Canada has finally published its long-awaited electronic logging device (ELD) rule. Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, made the announcement on June 13th, stating that the new rule will be introduced nationally as soon as possible.
By June 2021, all truck drivers currently required to maintain a logbook will need to use third-party-certified ELDs. The third-party device certification is a major change from the U.S. ELD rules that Canada based their mandate on. In the U.S., ELDs are self-certified, which means devices have arrived that can be modified and tampered with. The Canadian trucking industry lobbied the government to address this and include the third-party certification in order to combat this issue.
So far, the trucking industry has been applauding the ELD rule. The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) said that this move would catapult Canada ahead of the US in terms of truck safety and compliance.
“The vast majority of our companies and drivers in our industry fully comply with hours-of-service rules, but, undoubtedly, the implementation of tamper-proof, third-party ELD devices will further enhance safety and help ensure all drivers and companies hold themselves to the highest levels of compliance,” said CTA chairman Scott Smith.
Canada’s ELD mandate won’t impact existing Hours-of-Service regulations. ELDs are not meant to disrupt the industry; instead, they will simply change how logs are kept.
“Third-party certification of ELDs is critical for hours-of-service compliance and fatigue management as the technology behind ELD devices is key to ensuring drivers and companies follow their work-rest cycles,” said Stephen Laskowski, CTA president. “As we learned from the previous era of paper logbooks, the non-compliant segment of our industry, while a minority, have a history of finding workarounds of the rules. We must ensure that there are no gaps or opportunities to manipulate the technology and that compliance is the only option.”
One of the most surprising aspects of the ELD mandate announcement was the timeline. Initially, there was a proposed four-year implementation period, but that has now been shortened to just two years. Minister Garneau addressed the shortened implementation period saying, “The two-year implementation period may seem quick for some truck owners, but I want to reassure you that this period will allow them enough time to set up and install the devices. In doing this we are looking to reduce truck and bus crashes due to fatigue.”
Additionally, unlike the U.S., existing automatic onboard recording devices will not be grandfathered in. This could raise concerns for trucking companies that implemented devices years earlier. However, industry experts pointed out that the third-party certification clause made it impossible to include a grandfathering clause.
The government is already working with ELD manufactures and suppliers to ensure they are aware of all of the requirements to become third-party certified. So far, ELD suppliers are reacting positively to the ELD mandate rules.
There are still questions that need to be answered, such as who will be providing third-party certification. However, TRAFFIX applauds the new ELD rule along with the rest of the Canadian trucking industry. We’re excited to see changes to make our roads safer!