Transport Canada has reaffirmed its commitment to enforcing Canada’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate on June 12th, but only after a 12-month “progressive enforcement period.”  Drivers of commercial motor vehicles that operate in multiple provinces, territories, nations, or states, as well as any truck, tractor, trailer, or combination of these vehicles with a total gross vehicle weight of more than 9,921 pounds, are subject to the mandate. With the ELD mandate scheduled to go into effect, it’s important to know how the Canadian ELD regulation varies from the US rule, and how you can help keep your commercial vehicle fleet running smoothly as these new compliance regulations take effect. 

Canadian HOS Rules

In Canada, the ELD requirement would require truck drivers to switch from paper logbooks to ELDs if they obey hours of service (HOS) regulations. Currently, HOS laws in Canada restrict drivers to 13 hours of continuous driving in a 16-hour driving day, followed by at least 8 hours of off-duty time. The Canadian hours of service HOS Rules are meant to ensure that commercial drivers adhere to their regular driving limits and accurately record their working hours using an electronic logbook (elog app). The ELD systems keep track of when and how long drivers are driving, ensuring that they are adhering to the Government of Canada’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service HOS Regulations. The ELD mandate would not affect existing HOS laws, but it will aid in monitoring and bolstering driver enforcement.

What is an Electronic Logging Device (ELD)?

An ELD is a piece of electronic hardware that is connected to a vehicle’s engine and is used to monitor driving hours, distance traveled, engine status and hours, vehicle status, and position. Typically, such devices have a screen that allows the driver to keep track of their hours and print time logs as required. When ELDs are linked to fleet management software, real-time transmission of driving logs to a back-office system is possible.

Advantages of Canadian ELD

Noncompliance with HOS rules and drive time limits can lead to fatigued driving, which raises the likelihood of a crash, injury, or death. The HOS and ELD laws are designed to control drivers’ sleeping habits and help prevent fatigued driving, which is one of the leading causes of road accidents in Canada and around the world. Due to the size of the vehicles they operate and the increased number of injuries and fatalities that result from truck or bus accidents, fatigue is particularly dangerous for commercial drivers. By tracking HOS enforcement and reducing the amount of hours drivers spend on the road in a single stretch, the introduction of ELD rules in Canada would likely increase road safety. 

  • Enhanced safety – Above all, ELDs have a better perception of road safety for truckers and motorists. Transport operators would be expected to take sufficient breaks if they use ELDs, which would result in fewer fatigue-related accidents. Drivers will now be supervised more closely and compensated based on realistic performance metrics, which will promote good conduct and increase driving safety.
  • Improved Reporting Tools – There is a significant reduction of paperwork and constant availability access to data through the cloud, simplifying processes and lowering operating costs. At the time of the inspection, HoS are automatically logged, and reports can be registered, displayed, or emailed. The Canadian mandate’s HoS reporting tools were also designed with the American mandate in mind, making cross-border deliveries easy.
  • Operational Performance– Drivers will spend less time filling out paper logs and more time focusing on their assigned tasks with ELDs. Electronically logging HOS reduces the probability of paper log errors and allows for more reliable reporting. ELDs also offer fleet managers the opportunity to maintain more reliable reporting, as well as track vehicle condition, and cut down on vehicle maintenance costs.
  • Easier Compliance of Regulations Across Carriers – Since the ELD requirement will extend to all federally controlled Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs), carriers will be subject to the same HoS laws, and compliance of those that violate the rules will be uniform, regardless of the size of the CMV.

Differences between U.S. and Canadian ELD Mandate

In several ways, the Canadian ELD regulations are close to the existing electronic logging regulations in the United States. Canada made every effort to align its ELD rules as closely as possible with those of the United States. This helps fleets operate properly across borders by allowing drivers to use a single ELD solution in both countries. The provision for third-party approval of all ELD products is one significant difference that will undoubtedly have the greatest effect on carriers as they work to comply with the Canadian ELD mandate. Furthermore, Canadian drivers would not send their logs to a federal system like eRODS in the United States. Officers will have software to translate the file into a readable format, and drivers would be expected to email a specially generated transfer file to them. More information on this process is anticipated by the industry for now. Canadian ELDs must also comply with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators‘ (CCMTA) Technical Standard for Electronic Logging Systems, which specifies the minimum requirements. 

Another key difference is that Canada has strict limits on distance: 75 kilometers or approximately 50 miles for personal conveyance. Even though this is already covered in Canadian Hours of Service and should not be surprising, Canadian fleets should be informed that the Canadian ELD will implement it by automation. That is, if a driver reaches his personal conveyance limit, an ELD will push the driver into “driving” mode, which will be recorded as on-duty driving time.

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