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Free NZ App Removes Need For Paper Trucking Logs, Improves Road Safety

A new, free phone app for truckers to easily log their driving hours will remove the need for old paper logbooks, still used by an estimated 90% of truck drivers in New Zealand.

In 2022 there were 51 fatal crashes, 166 serious injury crashes, and 539 minor injury crashes where trucks were involved. Log Ninja founder Bodhi Vette says those stats need to come down, and automating logbooks is an essential step towards safer roads.

“When I drove buses, I found all that paperwork created a massive administrative burden, on top of driving long hours.

“There’s the stress of recording your hours properly so you’ll be paid what you’re owed, and then as drivers you also need to ensure you’re taking regular breaks as required by law, because you can face big penalties for noncompliance.

“If you’re checking the paper logs to calculate when you’re next due for a break, your focus isn’t solely on the road.”

In New Zealand, there are approximately 200,000 commercial drivers. Truckers are mandated by law to take a break every five and a half hours, for a maximum of eleven hours driving each day.

Log Ninja automatically reminds drivers when they’re approaching a mandated rest break, reducing driver stress about compliance with the rules.

“Log Ninja records time on the move, and a notification will tell the driver when they are due for a break. Truck drivers can focus on driving safely and not have to worry about paperwork.”

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Mr Vette says there is a real cost and burden to staying compliant, which is worn by the trucking industry.

"Our market research found that the cost to buy these digital tools is a barrier for drivers, and there’s still cost and a significant management burden with paper logs.

“If all drivers were using the existing digital logbooks, it would cost the industry approximately $24 million dollars every year.

“Even those using the approved paper-based version still pay between $10 and $18 for the 50-page triplicate logs, which require physical transfer and storage for a minimum of two years.

“We’re removing that barrier by making Log Ninja free to every driver in New Zealand. More drivers using digital logs will save money and make the roads safer.”

Mr Vette says drivers still favour paper logs because of the autonomy and simplicity it affords.

“We want drivers to be able to make the switch to digital easily, so Log Ninja is usable by any driver with a smartphone and keeps logging data under their control.”

Dan Burt has been driving trucks and buses for 12 years and has just started using Log Ninja. He says the biggest barriers to going digital have been the cost, and unfamiliarity with the new systems.

“I’ve tried other digital logbooks and quickly gone off them. I found them difficult to use, and making edits was very time consuming. It wasn’t worth paying more over the paper version.

“So, to have a free option which is modelled on the paper logs is a lifesaver.

“Everything is familiar, and Log Ninja works even without cell reception. Now if I get a late call-up to work, I just grab my wallet and phone and I’m good to go.”

Mr Vette says he took inspiration from the aviation industry, which requires pilots to record their hours in different kinds of aircraft to build up a portfolio of experience.

“Log Ninja is the first NZTA-approved logbook that allows drivers to record hours for different kinds of driving disciplines.

“When a driver starts logging, they’ll be able to choose from 92 different types of driving across five license classes – from B-train truck and trailers to tractors and taxis.”

Log Ninja aims to have 30,000 commercial drivers using the logbook in its first month, says Mr Vette.

“The app can be used by anyone who is required by law to record their driving hours. As well as knowing when to take a break, the main purpose of keeping logs is to be able to show your employer, companies you contract to, or police, evidence of how many hours of driving you’ve done.

“Log Ninja makes it easy to select the driving period you want, in the type of vehicles you’ve driven, and easily export logs with the press of a button.

“Every sign-up will make a driver’s life easier, their record keeping more meaningful, and New Zealand roads safer.”

Log Ninja is approved by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and can be downloaded free on the App Store and Google Play.

© Scoop Media

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