December 18, 2018, marks a year since the U.S. electronic logging device (ELD) mandate took effect, and authorities are reporting widespread compliance.  According to joc.com, less than 1% of all roadside truck inspections in May 2018 resulted in a driver being cited for operating without an ELD.
 
This high rate of compliance should be encouraging to Transport Canada, which announced that operators in Canada will be required to report on-duty, off-duty and driving time using ELDs rather than paper logbooks by 2020. The proposed Canadian mandate, which will apply to federally regulated motor carriers and commercial truck and bus drivers, was announced the same day U.S. rules took effect last December.
 
According to Transport Canada, the new regulations will deliver administrative cost savings and improve road safety as electronic logs help ensure all carriers are complying with Hours of Service (HOS) rules that reduce the potential for driver fatigue.

Comparing ELD regulations

Much of the proposed rule aligns with U.S. requirements. However, there are some differences.  Here’s a quick comparison of the mandates. It’s based on information under consideration for Canada’s ELD mandate because technology and regulatory standards are still being reviewed.
 
Both mandates require an ELD that:

  • Includes GPS tracking and synchronizes with the vehicle’s engine
  • Has an on-screen display to show at roadside inspections
  • Automatically captures driving time, including unidentified driving
  • Has a mechanism to verify logs and agree to edits
  • Allows drivers to use special driving statuses
  • Can generate output files in different formats for inspectors
  • Exempt pre-2000 vehicles

 
Canada’s mandate

  • Doesn’t require capturing the VIN number
  • Has no self-registration/certification process for ELDs
  • Requires the ELD to:
    • accurately track and manage deferred off-duty time
    • allow for a mechanism to enter hours captured elsewhere (e.g., driving done for another company)
    • include HOS cycle details and allow drivers a mechanism to switch between them

 
Speculation that the final ELD mandate will be similar to the current U.S. rule is welcome news for Canadian carriers engaged in cross-border trade and already complying with the U.S. mandate. By further aligning Canadian and U.S. logging device regulations, Canadian operators could potentially use the same logging device in both countries.
 

Effects of the U.S. Mandate

Many people in the transportation industry anticipated problems associated with the new ELD mandate, such as thousands of drivers leaving the profession and large numbers of out-of-service orders1 on drivers after the April 1 full enforcement.  However, that has not materialized.
 
In fact, it has been reported that the percentage of driver inspections with at least one HOS violation actually dropped from December 2017 to May 2018.  Due to compliance with the ELD mandates, hours of service were being logged electronically.  The result was a significant drop in HOS rules violations as the ELD mandate took effect.
 
Results from the U.S. ELD mandates support Transport Canada’s analysis that its proposed ELD rule will help not only reduce injuries and fatalities on the road but will provide “an improved quality of life for drivers.”  This benefit will be due in part to increased adherence to HOS rules, which provides more recuperative rest periods to reduce driver fatigue, a critical risk factor associated with motor vehicle crashes.
 
Timeline for Canada’s ELD Mandate
As of late December 2018, the official timeline for implementing Canada’s ELD mandate has not been finalized.  However, most industry experts anticipate the introduction process for ELD in Canada will be similar to the U.S. roll-out. That includes public comment after the original announcement, publication of the rule, a mandatory compliance date, and grandfather clause completion.
If Transport Canada does follow the U.S. model, there will be a two-year transition phase allowing carriers and drivers to install ELDs and complete training.  Full compliance will be required after this preparation period, which could be as early as December 2019, but more likely in 2020. Plus, there will be an exception for existing devices such as e-logs, Automatic On-board Recording Devices (AOBRDs) and EOBRs, which are expected to be permitted until 2022.
 
Preparing for ELD Compliance
Although some details of the ELD mandates in Canada are still under review, one thing is certain – motor carriers and drivers will be required to use an ELD in the near future. Therefore, carriers and shippers should be planning now to ensure they will be compliant and competitive when the mandate goes into effect.
 
To ensure you’re ready to comply with the new regulations, contact Descartes PinPoint GPS Solutions to learn more about our ELD-compliant software services that pair state-of-the-art technology and advanced industry knowledge with exceptional customer service and support.
 
Because we are part of the Descartes Systems Group, our customers have access to the Descartes Global Logistics Network™ as well as additional route planning software and mobile solutions.  That includes the Descartes Telematics Compliance™ solution, a comprehensive mobile asset management service using advanced technologies integrated with the diagnostics.
 
Descartes Telematics is registered with the FMCSA as a certified ELD provider and can also help you manage compliance of other regulatory initiatives such as AOBRD Hours-of-Service, IFTA, Hazmat and HAACP.  Our ELD Resource Center provides the latest news and timelines associated with the FMCSA and Transport Canada mandates.