform, which operates as a private, secure network with strong access controls and protocols for ensuring data security and integrity.

The productivity analysis tools provide metrics and data which show average times within a market for all brokers to cover loads. Brokers can then view these market indices, developed with real-time, validated data, and measure their own teams’ performance against an aggregated average, again, for a specific market area, city or region.

Lastly the new feature also enables brokers to measure the same key performance indicators in multiple cities, providing market insights and intelligence that can lead to more efficient staffing and resource allocation from region to region.

“These enhancements were at the top of the list of recommendations that came out of our recent Customer Advisory Board,” Gollapalli said. “The new features are incorporated into the Smart Capacity platform providing predictive freight-matching and carrier and capacity relationship management solutions and are being deployed at no extra charge to customers.”

Gollapalli noted that the expanded heat map helps brokers understand in a timelier manner where they’re out of balance, for example, where they have too many loads and not enough trucks, and vice versa.

“In this case, the heat map would help the broker discover that in a given market, they need to expand their carrier base to cover a rising load count,” he said. “Alternatively, they may discover that they have ample trucks in a market but not enough loads, identifying the need to redirect their sales team to focus on that region and find more loads.”

At the end of the day, the broker wants their sales and operations teams focused on those markets which need the most help, finding more trucks or securing the most profitable loads with preferred carriers in the least amount of time, and keeping preferred carriers busy with repeat loads and reloads, Gollapalli said.

“Our more comprehensive heat map, coupled with the new productivity measurement tools, give brokers fresh, reliable intelligence that allows them to adjust operations and deploy resources to maximize opportunities and efficiencies. You can’t fix what you can’t measure, and these new tools provide the real-time data and metrics to make informed, rapid and accurate decisions that grow revenue and increase profit,” Gollapalli said.

Both feature and function enhancements are currently in beta testing with select customers, with full availability expected by the end of the year.

For more information, visit Trucker Tools at or email


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Minnesota House backs hands-free cellphone rule for driving



Assuming the bill becomes law, Minnesota would become one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that require drivers to use hands-free devices while phoning. (FOTOSEARCH)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota motorists would be required to use hands-free devices when talking on the phone while driving under a bill that passed the state House on Monday night, after sponsors said the measure will cut down on distracted driving and save lives.

The House approved the bill 106-21 with bipartisan support, though a few critics said it doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t include tougher penalties for texting while driving, which is already illegal in Minnesota.

“There’s clear evidence from other states that these types of laws save lives,” Democratic House Speaker Melissa Hortman said at a news conference earlier in the day. “We’ve heard so many heart-wrenching stories from Minnesotans about family members they’ve lost because people are on their smartphones instead of focusing on the road.”

A similar bill working its way through the Senate exempts the manual use of GPS navigation systems. The House bill would limit GPS use while moving to one-touch, voice-activated apps such as Google Maps. The bill’s chief House sponsor, Rep. Frank Hornstein, said he’s confident the differences will get worked out in conference committee, adding that Gov. Tim Walz has indicated that will sign the bill.

Drivers would not need vehicles with built-in Bluetooth wireless systems, Hornstein said. For older cars, he said, hands-free mounts that comply are available online for as little as $9.

The Department of Public Safety says that at least 27 of Minnesota’s approximately 380 traffic deaths last year were related to distractions of all kinds. Experts testified during committee hearings that cellphone use is the fastest-growing distraction, causing a rising number of deaths and injuries.

Assuming the bill becomes law, Minnesota would become one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that require drivers to use hands-free devices while phoning. A separate bill to toughen the state’s existing penalties for texting while driving is working its way through the committee process in the Senate. Hornstein said that bill may get heard in the House later.

Hornstein, a Minneapolis Democrat who chairs the House transportation committee, acknowledged that hands-free does not make phoning while driving completely distraction-free. But he said it would be a “major step forward.”

He sponsored a similar hands-free bill last year, but Hortman said Republican leaders who controlled the House back then would not allow a floor vote because it didn’t have enough GOP support. Democrats won control of the House with the November elections and Hortman became speaker in January.

Karin Ilg, of New Prague, recalled to reporters how her husband, Phil Ilg, was killed when he was struck on his bicycle from behind by a 16-year-old driver who was focused more on her phone than on the road. Ilg said she has been cutting up his bike and handing out small pieces — like one that she held up — to every 16-year-old she can “as a reminder not to text and drive. … The time is now for us to get this going and to have this as law.”

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Canada’s Lion Electric Co. introduces all-electric Class 8 urban truck



The Lion Class 8 vehicle has a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge and boasts “zero emissions” as well as “no noise pollution.” (Photo: Lion)

MARIBEL, Quebec — Canada’s Lion Electric Co. March 11 presented its all-electric Class 8 urban truck, the Lion8, which will be delivered this fall.

The vehicle has a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge and boasts “zero emissions” as well as “no noise pollution.”

Lion also says the truck has an 80 percent energy cost reduction and a 60 percent reduction in operational costs.

Another cost-saving attribute, says the company, is “oil-free operation,” with few moving parts and brakes that last longer because of a regenerative braking system.

It’s also built to withstand Canadian winters and punishing road conditions.

According to Lion, the company has already taken orders for the truck from committed buyers.

Assisting in unveiling the new truck was Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Kansas City Chiefs football player and Lion “ambassador.”

Lion is a manufacturer of zero emission vehicles, including all-electric school buses, paratransit minibuses and urban transportation and commercial trucks.

It’s first vehicle will be delivered to the Société des Alcools du Quebec later this year.

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Diesel Laptops launches virtual diesel technician program



Clients that utilize this program have full, unlimited access to Diesel Laptops’ certified, in-house diesel technicians who are available via phone and live chat and can both remote access the client’s diagnostic tools, and video stream through the end user’s mobile device. (Courtesy: DIESEL LAPTOPS)

GILBERT, S.C. — Diesel Laptops, a distributor of commercial truck diesel diagnostic software, hardware and services, has launched a Virtual Diesel Technician Program.

This program is a first in the commercial truck and off highway industry and is a real solution to the current diesel technician shortage that exists, according to according to Tyler Robertson, CEO of Diesel Laptops.

Clients that utilize this program have full, unlimited access to Diesel Laptops’ certified, in-house diesel technicians who are available via phone and live chat and can both remote access the client’s diagnostic tools, and video stream through the end user’s mobile device.

The program also grants clients access to the wide array of repair information that Diesel Laptops has created.

This repair information includes VIN decoders, labor time guides, repair information on over 70,000 diagnostic fault codes, wiring diagrams, component locators, torque specifications, parts cross referencing, step-by-step repair information, and much more Robertson said.

These applications are provided through traditional desktop applications, along with websites and mobile applications.

“We all know that it is difficult to find qualified technicians,” Robertson said. “We also know it’s difficult for most shops to acquire the resources they need to properly diagnose and repair commercial trucks. The Virtual Diesel Technician Program gives repair shops access to both live, real world diesel technicians and repair information.”

Diesel Laptops is staffed with certified diesel technicians from a variety of industries, and currently handles more than 50,000 customer repair, software, and diagnostic questions every year, Robertson said.

“These are all documented and organized in the company’s database, allowing Diesel Laptops to build the world’s largest database of solutions for known symptoms and diagnostic codes,” he said.

To learn more about the Virtual Diesel Technician Program, including watching an explainer video, visit

Diesel Laptops, founded in 2014, provides specialized diesel diagnostic equipment for the commercial truck, construction, automobile, agriculture, marine, and off-highway markets. Diesel Laptops is the industry leader in diesel diagnostic tools.

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