Free NZ app removes need for paper trucking logs, improves road safety

In February 2024, Product Profile4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 15, 2024

A new, free phone app for truckers, making it easy to log driving hours, will remove the need for old paper logbooks, which are still used by an estimated 90% of Kiwi drivers.

Log Ninja founder Bodhi Vette says automating logbooks is essential for 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.”

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

Vette says there is a real cost and burden to staying compliant.

“Our market research found that the cost to buy these digital tools is a barrier for drivers. If all drivers were using the existing digital logbooks, it would cost the industry approximately $24 million 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.”

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 most significant 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.”

Vette says Log Ninja is also the first NZTA-approved logbook that allows truckers to build a portfolio of experience by recording hours for different driving disciplines.

“When a driver starts logging, they can 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, he says.

“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.