Today’s announcement of the final US rule requiring the use of electronic logging devices (ELD), puts Canada “under the gun” and removes any remaining argument for the Canadian governments not to move forward with a similar mandate in Canada, says this country’s largest trucking association.
For over a decade, the Canadian Trucking Alliance – the federation of the provincial trucking associations representing over 4,500 trucking companies – has been lobbying the Canadian governments to introduce a mandate that would require all trucks where the driver is currently required to produce a paper log book in order to monitor compliance with the hours of service regulations to be equipped with an ELD.
“This is a matter of principle for us,” says the CTA’s CEO, David Bradley. “Safety and fair competition is compromised by the continued reliance on an archaic and inefficient paper-based system for monitoring and enforcing what is arguably the single most important of the National Safety Code standards.”
Earlier this year, the previous federal government announced its commitment to moving forward with a Canadian mandate. There has been no indication the new Trudeau government will change course on that direction. To date, the only province to state its commitment to introducing an ELD mandate at the provincial level so far is Ontario. The other provinces have for the most part remained on the sidelines or indicated a preference for a voluntary approach.
Beyond development of a draft technical standard by the Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Canadian Council of Motor Carrier Administrators and a benefit-cost analysis by Transport Canada – which is expected to make a strong case in favour of a mandate but which has yet to be made public – other work, such as the development of an enforcement policy and the writing of an actual regulation, has for the most part been waylaid while the governments waited to see what the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s long-awaited final rule would look like.
The answer to that came today with the release of the FMCSA’s final rule, which will be officially published tomorrow. The rule, which will come into force by the end of 2017, signals the end of paper log books for about 3 million US commercial drivers – and Canadian drivers operating into and out of the US.
According to US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx, “Since 1938, complex, on-duty/off-duty logs for truck and bus drivers were made with pencil and paper, virtually impossible to verify. This automated technology not only brings logging records into the modern age, it also allows roadside safety inspectors to unmask violations of federal law that put lives at risk.”
Says Bradley: “With the publication of the US rule the Canadian governments can no longer claim they need to see what the Americans do before getting down to business here. Now we are under the gun and in the situation where we have about 24 months to introduce our own mandate.”
“It’s time for all Canadian governments to declare their support for a Canadian ELD mandate at both the federal and provincial level and to work together, along with industry, to make it happen.”
Key Technical Features:
- The new rule establishes technology specifications detailing performance and design requirements for ELDs so that manufacturers are able to produce compliant devices and systems. They must be able to automatically record date, time and location information; engine hours; vehicle miles; and ID information of the driver using the device. They are not are required to keep track of drivers or vehicles in real-time. Integral synchronization with the engine, to automatically capture engine power status, vehicle motion status, miles driven, engine hours is a key element to this issue.
- The ELD final rule permits the use of smartphones and other wireless devices as ELDs, so long as they satisfy technical specifications and are certified.
- The rule covers data transfer technologies and requires either a display or printout for backup as a means to access necessary enforcement data. Data can be transferred via a wireless web service and email or through Bluetooth and USB 2.0.
- The rule permits the driver to indicate the beginning and end of yard moves and personal conveyance, as allowed by the motor carrier. All other special driving categories, such as adverse driving conditions (§ 395.1(b)) or oilfield operations (§ 395.1(d)), would be annotated by the driver, similar to the way they are now.
- The ELD rule prohibits driver harassment by carriers by providing both procedural and technical provisions to prevent harassment resulting from ELD-generated information. (There is also a separate rulemaking underway on this front “Prohibiting Coercion of Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers”), which also allows FMCSA to take action against shippers, receivers, and other transportation intermediaries who are found to “compel” drivers to violate hours of service rule.
- If a motor carrier elects to voluntarily use ELDs in advance of the rule’s compliance date, the provisions of the rule prohibiting harassment of drivers apply. However, those motor carriers that have installed a compliant AOBRD (automatic on-board recording device – FMCSR 395.15) before the compliance date will have the option to continue using an AOBRD 4 years after the publication date of the final rule in the Federal Register.
- Drivers may be exempt from the ELD requirement if they use paper RODS for not more than eight days in any 30-day period; those who conduct drive away-tow away operations where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered; and those who operate vehicles that were manufactured before model-year 2000.
- New HOS supporting document rules within the ELD mandate will help reduce paperwork needs, such as the retention of shipping documents, fuel purchase receipts, etc. However, carriers must retain up to eight supporting documents for every 24-hour period a driver using ELDs is on Those documents must be retained for six months, and drivers must submit supporting documents to the motor carrier no later than 13 days after receiving them. Supporting documents include: (1) bills of lading, itineraries, schedules or other documents that show trip origin and destination, (2) dispatch records, trip records or similar documents (3) expense receipts, (4) electronic mobile communication records sent through fleet management systems or (5) payroll records, settlement sheets or similar documents that show what and how a driver was paid.
- The design of the ELD “allows only limited edits of an ELD record by both the driver and the motor carrier’s agents and in either case the original record generated by the device cannot be changed, which will protect the driver’s RODS from manipulation,” FMCSA wrote in the final rule.
CTA is preparing a detailed technical brief of the U.S. rulemaking for its membership and this will be shared next week.
The full, official FMCSA rule can be found here.