Prepare for ELD mandate now, suppliers say

John G Smith

Canada’s ELD mandate won’t be fully enforced until June 2022, but some of the country’s largest ELD suppliers are stressing that it’s already time to begin preparing for the change.

The central message emerged on Thursday during an online “town hall” presentation hosted by the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

(Photo: istock)

“The sooner you act and get involved in the process and start installing technology, the smoother the transition will be,” said Geoff Wood, CTA’s senior vice-president – policy.

The mandate, which so far is limited to federally regulated carriers, requires ELDs that are certified by a recognized third party. FPInnovations, the only body cleared to ensure the devices meet underlying technical standards, has yet to certify a device.

Lessons to learn

But suppliers participating in the webinar stressed the value of introducing ELDs as early as possible, to answer any questions before the regulations are fully enforced.

There are some exemptions, said Isaac Instruments compliance and safety specialist Melanie Simard, referring to carriers running within 160 km of a home base, short-term equipment rentals lasting no longer than 30 days, and equipment manufactured before Model Year 2000.

But Marc Moncion, Fleet Complete’s vice-president – safety, compliance and regulatory affairs, stressed that many of the Canadian exemptions differ from those that currently apply in the U.S. Personal use in Canada, for example, will only apply to trips up to 75 km, and be limited to bobtailing vehicles or straight trucks without goods. Drivers in these cases will need to enter their starting and ending odometer readings as well.

It’s just one of the lessons that can be learned once ELDs are being actively used.

Learning from the past

“We’re able to see what happened in the past and see what happened with the U.S. mandate and learn from that experience,” said Anthony Mainville of Attrix, referring to the flood of fleets that waited until the last minute.

He asked fleets to imagine how nervous drivers will be when facing their first roadside inspection with an ELD. Some early experience will help ease such fears.

Suppliers also stressed that equipment can be updated after it’s on the road, once certification is secured.

“Those updates will be done over the air,” said Fred Fakkema, vice-president – safety and compliance with Zonar. “It doesn’t really impact your operation.”

Changing operations

But ELDs will affect operations in other ways, adding to the value that comes with early experience.

“Every vehicle movement counts when you get in the ELD world,” noted Mike Ahart, vice-president -regulatory affairs at Omnitracs. “As soon as the vehicle reaches 8 km/h it is going to put that driver – whoever it is – into a drive segment.”

Such moves include mechanics who are shuttling vehicles, or a driver in a sleeper who is asked to move to a safer location. If the driver isn’t logged into the ELD, it’s going to be an unidentified driving segment that will later have to be adjudicated. Only errors made by team drivers can be corrected by assigning the time to someone else.

“People in the organization are going to have to be trained,” Ahart says. “Every hour is accounted for now.”

The training time will also help people familiarize themselves with malfunction indicators and diagnostic processes, said Frank Stowers, senior product manager at Trimble Transportation.

Configuring ELDs

New drivers also need to be properly configured with the ELD, Mainville said, noting that details like licence numbers or vehicle information are often missing when fleets familiarize themselves with the equipment. “Most vendors will even have the capacity to do simulations to make sure that all the information is properly entered.”

“It’s not only training for the drivers, but it’s also training for the support staff that are working with the drivers,” Fakkema said.

Wood listed several questions to ask vendors when shopping for an ELD: How long have you been an ELD vendor? Where are you in the third-party certification process? What training resources are available?

Simard recommended asking pointed questions about the certification process, to see whether a company has filed applications for certification, and where they are in terms of the 450-plus test cases that have to be passed.

Finding a fit

It’s about finding a fit for an operation, Mainville said, referring to those who might want to opt for an iOS-based system to support iPads. In contrast, other fleets may prefer dedicated terminals that work on an Andoid platform that won’t share data through a Google Play service in the background.

Anyone who tries to reach a U.S. vendor that doesn’t even answer the phone should question whether the supplier is going to invest around $50,000 to certify a device, Ahart added.

“The vendor has to have enough business in Canada to even justify that amount of money.”

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • YES someone best get the common sense ball rolling fast for the sake of ELD providers & more so for truckers!! Only truckers & companies that currently use ELD’s know what a HUGE & extremely confusing transition this is from paper. I sure hope the people certifying the ELDs are truckers. We are currently using the worst “internet based” ELD (out of 3 we’ve used). The others were satellite based and 100% better than this one… the thing can’t pinpoint a location anywhere near accurate. When we park in a City in the southern interior of BC it flags a location in Washington! When we park for a weekend at home the ELD location indicates that we are on the complete opposite side of a major Alberta city… 42 km (26 miles away)! This is all just going to be a s*** storm in Canada.

  • 1. Will the ELD allow entries outside of cell service? Or logout and do nothing?
    2. Will the ELD pull the correct data from the truck (odometer readings)
    3. The ELD tracks to the second.
    4. The data between the office and the tablet will be different occasionally.
    5. Will the ELD actually adjust hours available to prevent violations? Or allow the driver to go into a violation and then report the violation to the office?
    6. If outside cell service, no way to forward log records to a roadside inspection. And if your ELD refuses to work, without access to its server, then what? Get a ticket for not having a logbook?

    Yes I am using an ELD and these are the issues I am dealing with.

  • I wonder how many head of cattle are going to die along side hwy 17 and 11 because of this stupidity?? I just hope that the government of this country is prepared to own each and every death caused by the stupidity of this ELD crap!

  • It would be nice for Canadians if the rule for Personal Conveyance was changed to read “an unladen unit” rather than a bobtail.
    With ‘married’ equipment and multiple connections, including hydraulics, bobtailing is not in the cards.
    If an empty straight truck is ok, whay not an empty trailer?

  • ELD have been out for quite some time I was using People’s Net in around 2012 and we had a course at the company site to teach us how to work with it but it was too new for a lot of driver and more demand to extend the time before it is mandatory to be on it.
    I don’t mind it and it is easy to work with any kind of ELD and it could save your butt or punish it it all depend on what way you look at it.

  • The government will never listen to us or transport Canada will never listen to a truck driver they need to get into a truck and be out there for two months and see for themselves were truckers have to sit with no washrooms there is no reason we cannot take our trailer with us to the next truckstop if 75 km is so much unsafe I guess we don’t need no truckers out there. Just needs to be changed I will not drop my trailer at a customer to go to a truckstop do use washroom or get washed up or to get a bite to eat and come back in my trailer we might be gone. There is more freight theft going on now than ever I will be taking my trailer with me and let the judge decide on the ticket.