Trucking industry officials have one eye on the calendar and the other on the certification process of electronic logging devices (ELDs) as the clock ticks down to Canada’s June 2022 enforcement deadline.
These devices generate a huge amount of data, and how this can be used could help companies improve their business, a panel discussion at Truckload Carriers Association’s (TCA) Bridging Border Barriers suggested on Wednesday.
Steve Newton, director of safety and driver development, Challenger Motor Freight said only seven devices have been certified and a lot of people are still looking for ELDs. “Are we going to be able to make that June deadline? What about capacity, prices, the selection process?” he asked.
He said a lot of big players haven’t made the certification list and hopefully more devices come online a lot quicker. “Come New Year if that doesn’t happen that rule is going to be looked at again, you can’t limit the market to seven devices,” he added.
Garth Pitzel, senior director, safety and driver development, Bison Transport said the list must grow. “There are a few large players are saying they will be certified by that date,” he said, and it would be an issue if it doesn’t come true.
Scott Creighton, director, risk services transportation & logistics, Northbridge Insurance said he told companies to get ready for this when the mandate was announced months ago. “If you haven’t started getting them installed now, you are in trouble in six months,” he said.
Bison’s Pitzel said the biggest issue is training drivers and their understanding of how to use ELDs. “If you not preparing them now, it will be a culture shock,” he said.
Challenger’s Newton said there is a lot of training in the back office as well. “There’s a lot more to it than putting the device in a truck and you go down the road.”
The ELDs are generating tremendous amounts of data. David Heller, vice-president of government Affairs, TCA, who moderated the panel said the trucking industry has never been exposed to so much data. “It exponentially made the picture of what is going on in the drivers’ day more visible,” he said.
Newton says Challenger looks at all critical events and camera footage that comes in from a risk perspective. The company does a lot of coaching and managing drivers on specific behaviors on hard braking and turns, focussing on safety.
Pitzel said you have regulatory data that you have to see, manage and deal with on a minute-by-minute basis. There is also data to use for retention and for showing drivers unutilized time and educating the office team on time utilization.
“For local owner-operators, using average six-month period at customers, we tell them in advance what they will get paid for that load,” he said. “They know what they are going to get paid to do that delivery.”
Creighton says data can be used to follow up on events and customer complaints. “Manage data as best as you can,” he said.
Has driver safety relationship improved with this data?
Pitzel said the biggest change is drivers get to see the data and believe in it. “The greatest thing you get is the credibility from the technology.”
Newton said drivers are starting to accept a critical event for hard braking. The camera has improved coaching with drivers, who are now watching themselves on video. “It really comes down to how you manage that conversation with drivers, whether its going to be disciplinary or punitive,” he said.
Creighton said carriers should not be alarmed to show data to insurers. He said if a company has good processes in place and is following up on everything, they will want to share the data.
Newton said this is a double-edged sword, as some of the data has errors that require human interaction. If an insurance company just looks at the number of events you had, it will probably be dramatic. If they look at events and how to handle them then that’s a positive way to have that partnership, he said.
“On the camera side we probably have 25 to 100 false alerts every month,” he said, and the insurance company must recognize those false events.
Pitzel would welcome insurance companies looking at data if they can see something he is not seeing. “It’s a partnership, if you are coming with a stick that’s a different approach,” he said.
Carrier officials were wary of sharing data with customers. Newton would not share safety events. He was okay with divulging information on detention time at customers.
Pitzel said Bison will share select data with customers and information on detention time is already being shared.
Companies can choose what issues to tackle as they go through the data, focussing on ones that will have the most impact. Managing and utilizing the information can help carriers achieve goals, the panel said.
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