Need to find freight? There’s an app for that. How about managing paperwork and hours of service? There are apps for that, too. What about finding safe parking? You guessed it—there’s an app for that.

So there’s seemingly an app for every­thing, and even for things you didn’t know you needed—and that’s a good thing, right?

Well, not everyone in the industry is convinced.

Owner-operator Mike Beaulieu has been driving trucks for the past 52 years. And he has some major qualms with technology.   

“Everybody’s preaching safety to me,” the owner-op says. “Yet all the technology in these trucks is taking away from what you’re supposed to be doing—and that’s driving down the road.”

“The younger generation, driving down the road, you see most of them talking or texting,” Beaulieu adds. “And those younger guys in trucks—a lot of them have never experienced the front tire blow or driving without steering. They’ve acclimated into the industry in the easy chair … I truly believe there is too much going on on the road because of drivers on their phones.”

On the other hand, the same de­vices that can cause distractions may also help when it comes to safety, avoiding traffic congestion, staying in touch with loved ones while on the road, and working more efficiently.

Maybe before you worry about which brand of smartphone to carry, or which handheld version of a satellite mapping system or electronic log or business management suite to use, you should think more broadly: How did you get here in this massively connected era, and where do you want to go?

And can technology provide truckers with a comprehensive, seamless solution before autonomous trucks are dispatched by market-perfected load matching algorithms? No doubt the time is coming when a future generation of freight haulers looks back at 2016 and wonders how anyone managed to get anything delivered with such primitive technology—but it’s not here yet.