Ontario officers begin ELD training, bus operators getting one-year reprieve

Ontario Ministry of Transportation personnel are now in the midst of lessons about electronic logging devices (ELDs) as they prepare to enforce related rules beginning June 12, 2022.

“We’re going to get them trained up,” said Richard Robinson, team leader with the ministry’s carrier enforcement program, during an update at Isaac Instruments’ annual user conference.

(File photo: John G. Smith)

The training sessions, expected to last until the early months of 2022, will not represent the last of the lessons. “It will be a constant as we learn more about these devices, how they work, how better to inspect them, and what things to look for – for the ones that are trying to cheat them,” he said.

Ontario teams will apply the rules to federally regulated carriers as well as those that operate exclusively in the province.

“June 12, 2022 is the magical date that it will become law in Ontario,” Robinson said.

Federally regulated carriers have officially faced an ELD mandate since June 2021, but enforcement was delayed, largely because of a lack of certified devices. Seven ELD models have been approved so far.

There will be some exemptions, though.

Drive-away-tow-away operations are officially exempted in Ontario, and bus drivers will see an additional one-year enforcement delay. “We’re giving an extra year for the bus industry just because the tourist industry was hit extremely hard in this pandemic, and much was shut completely down,” Robinson said.

Other provincial exemptions will mirror a federal mandate, such as short-term rentals of less than 30 days, vehicles that remain within 160 km of their home terminal, and commercial vehicles built before 2000. In the latter situation, the vehicle age applies to the truck and not the engine.

“The engine does not dictate what model year the truck is,” Robinson said.

But while acknowledging ongoing challenges to find truck parking, he stressed that the allowable driving hours remain unchanged.

“We’re not changing the Hours of Service. That’s what everyone has to remember,” he said. “The rules are what they are. They aren’t changing.” And that means no added flexibility for drivers who are still searching for a parking spot as their available hours tick away.

“A lot of it can be avoided by better planning,” Robinson said. “Don’t push every day to get the max driving. Stop when you can.”

But he did say that he expects enforcement officers to use their discretion when it looks like a truck driver has moved maybe just 100 meters to reposition their vehicle during an off-duty period. Related GPS coordinates will show cases where someone had to move just to clear the way for another truck to exit, he said.

“It fully depends on the officer, on the situation.”

In the meantime, he stressed the need for drivers to receive further training in the ELDs they use.

“Just know how to work through the device, how to bring up the current log, previous logs, how to be able to send it to the officer, to transfer that information,” he said.