Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announces plans for an ELD mandate.
OTTAWA, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is calling on Transport Canada to expedite a mandate for electronic logging devices (ELDs), and even include the devices in trucks back to 1995 model years.
The rules as proposed would apply to trucks with 2000 and later model years, but the alliance wants that date pushed back to 1995.
“By excluding model years 1995 to 1999, CTA believes the number of vehicles excluded in Canada would be approximately 60,000,” it says in the submission. “When the speed limiter regulations were introduced in Quebec and Ontario, the 1995 date was chosen specifically because of the widespread use of electronic control modules in engines.”
That would admittedly apply to a broader range of equipment than the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandate, which took hold Dec. 18. At the very least, the alliance wants provinces to watch for “abuses” of the proposed model year.
While the group had originally asked for a two-year phase in for the devices, it is now asking for the rules to be enforced no later than the fourth quarter of 2019. Transport Canada currently plans a two-year rollout from the time a final rule is published in Canada Gazette Part 2, and that will likely happen by June 2018.
The CTA has also asked the Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Road Safety – representing all provincial transportation ministers – to help ensure the rollout applies to inter-provincial and intra-provincial carriers at the same time. Transport Canada only has jurisdiction over the federally regulated carriers.
Still, the CTA is asking for more leeway when it comes to the time it takes to produce hours of service information for officers. The proposed rules require such data immediately.
“Officers have and will continue to use the term immediately to issue violations, and in more severe cases 72-hour out of service orders. This can cost carriers thousands of dollars per occurrence and if more time is provided it can be completely avoided,” the alliance says. “When officers refuse to allow drivers/carriers who are making a concerted effort to retrieve the HOS information from the ELD, such a punitive approach goes against the spirit of the regulation and against forming partnerships between industry and enforcement.”
The proposed rules require an ELD to function within a minute of an engine starting up, but the alliance is asking for a more reasonable period of time. It also wants the odometer readings to be required on ELDs, to avoid the danger of an officer recording a different odometer reading that might be found on the dash. An ELD is connected directly to the electronic control module and should be the most accurate, after all.
The group is also asking for those who tamper with hours of service records or don’t have an ELD to face the same out of service orders.
As for the data included in printouts and display, the CTA wants an NSC number to be included.
“All carriers and jurisdictions need to abide by the requirements in the [Motor Vehicle Transport Act]. U.S. carriers at present are not required to register and there is no historical record of the carrier’s safety performance outside of Ontario and Quebec. Canadian jurisdictions need to use the ELD proposal to finally address this outstanding issue,” the submission reads.
So, too, is there a call for more guidance to determine if ELDs comply with technical standards. In the U.S., suppliers self-certify their devices, although equipment can be removed from the list of approved devices if it is found to run afoul of the standards. Transport Canada has so far been silent on that issue.
While supporting a 30-day exemption for rented vehicles, the alliance wants the issue to be revisited if it begins to look like carriers and drivers are using the rule to avoid ELDs altogether.
Not every item in the brief is calling for change, though.
The alliance has come out to support Transport Canada’s plans to require no more than eight supporting documents for each 24-hour period relating to bills of lading, dispatch records, expense receipts, electronic mobile communications records, and payroll records. “Where there are less than eight records per day, any records generated would require driver name, location, and date,” it noted, referring to the proposed rules.
“ELDs will ensure optimum compliance with the hours of service regulation, reducing commercial vehicle collisions related to fatigue and cognitive driver distraction,” the CTA said, offering general support. “At a time when every province is looking to reduce fatalities and collisions related to commercial fatigue and distracted driving, we believe every transportation minister should be sharing [federal Transport Minister Marc] Garneau’s comment to see this important legislation take effect as soon as possible.”
The proposed mandate would not apply to those that operate within 160 kilometers of a home terminal, vehicles rented for less than 30 days, or work under federal hours of service permits.