Northern neighbors' mandate goes into effect June 2021
By Al Muskewitz
Wright Media Editor-in-Chief
Drivers in the United States have been cursing and complying with electronic logging devices for the last two years, and now the chorus will be joined by their brethren to the north.
Canada earlier this week approved the use of ELDs by federally regulated commercial truck and bus operators in June 2021. The rule was first drafted in December 2017, coinciding the U.S. mandate.
Transport Canada says the devices will ensure drivers work within their daily limit and accurately track their working hours; the hours of service structure and cycle limits will not change. The ministry also says it will reduce administrative burdens and reduce the time enforcement officers need to verify compliance. Driver critics charge it is a measure of regulatory overreach.
“The vast majority of our companies and drivers in our industry fully comply with hours of service rules,” Canadian Trucking Alliance chairman Scott Smith said, “but, undoubtedly, the implementation of tamper-proof, third-party electronic logging devices will further enhance safety and help ensure all drivers and companies hold themselves to the highest levels of compliance.”
“This regulation will help to level the playing field for compliant carriers and allow them to compete with rates that are achievable in the legal environment they operate in,” said Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. “It will help enforcement officers more easily verify compliance and remove those operators from the road who are not operating legally, improving road safety for all users.”
The Canadian devices will be aligned with U.S. road safety regulations and will support industry efforts on both sides of the border. Much of the country’s trucking industry already uses ELD technology, but Transport Canada estimates more than 65,000 trucks will need to switch for compliance. The government said a third-party certification process will be put in place to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the devices.
Transport Canada estimates mandatory use of ELDs will reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by 10 percent. The Canadian Trucking Alliance said the estimated 9,400 HOS-related convictions per year (2010-2015) would be reduced by the devices. A quarter of those convictions, CTA reported, were for exceeding the maximum hours prescribed in the regulations. Almost half were for failing to maintain/produce a daily log.
“These new mandatory logging devices in commercial vehicles will improve safety for drivers and for all Canadians,” minister of transport Marc Garneau said. “We know fatigue increases the risks of accidents and that is why we are taking action across all modes of transportation.”
David Carruth, chairperson of the Ontario Trucking Association, called the announcement “a big step in the right direction.”
“It’s a big, important step to ensure that our roads are safer for everyone,” said Dave Earle, president of the British Columbia Trucking Association.
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