If they haven’t done so already, now is the time for Canadian carriers to start planning for the implementation of an electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, which is coming in the US by December 2017 and in Canada at some point thereafter.
That was the message from Tom Cuthbertson, vice-president of regulatory compliance with Omnitracs and chairman of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) ELD Task Force.
This week, he addressed the Ontario Trucking Association’s Council Summit on the impending legislation. Afterwards, he sat down with Truck News to discuss the implications for the Canadian trucking industry:
“If you’re a Canadian carrier going to the states, you need to think about this,” he warned.
The first decision that must be made if you’re still using paper logs and travel into the US is whether to adopt an existing automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) now or wait until there’s a greater selection of ELDs available that meet the technical standards within the regulation. If you’re currently running electronic logs, those systems will be grandfathered for two years after implementation of the new standard, meaning they’ll be accepted until December 2019.
Cuthbertson’s advice is to make the switch today, rather than wait.
“My suggestion operationally is, if you have nothing electronically, I would suggest you go forward, take some time to find a good vendor, put the AOBRDs in now and get the driver acclimated,” he said. “If you wait till the 11th hour to go from paper to electronic, people are not going to comprehend the training time for those drivers, and it’s not just drivers, it’s the back office.”
In some cases, Cuthbertson said, transitioning from a current AOBRD to fully compliant ELDs will require nothing more than a software update.
It’s up to carriers to do their due diligence when selecting a vendor. If they find the device they’ve chosen from the FMCSA’s list is not compliant, it will be up to them to report it.
The ELD mandate will require better planning by drivers and dispatchers, and the cooperation of shippers, Cutherbertson noted.
Asked by Truck News what his most important message is to Canadian fleets, Cuthbertson emphasized the need for preparation. When properly deployed, he said ELDs will benefit fleets and drivers.
“Drivers are saying, ‘I’m getting drive time back. I don’t have to worry about thinking at the end of the day where will I put my 15-minute tick mark? I have all my logs right here in front of me – I don’t have to take that load. I know how much drive time I have left.’ Some will say, ‘I’m more competitive with dispatch because they won’t assign me a load if I don’t have enough time to pick it up and go take my break.’ All that is evident right in front of them. People are planning their days better,” he said.
Read the full article from Truck News here.