A Course on GPS Trackers


Many Class 1-8 work trucks are now equipped with GPS tracking. In part one of this two-part article, we’ll explore the importance of these devices, what they can do for fleets, and why it’s important for companies to feel more at ease when considering them.


A GPS tracker is a device that stores information about its location. It typically transmits the location to a map or other display screen on a regular basis. The two most common types of GPS trackers are ones that use satellites and cellular networks to transmit their data.

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A GPS tracker can be hardwired or plugged into the truck’s power outlet. The benefit of hardwiring is that you won’t have to worry about disconnections or tampering. However, it typically requires professional installation. Permanently wiring your GPS tracker also requires you to ensure it is properly located so that it doesn’t get damaged if the truck crashes or tips over.

GPS trackers that plug into the OBDII port of a vehicle are easier and faster to install. This also allows you to unplug and move the tracker from truck to truck as needed. The downside is if the device isn’t properly installed or gets disconnected, it won’t work.


The type of tracking you require should be your main consideration when purchasing a GPS tracker. There are three types of tracking that determine how the device works and, ultimately, what type you’ll be able to use:

Live-real Time Tracking

This is the most advanced level of tracking offered by any GPS system company. With live-real time tracking, you get to see the exact location of your vehicle on a map in real time. You also have access to historical tracking information for analysis purposes. Most live-real time trackers are offered with cellular and satellite tracking. With a cellular unit, you can keep an eye on your truck remotely. Additionally, satellite tracking offers great versatility, especially when you have remote locations where cellular service may be poor or nonexistent.

Historical Tracking

With historical tracking, you can view your truck’s location, speed, and other information from past trips in addition to its current trip. Historical GPS data is very useful for fleet managers who want to see how drivers perform on different routes. You can also see if drivers speed or frequent certain locations too often and take action to ensure the driver adheres to your company’s guidelines.

Real-time Tracking

Real-time tracking offers nearly the same level of information as live-real time tracking but without access to historical data. This is best for fleets requiring vehicle location without the need for extra features that come with live-real time tracking. Real-time trackers are usually offered with satellite or cellular tracking and are fairly inexpensive.


GPS trackers offer many benefits. GPS trackers allow a fleet manager to monitor and improve driver behavior. Some of the most common benefits include:

  • Improved driver behavior: GPS tracking can provide detailed information about how drivers behave on the road, such as their speed, idle time, and route choice. This allows companies to create better policies and training programs that take advantage of this data to keep a fleet operating at optimum levels.
  • Improved driver safety: GPS trackers can be used to determine if certain behaviors endanger the driver or others. For example, if you notice that a driver frequently takes a certain route with an excessive amount of stop-and-go driving, you can determine if this behavior is a safety risk.
  • Improved vehicle safety: If a truck has repeated mechanical issues and the driver is using it in an unsafe manner, you may want to consider suspending the vehicle until the issue can be resolved. GPS tracking helps fleet managers do this without losing productivity or money due to repair costs.
  • Improved mileage performance: GPS tracking also shows how a driver uses your truck for business and personal use. This information can help create more effective company policies that improve mileage performance.
  • Improved fuel performance: The same information about driving style and route choice are useful in understanding how fuel is used on each trip. GPS data can show where the most fuel is consumed on each route and can help you decide if that means more or fewer vehicles are needed for a specific job.
  • Improved fleet operation: GPS tracking allows fleet managers to understand their company’s entire operation and make decisions based on data. For example, if you notice that fuel consumption is low for drivers A and B but high for driver C, it offers the opportunity to understand why and look for ways to improve.
  • Improved route planning: GPS tracking also gives insight into how efficiently your fleet operates compared to a current plan. If your plan requires the driver to travel a route in a certain amount of time, you can compare the current schedule with actual results. With this data, you can improve your timeline or make other changes.

Next month in part two, we’ll learn why GPS trackers are popular in the work truck industry and their potential to save the lives of your employees.


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