Traffic data from Drivewyze showing steady volumes, different weigh station policies

Drivewyze has the perspective of what volumes are doing through what it’s seeing at weigh stations and from trucks using its weigh station bypass technology.

“The volumes around the weigh stations have been consistent,” Brian Mofford, vice president of government experience, said of what Drivewyze’s data has been showing. He said Drivewyze has been running comparisons over prior weeks, over several weeks and also over several months, “and the volume has not changed.”

In an update sent to FreightWaves on Tuesday, March 24, a few days after his initial comments, Mofford said the company has been seeing pre-clearance volumes “staying steady, which tells us that at least our Drivewyze customers are keeping steady.”

“We’re seeing an increase in mainline activity and a decrease in ramp counts in some states, which makes sense as enforcement is doing more to keep vehicles on the road,” he added.

While Drivewyze’s primary business is weigh station bypass software that allows trucks to skip weigh stations on the highway, it closely monitors what is going on at the weigh stations. As far as whether the weigh stations are operating, “that is varying from state to state,” Mofford said. In New York, for example, the “scales are working overtime,” based on the most recent reports he has heard. In other states, hours are being changed to reduce staffing. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other changes. Mofford said as a result of social distancing, there are scales where previously, a driver would need to show a permit at the facility. “They may not be doing that,” he said. “What they’re doing is putting the trucks on the scales,” Mofford said. “If enforcement officers see something they don’t like, they’ll inspect it.” 

But Mofford added that enforcement officers are now being “fairly lenient” on oversized vehicles. He also noted that many states have waived their provisions on weight, an act that needs to be taken on the state level rather than through a federal order or waiver. 

“These trucks typically run at capacity,” Mofford said. “So they can haul 80,000 pounds on a normal day.” It usually isn’t necessary for them to run above that, and because of the waivers, “the heavy tankers are permitted to do that anyway.”

Mofford did say that some of the weight figures coming in from the Drivewyze system are higher than average, but “statistically, it’s tough to say. We’re looking at a few days’ worth of data, not weeks’ worth.” What Drivewyze is seeing is relevant, but with more time, “we would start to see deviation more confidently that we can say yes, the volume has changed.”

Mofford said Drivewyze’s data shows some increase in some fleets and decreases in others. Smaller fleets, he said, are not as busy, “but the big carriers more than make up for them numbers-wise,” he said. “They have the lions’ share of the trucks on the road anyway, so we’re not seeing a huge change in that.”

One change Drivewyzye has added to its system is in Pennsylvania, where there are still rest stops that are closed. The company said Tuesday that it is adding “open and closed alerts” to its system as a free service. 

The format will be notifications similar to what the company now does for weigh stations, according to a prepared statement from Drivewyze. While Pennsylvania did roll back some of the closings of rest stops, there still are facilities that are not open. The Keystone State is believed to be the only state with rest stops that are closed due to coronavirus concerns. 

“The rest area notifications will be displayed for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, so long as PennDOT rest area parking is limited,” the company’s statement said. “The notification format will be familiar to drivers already receiving similar Drivewyze safety notifications.”

In his Tuesday note to FreightWaves, Mofford said the company has been getting requests from its “agency partners” to get additional messages out to drivers in their cabs.