Don’t discount AOBRDs yet says speaker

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Mandatory electronic logging devices (ELD) are on the horizon for Canadian drivers, but Rihard Suler thinks fleets should consider holding off on upgrading to their systems for as long as they can.

Suler, who works for Isaac Instruments, told an audience at Truck World 2018 that if they are a fleet with the option of using Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRD), they should take advantage of the opportunity.

Cross-border carriers were required to have the devices installed on at least one vehicle in their fleet before the ELD mandate came into effect for the U.S. last year. Those with the devices can continue to use them on all vehicles until 2019, when they too must upgrade.

ELDs are coming to Canada too, with Transport Canada set to implement a regulation making the devices mandatory by 2020. Suler says that date could change though, noting the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has made comments that they would like to see the devices in trucks as soon as possible.

AOBRDs biggest advantages come with added time on the road for drivers, Suler said. Fleets can decide at what point a device will automatically come on, registering a truck’s movement and forcing the driver into an on-duty mode. While U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations state ELDs must move to on-duty status at five miles an hour (eight kilometers per hour).

If someone taps on a driver’s window at midnight and asks him to move his truck, that resets his rest period, forcing him wait another ten hours before he can get moving, said Suler. With an AOBRD that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, as long as the driver stays under their pre-set speed.

What could be a difference of just 10 miles an hour (16 kilometers per hour) between devices, could mean being on the road four hours sooner in the morning.

Other regulations surrounding ELDs – more mandatory instruction manuals in the cab, less flexibility on back office changes – could mean less administrative hassle when sticking to AOBRDs too.

The two devices can look virtually the same on the outside. Isaac’s ELD and AOBRD software systems are delivered on the same hardware. Canadian fleets still using paper logs can choose to upgrade to AOBRDs now without having to shell out for more costly equipment when they’re mandated to switch.

Suler says when making the change to AOBRDs, or deciding to keep ones already installed, it’s important to ensure drivers understand which devices are in their cabs and exactly what they can and can’t do in the event of road-side stop. Not understanding how the system works can lead to frustration, delays, and tickets when asked to provide information that may not be readily available.

Whichever system fleets choose to use, the decision to ditch the log books is a necessary one, which paper becoming a hinder to recruitment and retention as well.

Suler said that while a few years ago electronic logging meant drivers would find a job elsewhere, now the opposite is true. Electronic logging means less time spent on paperwork – something drivers value.

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