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App fatigue: A real issue for truck drivers

Trucking is hard work.

Truck drivers have traditionally been underserved, and until recently, the industry relied on cash and checks. Now, with a new wave of technology and mobile apps flooding the market, the pendulum has shifted to the point many drivers and owner operators struggle to keep up, leading to app fatigue. 

App fatigue is a real problem for truck drivers, and it can have a significant impact on productivity and job satisfaction. According to a survey by the American Transportation Research Institute, truck drivers spend an average of 56 minutes per day using mobile apps in search of parking alone. 

With so many apps available it's easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed with the amount of time and effort required to manage them all. From the apps that offer navigation and delivery tracking, to those that manage OTR payments and communicate with dispatchers, it’s a lot to juggle.

If you Google ‘truck driver apps’ you’ll be overwhelmed with articles all talking about the ‘Top 10 apps’ or the ‘12 most helpful’ or the ‘8 must have’ apps for truck drivers … you get the point – it’s a lot! So how many apps are too many?

The best truck driver apps solve a business need

Relay founder Spencer Barkoff recently hosted a panel “Let’s Get Digital: How drivers use apps to save time and money” at the Mid America Trucking Show with owner operators Larry Cochran and Derrick Freels, and John Marienau, co-owner of 20 fleet truck company Origin Transport. The discussion was focused on navigating the technology landscape to create efficiency for you.

“There’s technology that’s helped me out and some that has backfired on me - it’s how you use it,” said Freels. As a new owner operator, Freels has relied heavily on technology and apps to learn the business of trucking. Whether he’s using the Relay app to plan his route with the best fuel discounts and truck parking, using other tools to calculate IFTA in each state and or apps to find loads, Freels has a handful of apps that he relies on, and each one serves a different purpose.

For Marienau, an early adopter of technology, it’s all about purpose. He is a fan of technology and its impact on transforming a business, but he warns the plethora of apps available can be distracting to the business. He’s responsible for 20+ drivers, so it’s his responsibility to prevent app fatigue for his fleet. He won’t introduce a new app or process unless the efficiency gain will be worth the effort.

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Less apps, more functionality

To alleviate app fatigue, it is essential to have a consolidated platform that brings together different apps into one interface. Additionally, having a user-friendly interface with a simple layout can help drivers navigate through the app easily.

“If it’s easy to use, I'm coming back. Just as long as it makes my life better,” said Cochran. Juggling life as an owner operator and TikTok funnyman, Cochran is a modern day trucker making money from the palm of his hand. He sees apps as an avenue to outsource the work he doesn’t like doing but insists the technology must be easy to use and built based on driver feedback.  “I don’t want to do my IFTA. I don’t want to have to worry about any back office stuff…I like to outsource everything,” he said. 

With Relay, Cochran is accessing the best fuel discounts and safe parking without having to go off route, and providing valuable feedback to improve the app.  “I like money. If I can save each time I fuel up and I am doing that four times a week - that’s an app I am going to use,” he says. The beauty of the Relay app for truckers is the ability to make any over-the-road payment within the app, think of it as a one-stop-shop for truckers. 

When it comes to the future of trucking apps, it will come down to ‘less is more’. Drivers don’t want to tap in and out of apps all day, they want to maximize their already squeezed hours by minimizing time switching and keeping up with too many apps.

Download the Relay app today and consolidate your over-the-road payments into one, easy-to-use tool.