While the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) is fully in favor of moving forward with electronic logging device (ELD) enforcement on Jan. 1, that doesn’t mean there isn’t significant work to do to ensure the rollout is as smooth as possible.
As we understand it, currently eight provinces and territories are likely to have regulations in place in time to enforce the federal regulation on Jan. 1. As national uniformity in enforcement is important, we believe the remaining jurisdictions need to take the steps necessary to ensure they can also enforce the mandate by Jan. 1.
Regardless of the readiness of the remaining jurisdictions, we believe we must move forward with enforcement for those that are ready by January 2023.
To ensure a driver’s record of duty status (RODS) is securely transmitted over the air from the truck to law enforcement, a public key infrastructure (PKI) is required. As of today, Transport Canada has selected a vendor and the system has been developed to allow this to occur.
Our discussions with ELD providers indicate integration has begun, however, the rollout for all providers is going to take time. We believe most providers, if not all, will have this integrated by Jan. 1. With the enforcement date only four months away, this step needs to be completed as soon as possible.
The bigger issue, as we see it, is ensuring everyone in enforcement has access to view the encrypted logs. In order for an officer to be able to decrypt the logs, each individual officer must be provided an encryption key.
Stakeholders have told us it is unlikely that everyone who wants access to an encryption key will receive one. While this may sound reasonable, it is actually problematic.
Many RCMP and OPP officers, as well as some municipal police forces, will review driver logbooks during a blitz or routine stop. If we do not allow all officers who interact with drivers to view logs, we are actually reducing enforcement of the Hours-of-Service regulation.
We must ensure ELD violations are applied to a carrier’s provincial safety rating, no matter which jurisdiction they are based out of or charged in. As we understand it, currently no such system is in place to ensure this occurs.
Conviction Equivalency Table
The Conviction Equivalency Table needs to be updated to include ELD violations, among other updates. We encourage jurisdictions, Transport Canada and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) to work toward having this updated and in effect as close as possible to the Jan. 1 enforcement date.
While updating this table, we also encourage regulators to ensure the point and fine levels are significant for carriers that are not using certified ELDs. We must ensure there is teeth in the regulation and severe consequences for carriers who do not comply.
If the point values that are applied to a carrier’s safety rating are low, non-compliant carriers may just consider this a cost of doing business and continue to ignore the regulation. High point values will endanger their carrier safety rating profile, and if they choose to ignore the regulation, this could lead to an operating suspension.
Ontario has a robust ELD exemption for drive-away/tow-away operators, which are also exempt in the U.S. regulations. Quebec has also just released its draft regulation, which has a similar exemption, and our discussion with B.C. indicates they are likely to follow suit.
PMTC has learned through discussions with regulators and drive-away/tow-away operators that it appears some of the remaining provinces and territories may not exempt this. In order for these jurisdictions to exempt it, the change must be made in the federal regulation.
If we are unable to have this exemption in place federally by Jan. 1, it will lead to massive confusion and harm to this segment of the industry. We need Transport Canada to adopt this exemption in the federal regulations or address it in another manner to ensure we have uniformity across jurisdictions.
We also have a very real issue with the ferry exemption that must be addressed.
The current exemption allows drivers to combine times boarding the ferry, time on the ferry, and driving to a spot within 25 km to rest after disembarking the ferry together to meet their eight-hour off-duty segment, and requires the driver to mark these driving segments as off-duty in the sleeper berth.
However, this provision was missed in the technical standard, and there is currently no way for an ELD to record the ferry exemption accurately as the regulation requires. The technical standard requires all driving time to be automatically recorded and it is not allowed to be edited. The only time an ELD can record driving time as off-duty is by use of personal conveyance, which has strict guidelines.
Since the Canadian ELD regs do not allow for automatically recorded driving time to be edited, we must provide a solution for this issue. The PMTC suggestion is for Transport Canada and CCMTA to issue an enforcement guidance that allows a driver to record this as personal use, but then indicate in their remarks they are utilizing the Section 17 ferry exemption. While this is not technically accurate, it would allow the device to track hours correctly until a more permanent solution can be developed.
Everyone involved in the ELD mandate has done a great job getting us this far, but there is still work to do. We are not near the finish line; we have just crossed the starting line.
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