In December of 2017, the U.S. adopted the ELD, or the electronic logging device mandate, to ensure that drivers are adhering to the hours of service (HOS) rules and not spending a minute longer behind the wheels than the permitted driving hours. Canada, too, is set to adopt a similar mandate by the end of this year.
Presently, drivers use a daily logbook, which is paper-based, to manually record the number of hours spent on the road. The new rules would require commercial vehicle drivers to install ELD so that their duty hours can be digitally tracked.
What is ELD?
ELD is an electronic device that records driving hours. Not only that, it also tracks GPS location, whether the engine is running, records odometer readings, and more.
Benefits of ELD
ELD has the following benefits:
- Tamper-proof: ELD is a tamper-proof device that automatically logs driving hours, which means the drivers cannot falsify the duty-status record.
- Saves time: The logging device eliminates hours of paperwork and human errors that may occur while manually logging information. With less paperwork and no room for human errors, fleet operators can considerably save time, as well as reduce their operational costs.
- Seamless communication: There is less chance of a communication gap between the fleet operators and their drivers. ELD continuously tracks the movement of the vehicles and keeps both the operators and the drivers informed and updated, enabling seamless communication between them.
- Reduces driver fatigue: Driver fatigue is considered one of the leading causes of accidents. Once ELD becomes mandatory, we could see a significant drop in such cases. As the electronic device continuously tracks the vehicle’s movement, the drivers cannot hoodwink the authorities or the fleet operators and drive for long hours without taking the mandatory rest break.
- Better compliance with hours-of-service rules: If no one is watching, some drivers tend to break the hours-of-service rules. ELD ensures such drivers comply with the regulations.
For commercial bus and truck drivers, the hours-of-service rules set the maximum driving hours and the maximum off-duty hours. Here are the limits set by the Canadian Government to prevent driver fatigue-related accidents from happening:
- Drivers cannot drive more than 13 hours in a day.
- Drivers cannot drive after they have spent 14 hours on-duty in a day.
- Drivers must take 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time between on-duty hours/driving hours.
- Drivers can take 8 consecutive hours of off-duty rest in the sleeper birth.
- Drivers must take 10 hours of off-duty time in a day. The 10 hours include the mandatory 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time.
- Limit for driving cycle 1: Drivers cannot drive after 70 hours on-duty in any 7 days.
- Limit for driving cycle 2: Drivers cannot drive after 120 hours on-duty in any 14 days.
Drivers have to face disciplinary action if they are caught breaking the rules. Violations appear on their commercial driver abstract (CDA), and they are also be included in the fleet owners’ profiles. Some penalties include monetary fines, downgraded safety ratings, out-of-service declarations, and audit of the fleet-operator’s facility.
Violations of hours-of-service rules happen regularly. Some drivers fail to follow the rules because they are not aware of them, while some have learned how to falsify a log. ELD regulations are expected to make the drivers more aware and more rule-abiding.
Canada’s ELD regulations are in alignment with the U.S. mandate, which aims to improve road safety and prevent road accidents. Likewise, Canada also expects to reduce crashes by introducing regulations that require commercial bus and truck drivers to use an ELD in their vehicles.
ELD regulation objectives:
- improve commercial vehicle safety;
- ensure compliance with hours-of-service rules; and
- facilitate fairer competition.
What Happens when Canada Adopts ELD Regulations?
- Paper-based daily log will no longer be in use.
- ELD in commercial vehicles that are compliant with the Technical Standard will be installed.
- ‘Daily logs’ will be called ‘records of duty status’.
- Drivers have to enter information into the ELD related to records of duty status: for example, fuelling, loading, or uploading.
- Information such as driving time, Odometer readings, and engine running status to be automatically recorded by ELD.
- Fleet-owners have to create a separate account for each driver in the ELD operating system.
- At the end of duty hours, each driver is supposed to certify the accuracy of the electronic records, while the fleet operator has to verify and retain the records.
Canada ELD rules will immensely benefit those who operate cross-border fleets because of the similar regulations on both sides of the border.