Mobile text solution

A specialist unit at the University of Teesside believes it has come up with an easy answer to the problems many haulage firms face in complying with the European Union’s new Working Time Directive form.

The Directive insists that companies keep detailed records of the total hours worked by lorry drivers, how long they are driving and when they are taking rest periods are or doing other activities.

“It can be very time-consuming to keep all records up-to-date,” says Mark Avis, e-Business specialist at the University of Teesside’s B2B Manufacturing Centre. “But we think simple text messages from mobile phones could be the answer to the current paper-mountain and administrative nightmare of complying with the law.”

He told a recent seminar for the haulage industry in Newton Aycliffe that it was costing the industry tens of thousands of pounds of additional compliance costs to administer the Directive.

The low cost solution has been developed by the B2B Centre – set up to help industry make greater use of Information Technology – together with South Shields-based software specialists, Mandata.

All the drivers have to do is text a one word message to a computer to say when they are starting or stopping driving, beginning a rest period and starting a period of availability.

Brian Burgess, manager of the B2B Manufacturing Centre, says the web based database then maintains the driver’s timesheets. “As it is a real-time solution, companies will also be able to send drivers text alerts if the driver is working beyond recording hours. So it also prevents infringement of the working hours directive.”

The system is currently undergoing trials and is available from Mandata.