An ongoing PeopleNet ELD outage was caused by a disconnect between the system’s GPS and server clocks, a problem triggered by the 2020 calendar year, a former Trimble Transportation (NASDAQ: TRMB) executive told FreightWaves.
The two clocks do not sync, putting the devices into a continuous reboot, said the former executive, who contacted FreightWaves via LinkedIn but declined to be identified on the record.
PeopleNet is a Trimble company.
Users reported a higher-than-usual number of outages, along with sluggish log-in times and other system malfunctions.
“They’ll log in and it [the ELD] just thought and thought and just wants to think the whole time,” Tom Kuehl, owner of Kuehl Transport in Heron Lake, Minnesota, told FreightWaves.
The Trimble executive said he texted that article to several Trimble employees.
“They told me it’s a 2020 issue and the GPS clock and server clock were not syncing,” ultimately killing the device, he said.
In other words, when the calendar transferred to 2020, the servers could no longer recognize the date of the ELDs.
According to the Trimble employees, it is taking 30 minutes for each device to download the fix over the air once the driver disconnects the GPS antenna.
The outages “absolutely could have been avoided,” the executive said, adding: “It should have been discovered in the testing phase.”
UPDATE: Lea Ann McNabb, a Trimble spokesperson, emailed FreightWaves the following statement about the outages:
On New Year’s day, she said, “we began to observe computer software rebooting issues in a subset of our customer base that utilizes the PeopleNet g3 legacy telematics on-board device.”
Once Trimble, identified the root cause, according to McNabb, “we quickly worked to communicate and provide options to these customers to address this issue.”
She said Trimble made a software update available to users on the evening of January 1.
“We are actively working with impacted customers to implement the update and restore the connection to the devices in a timely and complete manner,” McNabb said. “Impacted drivers have switched to using paper logs as an alternative to track hours of service until their g3 on-board device has been updated.”
This is a developing story. Check FreightWaves.com for updates.