BRITISH COLUMBIA — In response to the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s (CTA) pro-EOBR campaign launched earlier this year, the North American Truckers Guild (NATG) has been running an anti-EOBR campaign for the last month.
While the CTA opted for an electronic-only campaign whereby supporters can send a message to MPs via the CTA website or text message, the NATG’s campaign is a “postcard campaign” — available in both paper format (fittingly) and electronic format.
In an email, Larry Hall, president of NATG, pointed to an earlier postcard campaign by the Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada (OBAC) when it was trying to gather opposition to speed limiters. That campaign failed, but, said Hall in an email: “…when the NATG put it to the test in British Columbia, we managed to put boots on the ground delivering thousands of postcards and drawing enough attention to our disapproval that the BC government decided not to proceed with speed limiters…”
In fact, numbers on the NATG’s website showing the percentage of online postcards filled has the NATG’s home turf of BC leading with 77.53 percent.
“We are doing the best we can with the tools available and it is showing in the filled out postcards and electro signatures,” Hall said in an email.
The Guild’s official position on EOBRs:
Regardless of the recording means, be it electronic or hand written paper logs — the ‘truth’ will remain optional and in the hands of the person entering the information. EOBR’s continue to require human interaction to report ‘On Duty’ and ‘Off Duty’ status and therefore ‘Duty Status’ will remain vulnerable to false entries regardless of the recording method.
Statistical claims of reduction in violations through the use of EOBR’s are skewed because law enforcement officials in large part have not been checking for electronic compliance at roadside since most officers currently lack the equipment and or training to do so.
Statistical data [that] is deliberately misrepresented will not guide us to a satisfactory conclusion. Acceptable solutions will only be attained through prudent analysis of the problems affecting the industry and addressing those issues at the root cause.
For David Bradley and the CTA, “Paper logs are an ineffective and archaic way to monitor compliance with the hours of service regulations for both the regulators and the industry; if the rules were introduced to combat driver fatigue and we’re serious about making our highways safer, then the MPs need to get behind an EOBR mandate,” Bradley said during the initial launch of the CTA campaign.
Bradley added that there are a growing number of drivers who are coming to see EOBRs not as a threat, but as a “positive thing.”
With both pro- and anti- EOBR advocates making noise around the issue in order to get the attention of MPs, it looks like a more robust conversation on the mandating of EOBRs in Canada is going to happen sooner rather than later, especially in the wake of decisions being made south of the border.
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