“Big Day”: Electronic Recording Devices Become Mandatory in Semi-Trailers in Canada to Fight Driver Fatigue

“Big Day”: Electronic Recording Devices Become Mandatory in Semi-Trailers in Canada to Fight Driver Fatigue

A new era in road safety regulation begins in Canada on Saturday as electronic recording devices that track a driver’s hours behind the wheel become mandatory in semi-trailers traveling between provinces.

Electronic Recording Devices (ELDs) replace the use of paper logbooks and, as of June 12, are a requirement under federal law regulation aimed at preventing fatigue in commercial drivers.

The regulations cover commercial trucks and buses crossing provincial and territorial borders. Industry advocates welcome the change.

“It will force [non-compliant trucking companies] to get in the game and be compliant and be safe or face the consequences, ”said Canadian Trucking Alliance President Stephen Laskowski.

The requirement for certified ELDs will target what he estimates to be about 15 to 25 percent of the trucking industry that routinely grows at regulatory issues – in “an underbelly of our industry, a small underbelly.” but growing, ”Laskowski said.

Under Federal Hours of Service rules, drivers are not allowed to drive more than 13 hours per day and must have at least 10 hours of rest per day, including at least eight consecutive hours.

In developing the ELD regulation, Transport Canada noted that provincial and territorial governments recorded an annual average of 9,400 hours of service violations by drivers between 2010 and 2015.

About a quarter of these concerned exceeding the maximum number of hours for drivers. Another 11 percent were convictions for using two daily logs at the same time, or for falsifying information in a daily log.

Almost half of the hours of service convictions – about 48% – were for failure to keep or produce a daily journal.

“For the industry itself, this will be a big day,” Laskowski said of the new regulations.

“It will make Canada’s roads safer and it will make it a more pleasant industry to work in. “

He says about 70 percent of trucks in Canada already have ELDs, in part because the United States in 2017 started using them gradually.

The difference between the Canadian and US systems, he says, is that ELDs used in Canada will have to go through a third-party certification process designed to make them less susceptible to tampering or data hacking.

Veteran pilot not convinced that ELDs will propel safety

“They are a blessing and a curse,” veteran truck driver Jesse Scobie said at a truck stop in Headingley, just west of Winnipeg, before a trip to California.

“You don’t have to write a paper journal – that’s a good point. But they keep you under control with the electronic journal,” said Scobie, a truck driver for 25 years.

He says ELDs are “just another distraction,” and he’s not convinced the devices will actually improve road safety.

“There are times when it worries you,” he said. “It gives you a little red light, annoying voice warnings.”

He says he has been using an ELD for years, since the devices became mandatory in the United States

The Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that approximately 70 percent of trucks in Canada already have ELDs. The new regulations require devices to undergo third-party certification to make them less likely to be tampered with. (Gary Solilak / CBC)

Even if ELDs become mandatory in Canada on Saturday, Transport Canada says operators will not be penalized for trucks that do not have an approved device before June 2022.

Instead, enforcement action will begin with education and awareness, Transport Canada spokesperson Cybelle Morin said in an email to CBC.

“This period, which will be developed with the support of provinces and territories and in consultation with industry, will give industry sufficient time to obtain and install certified electronic recording devices without penalty,” he said. she declared.

“Transport Canada has learned from the US experience in introducing electronic recording devices, including the challenges associated with the accuracy and reliability of the devices,” said Morin.

“To address these challenges, the department has included the requirement for a third-party certification process to ensure the devices will be tamper-proof,” she said.

Trucks that do not cross borders to other provinces are subject to provincial regulations, and Manitoba’s requirement for ELDs does not come into effect until December 2021.

Laskowski said the trucking alliance also wanted the new requirement to be fully implemented, but added that this will not happen because the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the third-party certification process.

Companies now have one year to get certified logging devices in all of their trucks. Transport Canada says a company called FPInnovations of Pointe Claire, Quebec, is the first accredited to test ELDs for certification. Once a device has been certified, it will be placed on the Transport Canada list. website.

“These devices will need to be tamper-proof certified, which means that at the end of the next 12 months, every truck on the road will be within operating hours,” Laskowski said. “And this is a big step for public safety and it is a big step for the compliant industry that plays by the rules, which is good for public safety and good for business.”

Potential for “malicious activity” exists: FBI

In 2020, the FBI in the United States warned the transportation industry that cybercriminals could “exploit vulnerabilities” in electronic logging devices.

“Researchers have demonstrated that malicious activity can remotely compromise ELDs and send instructions to vehicle components to cause the vehicle to behave in unexpected and unwanted ways,” the FBI cyber division wrote.

ELDs track things such as date, time, location information, engine hours and vehicle identification data, the FBI noted.

Transport Canada says it is aware of the FBI report and has not received any reports of ELD hacking in Canada.

The issue of logbooks was raised when Winnipeg truck driver Sarbjit Matharu was condemned in Toronto court on April 30 in a horrific crash on Highway 400 that killed four people in 2016.

The judge’s written decision indicates that Matharu admittedly made a false entry in his logbook to give the impression that he had slept enough, in case he was arrested and inspected.

A sentencing hearing for Matharu’s conviction on five counts of criminal negligence causing death and bodily harm begins June 21 in Toronto.

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