Blockchain could create an enhanced “Carfax” report for commercial vehicles

Mechanic inspects a truck

When purchasing a used car, you want to know its history. Similar to medical records, vehicle history tells a potential buyer if the car suffered any damage or serious accidents that can lead to more costly or dangerous problems in the future. Carfax reports also reveal service history and purchase prices.

The trucking industry is capital intensive. It’s important to document the comprehensive maintenance history of a truck for safety and investment purposes.

FMCSA Regulations

The Department of Transportation requires commercial truck owners and lessees maintain adequate records. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is more stringent. Businesses that operate commercial vehicles and are subject to DOT regulations may experience FMCSA audits. More often than not, operators and owners keep their pile of records stored in a folder thinking they’re acting in a compliant manner. They maintain DMV documents, insurance records and most of their maintenance history. What they may not be prepared for is a scrupulous, lengthy examination by FMCSA auditors that reveals violations that can result in costly fines.

Protecting Assets

Truck owners often lease their equipment. It’s common practice in the marketplace. FMCSA regulations only stipulate document retention for owners and lessees over 30 days. If repairs or mishaps made by short-term lessees are not recorded properly, the owner may be in violation of FMCSA rules. Proper record keeping protects your business as well as your assets.

The Problem

Visibility, cohesiveness and organization of maintenance records pose challenges for truck owners and operators. In order to keep equipment running healthily and remain compliant under government agency laws, maintenance must be meticulously documented and monitored. However, most companies use antiquated methods of record keeping that can cause trouble down the line.

A Blockchain Solution

Blockchain presents many potential benefits for the transportation industry. The global transfer of funds via cryptocurrencies, the transfer of titles in bills of lading and most of all, recordkeeping.

Each transaction made on Blockchain platforms creates a “block” after it’s verified by peer computer nodes. Blocks can contain documents or records that cannot be tampered with or deleted. Blockchain can potentially improve record keeping for truck owners by”

1. Storing documents digitally

2. Creating added security in Blockchain infrastructure

3. Making it easier for lessees to update maintenance records and notes automatically

When selling equipment, a blockchain application can offer a “Carfax” report in the transaction. Both seller and buyer can feel confident records are available, accurate and secure. Plus, because the of the superior nature of blockchain ledgers, the buyer would have all of the information on the vehicle at their disposal and without concern that it has been manipulated. 

The benefits blockchain delivers to truck owners in this scenario include improved compliance, mitigated risk, enhanced visibility, and most importantly overall safety for drivers and the public.

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