13 things Canadian truck drivers should know about ELDs

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MONTREAL, Que. – Cross-border truck drivers are already familiar with electronic logging devices (ELDs), but there will be differences when the equipment is mandated for all federally regulated carriers as of June 12, 2021.

And the differences are not limited to the need for Canadian devices to be certified by a recognized third party.

Here are 13 things that drivers should know about ELDs, said Isaac Instruments compliance and safety specialist Melanie Simard, during an online presentation for the 2020 Isaac User Conference.

Cross-border drivers will be familiar with ELDs, but there are some unique features that apply to the devices that will come with a Canadian mandate, says Isaac Instruments’ Melanie Simard. (Photo: Isaac Instruments)
  1. The Hours of Service (HoS) don’t change – The number of hours that drivers can work remains unchanged. The ELD mandate only changes the way those hours are recorded and reported.

  2. There are three exceptions to the rule – Commercial vehicles or engines built before the year 2000 won’t require ELDs, nor will vehicles that stick to operating within 160 km of a home terminal. Short-term truck rentals of less than 30 days are also exempt, giving Canadian carriers more flexibility with replacement trucks when compared to the eight-day limits in the U.S., she says.

  3. There are lessons to learn – “Give yourself time to adjust,” Simard says in her message to truck drivers, recommending attending training sessions or asking for documentation and setting aside some time to read it. “Become familiar with the technology. You know how a logbook is done. You’re the professional driver. What you need is to learn how to operate the device.”

  4. Slow movements will be detected – Driving status will automatically be detected once a truck reaches 8 km/h. “If you’re new to ELDs, this is one of the major changes,” she says.

  5. Drivers control any modifications – While the driving status itself can’t be modified, other changes made by a back office must still be approved by the driver before taking effect.

  6. On-duty status after a brief stop – A Canadian ELD will have to automatically return to an on-duty status after a five-minute stop.

  7. Activate the yard moves – Those traveling on something other than a public road will need to activate the yard duty status, or the ELD will report the movement as driving time. “There’s also a minor change in Canada,” Simard says, comparing this to the U.S. rule. “This feature will be automatically deactivated if you reach 32 km/h.”

  8. Review unassigned driving time – Every driving segment will need to be recorded, even if someone else moves a truck, so drivers will be prompted to review unassigned moves or reject any that do not apply to them. “With a Canadian ELD, if you accept a change that does not belong to you, you will be able to reject the wrongly accepted driving segment,” Simard says.

  9. ELDs will automatically detect diagnostic activity and defects – This is meant to identify issues such as a problem when syncing with an engine, or a disconnected device. “In Canada you’ll have more flexibility during a malfunction,” she adds. “Contrary to the U.S., where you can only use a paper log for eight days, you will now have 14 days or until the end of your current trip to get the device repaired.”

  10. The countdown begins — and drivers will see it in action – “Unlike the U.S. regulation, the Canadian rule requires the ELD to show the remaining number of driving hours and minutes before the next required rest period,” Simard says.

  11. Canadian devices will account for special HoS cases – The Canadian ELDs will need to address the deferral of off-duty time, operating zones, cycle management, personal conveyance, and the logging of additional hours with different fleets. The cycle management, for example, will support the different driving limits that apply on either side of the 60th parallel in Canada, and when crossing the border into the U.S. “In Canada, you may defer a maximum of two hours off the daily off-duty time to the following day,” she adds, referring to another capability.

  12. Personal conveyance will be allowed … to a point – In Canada, ELDs will offer a daily maximum of 75 km for personal conveyance, as long as the truck is bobtailing. But the ELD will automatically change to an on-duty-driving status beyond that distance.

  13. The last 14 days can be entered – Drivers who are otherwise exempt from logging their hours, such as those traveling no further than 160 km from a home base, will be able to enter data for the previous 14 days if they find themselves in a situation that requires the electronic records.
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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • On a personal note, I cannot wait for this to take affect.
    All those whom have been sitting on the fence about pro or con, will find out in short order what this means to their bottom line.

    Think it’s hard to make ends meet now, prepare to be high centered over technicalities such as – tow trucks fishing people out of the ditch for hours on end and watching your cycle time evaporate, spending 36 hours in dirt parking lots trying to get a reset, sleeping on off ramps because the genie says so.

    Ya I know the rules haven’t changed – according to some, but to those of us which began our career before log books – they have changed.

    Enjoy being told when to go to bed children lol

  • I’ve noticed that the editorials all tell us how wonderful e logs are. Our lives will be so much better.
    Why, then, is this mandatory??

  • Curious to know if Transport Canada will be addressing the issue of drivers being made to move from their parking spot or a customer facility when they do not have the hours to do so. Similar to the modifications to the Personal Conveyance rules in the US which permit such moves, I wonder what the expectation will be here in Canada?

  • The personal conveyance has to change to allow driver to have trailer with him if it’s only for Bob tailing this will not work and you will have a lot of drivers leave in the industry you cannot sit at customer for eight hours with no washrooms and nothing to eat our government needs to wake up or the trucking industry it’s going to go downhill it’s too bad that we have to listen to the government bullshit that the people have never been in a truck or drove a truck. Come on now change that rule ASAP so we can leave the customer use personal conveyance to the closest truckstop and stay there for the rest of the hours too bad so sad what they did to the trucking industry

  • It’s all about controling drivers. The safety went out the window. That’s why now they want truck with all this radar system on it to control the truck too. Here’s why. I’ve noticed that ELD has changed most drivers from easy going people into criminals. You now can’t stop to eat because you have a time frame and big companies push for you to get miles. I see guys coming through truck stop for fuel like there’s a fire. Because there pushed for time. There’s no time to stop during day for a nice break and something to eat. Cause the clock is going tic,tic,tic. And because everyone is such a rush now. Accindents have went up. So now have to have all this electronic control on truck. To prevent accindents. That’s why you see do many guys rebuilding pre 2000 yr trucks. Get away from all the bullshit . The government,big companies and the media has everyone so brainwashed they don’t know any different.