The impending electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is a story that just seems to keep going on and on. On the Canadian side of the border, the original technical standard that was produced by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) was finalized in 2013, after several years of discussions and consultations. The rule was largely based on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ELD technical standard produced south of the border, with changes made to ensure that Canadian regulations and challenges were addressed.
The original FMCSA mandate was to take effect in 2012, however was withdrawn and held in abeyance as a result of a court challenge.
The FMCSA was ordered to go back to work on the standard before reintroducing it. The U.S. final rule was again published in December 2015, with the compliance date being effective Dec. 18, 2017. Back in Canada, the CCMTA revised its technical standard and reissued it in late 2016.
Indications at the time were that the standard and proposed regulation would be posted in Canada Gazette Part 1 by the spring of 2017 (after it was originally indicated this would occur in late fall/early winter of 2016). This would be followed by a 60-day comment period, then published in Canada Gazette Part 2, once comments were addressed, with a two-year grandfather period before it became law.
Here we are, in the summer of 2017, and the proposed regulation has yet to be published. Considering how slowly things can move up the ladder in government, I guess I should not be surprised. However, it is becoming slightly frustrating. It is time to get the standard published in Canada Gazette Part 1 so all in the industry can view the standard, comment on it, express their concerns, and then move to the next phase of the process.
On the U.S. side of the border, a recent Senate bill was introduced by Texas Rep. Brian Babin. It looks to delay the implementation of the U.S. rule by two years, to December 2019. Most in the inner circle do not expect this bill to pass, however there are no guarantees in politics, which is especially true south of the border these days.
It is interesting that the latest attempt to delay the legislation in the U.S. is just that, a delay. It is not looking to get the mandate thrown out, however if this delay tactic works, I assume the challenge portion will follow. I, for one, hope the tactics south of the border do not influence Transport Canada’s plans. It is well past the time to get the proposed legislation posted in Canada Gazette Part 1 and get things moving to the next level. Another round of delays is not needed, nor warranted. We have been sitting in limbo with ELDs for long enough.
One thing appears clear for all in the industry to see: it is not a matter of if the ELD mandate comes into effect on either side of the border, but a matter of when. This being the case, let’s move forward.
On that front, one word of advice for carriers out there. If you are a Canadian carrier who operates into the U.S., the law currently states you must have an FMCSA-compliant ELD in use by December 2017.
If you are waiting and hoping for a delay, and one does not occur, you will find yourself in a mad dash to make your fleet compliant. This is not a simple flip of the switch. You need to research suppliers, schedule installations, train your operations, IT department, and drivers. You will also need to check and verify that your current routes can be completed legally. If you are a Canada-only fleet, you may have a bit more time, with finalized dates not yet known, but it is coming, and likely within the next couple of years. If you are not already doing this, start researching and start planning for implementation. The government will get this published eventually, and when they do, the lead time may not be what we envisioned.
Mike Millian is president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada, the only national association that represents the views and interests of the private fleet industry. He can be reached at email@example.com.