Many upcoming changes are focused on protecting both drivers and equipment, starting with custom-made deer guards. Manager of Fleet Maintenance Chris Holtmeyer says while Prime has had deer guards on its trucks in the past, they started installing a guard specifically engineered for Prime trucks in August 2019. Manufactured by Ex-Guard, a company in Des Moines, Iowa, the updated equipment serves a dual purpose. It keeps drivers safe in the event of a deer strike while also minimizing the damage to the truck.
Prior to having deer guards installed, Holtmeyer says repair costs following a front-end collision could average upward of $10,000. The other purpose is to provide this protection in a package that keeps trucks looking sharp and drivers proud of the rigs they pilot across the country. The guards accomplish both goals and then some. The guards don’t block sensors that help the truck’s collision mitigation system detect a potential hazard, Holtmeyer says. They’re easy to open and look good longer thanks to a special coating designed to prevent corrosion and rust.
In addition to protecting equipment, Holtmeyer says Prime is also working to better protect both trucks and drivers by upgrading the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) in their trucks. The systems are not new in Prime’s trucks, but the integration into the driver’s Omnitracs Qualcomm is. It links a trailer TPMS to the tractor itself and allows drivers and Prime’s back office to receive real-time tire pressure alerts. Holtmeyer says Prime’s tanker division is testing the system and hopes it can help prevent catastrophic issues like tires catching fire due to improper inflation. On a larger scale, Holtmeyer hopes this information can help the industry better understand the impact on environment on tires, which helps Prime better protect its operators’ investments in both tires and fuel.
Holtmeyer says Prime is getting ready to start another upgrade that has drivers in mind. Currently, trucks come with a 1,500-watt inverter, which Holtmeyer says can only power a limited number of devices at one time. The current inverters aren’t backward compatible, Holtmeyer says, meaning an entirely new wiring harness is needed to replace the smaller inverter. All new trucks moving forward will have a larger, 2,000-watt inverter. The extra power will give drivers more flexibility to use more than one appliance or device to make their homes away from home more comfortable.
Read more in the Prime magazine, Prime Ways – Big Looks
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