Ah yes, mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELD): one of the biggest question marks facing the Canadian trucking industry. The Canadian government has shown interest mandating ELDs on commercial trucks in Canada for a couple of years, and for the past few months, stakeholders have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the final word. After all, truck drivers, transportation companies, and all sorts of industries can potentially be affected by this new mandate.
Generally speaking, an ELD is an electronic device connected to the engine of a commercial truck that digitally records driving hours. Depending on the ELD used, fleet managers can even keep track of driving hours remotely, which allows them to monitor vehicle wear-and-tear, and a driver’s operating hours at one time.
Efficiency is probably the best way to describe the first benefit of using an ELD. The current system of manually filling out paper logbooks is actually quite inefficient since it’s only natural for humans to round up, eliminating hours they could be driving.
“It is estimated that drivers operating in an ELD environment realize a net gain in available driving/on-duty time of 30 to 120 minutes per 7 day cycle. This potentially translates into an extra 100 miles per week of driving, or approximately $2,000 in annual earning potential.” - ShawTracking.ca
There is also a huge safety benefit that comes with using ELDs. While rare, some drivers fake their manual logs so they can drive further, even if they’re exhausted to the point of being a danger to themselves and other vehicles on the road. By eliminating manual logs, an ELD can provide both business and safety benefits to any company.
“A Cost-Benefit-Analysis published by Transport Canada reported that the benefits of an ELD mandate would outweigh the costs by a 2:1 ratio. Their summary of benefits included time saved by drivers, administrators, and roadside inspectors, and reduced vehicle collisions due to driver fatigue and Hours of Service violations.” - Vik Sridhar, GeoTab.com
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) is in the process of finalizing their ELD Mandate proposal and is expected to unveil it within a year. It’s believed the mandate proposal will be similar to one being put forward in the U.S. Originally the American proposal was going to be unveiled in December, but the date is now up in the air with no new date announced at the time of writing. It’s unlikely Canada’s proposal will be released before the American version.
While the mandated ELD issue may have been a contentious one at first, there now seems to be support coming from key organizations, such as the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Ontario Trucking Association.
We’ll continue to monitor for news and happenings on the commercial truck ELD mandate here in Canada—check back often for updates.