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The Government of Canada announced its new electronic logging device (ELD) rule June 13, 2019.
ELDs are integrated into commercial vehicle engines in order to ensure that commercial drivers stay within their daily driving limits and accurately log their work hours. The devices are used to monitor hours driven, vehicle movement, distance traveled and location. They automatically track information in order to make it easier for safety inspectors to notice violations.
Canada’s rules and regulations regarding ELDs are largely similar to the United States’ standards, but there are a few differences that could affect U.S.-based companies that send their drivers north of the border.
Canada Requires Third-party Approval
Canada’s mandate includes a provision that ELDs are required to be certified by a third-party group. In other words, ELD vendors cannot certify their own products. According to industry experts, some devices introduced under U.S. standards have been shown to be prone to tampering, such as allowing drivers to falsify statistics like hours spent behind the wheel.
Certification of ELDs refers to confirmation that the devices are compliant with technical specifications and also registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). According to the FMSCA, there are currently 370 different self-certified ELDs in the United States from 247 different vendors.
Requiring certification from a third-party will mean that U.S.-based companies whose drivers cross the border will need to have their devices approved in Canada. If a company’s ELD provider chooses not to go through the third-party certification process, the company will have to switch to a different manufacturer that is willing to do so.
Accommodating the new rules in Canada could be as simple as a software update to existing devices, although industry experts noted that some companies could start having to use two separate ELDs in the same vehicle in order to meet both U.S. and Canadian standards.
According to industry experts, some devices introduced under U.S. standards have been shown to be prone to tampering, such as allowing drivers to falsify statistics like hours spent behind the wheel.
In addition to the third-party approval provision, Canada’s mandate also includes some smaller changes.
In the United States, rental commercial motor vehicles being used for eight days or less can be exempt from the ELD requirements. Meanwhile, in Canada, rentals being operated for 30 days or less will be eligible for the exemption.
Also, in the United States, ELDs are only required to record data while Canadian regulations will require that ELDs warn drivers 30 minutes before they reach an operating limit.
Canada’s mandate also includes a hard deadline. The United States adopted its ELD rules in 2017 but has allowed for a transition period during which companies can continue to use less advanced automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) until December 2019. Canada’s rules demand fully compliant devices by the June 12, 2021, deadline.
Between 2010 and 2015, Canada recorded approximately 9,400 hours of service convictions per year. Officials believe that the introduction of the ELD standards will reduce the issue. Canada estimates that the new rules will reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by 10%. Commercial driver fatigue is responsible for approximately 20% of all road collisions.