Leveraging Canadian ELDs for doing much more than Elogs

by ISAAC Instruments

Motor carriers in Canada are preparing for the upcoming ELD mandate. Those who are still planning to purchase ELDs have time to assess their business needs, review competitive offerings, test functionality, and make a decision to start a roll-out.

No matter the present circumstances for ELD adoption, fleets will need to train drivers and support staff to prepare for the rule changes. As you evaluate new technology to maximize your return on investment, here’s what you need to know for a successful ELD implementation and for adding value while you’re at it.

Training for success

Communication and training are critical to avoid common mistakes and oversights that, if left unchecked, will cause roadside violations and unnecessary compliance and legal risks.

At a minimum, training for the Canadian ELD rule should cover questions that will arise in the daily activities of drivers, driver managers, and safety personnel. Some of the most common questions are about what to do in a malfunction and diagnostic (M&D) event, proper logging of the personal use of a vehicle, and transferring logbook records to enforcement officers.

In addition to holding live and virtual training events, motor carriers should provide self-help resources for drivers and office personnel to find answers while in the field.

“We too often forget that for drivers, every minute spent troubleshooting a problem instead of driving has a direct impact on their paycheck,” said Manon L’Espérance, product manager of ISAAC Instruments, who has 20 years of experience training and supporting the operations of Groupe Robert, a top Canadian fleet. “We must be respectful of this reality and avoid as many lost minutes as we can.”

Dispatchers and driver managers will also benefit from receiving the same training given to drivers. This will help them provide first-level support to drivers when they need to make log adjustments, for example, and answer questions that arise.

The use of remote assistance capabilities can streamline both training and office support, if the ELD system allows it. “Being able to see the driver’s tablet screen right on your office computer and take control to help out saved us countless hours and relieved stress for our drivers,” said Manon L’Espérance, who frequently used a remote assistance feature to support drivers at Groupe Robert.

Anticipating the unexpected

The Canadian hours-of-service regulations do not change, but ELD regulations change how data is recorded. This change in method has an operational impact that users may not expect and must be made aware of.

If a driver fails to immediately confirm a change in status from driving to non-driving after setting the parking brake, the driver might end up with added minutes of driving time. Unless drivers know about this, they could be surprised at the remaining driving hours appearing on their log and distrust the system. They will be taking minutes out of their day to ask management why they have fewer driving hours than expected.

Drivers also need to know they’ll have to approve any changes that are made to their logbooks by management. ELD regulations aim to give drivers full control of their daily log.

Another function drivers need to understand is how ELDs will automatically report driving activity on a driver’s log if they travel above 8 km/h. They will need to activate the “yard move” mode to avoid logging undue driving hours.

What about maintenance and compliance teams?

Besides training drivers, dispatchers and safety personnel on the possible impacts of the ELD rule, the needs of those involved with truck maintenance should also be considered. Since mechanics are moving the trucks inside the shop to perform maintenance and repairs, fleets should train them on how to log yard moves.

ELD rule changes also directly impact safety and compliance managers. One of the most important areas of training is how to manage unassigned driving hours. Those who are tasked with monitoring and handling the records need to wait for approval of drivers after they assign hours.

Preparing for the future

Many fleets are still making product decisions ahead of the ELD deadline. A number of offerings go beyond compliance by leveraging technology to:

  • Improve driver training and coaching
  • Gamify the driver experience with scorecards
  • Enhance safety with notifications to foster timely inspections and safe driving
  • Create paperless workflows between the office and cab to increase efficiency
  • Automate other tasks through deeper integration with back-end systems

Tandet, a diversified transportation company based in Oakville, Ontario, was using a fleet management platform from a vendor that was struggling to keep up with its business integration needs. Finding a vendor with API-driven architecture became critical.

The company selected an ELD and fleet management supplier with advanced cloud technology and an open API for superior integration with its transportation management software (TMS) system. The company also benefitted from its ELD platform having real-time driver coaching and feedback, explained Corey Cox, VP of Information Services.

Planning makes a difference

As the trucking industry continues to move to new levels of automation, carriers will benefit from being aligned with vendors having a product roadmap that meets their critical needs today and in the future. Motor carriers that take the time now to properly evaluate all of their current and future training and technology needs will be prepared to capitalize on new and emerging opportunities.

ISAAC’s clients chose a solution to get more than an ELD and go beyond compliance. Read their feedback to help you in your search of your perfect ELD fit.

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  • E logs are a good thing only if the parking problem is solved and truck drivers are hourly paid as a trade pay rate and get overtime after 10 hours per day. Also all receiver’s in Ontario need to have plan for overnight truck parking and do away with fines for up to 16 hours late.