Canada’s ELD legislation is coming – and there’s no time to waste
Sometime in the next 18 to 24 months, federally regulated transportation companies in Canada will be required to switch from paper-based driver logs to electronic logging devices (ELDs). While that may seem a long way off, starting to prepare now will give you the opportunity to plan strategically and get maximum value out of your ELD investments.
Why is Canada mandating ELDs?
Simply put, it’s about safety and compliance. ELDs allow dispatchers and admins to track drivers’ hours of service remotely and in real time, making it easier to ensure the people hauling 20 tonnes of freight haven’t been on the road for 12 hours straight. That not only supports safety but also helps avoid fines or service suspensions for non-compliance with regulations.
“With paper logs, you’re finding out a driver is operating outside hours-of-service rules only after those rules have been broken,” says Mike Millian, President of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada. “With ELDs, admins get up-to-the-minute information on every driver in the fleet, seeing their location and how many hours they have left in the day, making it easy to catch violations before they occur.”
The legislation aims to bring regulatory consistency across North America’s trucking industry. While the Canadian law is still in development, the specifications will likely be similar to those that came into effect in the U.S. in December 2017. Thousands of Canadian transporters with cross-border routes already have ELDs installed to comply with the U.S. regulations.
What should transportation companies look for in an ELD solution?
ELDs can deliver business benefits that go beyond better safety alone. They improve log accuracy by eliminating paper-based data-entry errors. They also save drivers about 20 hours a year in log-keeping time, and save admins more than three minutes per log in auditing and filing.
A standalone ELD that purely tracks hours will deliver gains like these and ensure regulatory compliance. However, you can seize an even greater opportunity to improve efficiencies across your operations by adopting a more comprehensive fleet management solution that integrates ELDs with dispatch and other systems. A broader solution makes it possible to monitor unsafe driving practices, idle time and fuel consumption, and get detailed analytics to guide business decisions – on everything from route optimization to maintenance schedules.
“You’re going to be investing a lot of capital on physical connections and displays to be compliant,” says Claude Arpin, Bell’s Senior Product Manager for the Internet of Things. “Looking beyond the core ELD functionality will help you get real value from these platforms.”
Why is it important to start getting ready now?
If you want to deliver to the U.S., you need to be compliant with that country’s ELD legislation already. And with a new Canadian law just around the corner, you don’t want to wait until the last minute to implement.
Even with a two-year phase-in period, many U.S. companies that required ELDs did not have them installed by the December 2017 deadline. (The estimates as to exactly how many ranged anywhere from 33% to 75%, depending on who asked and when, according to Trucks.com.) These companies now face fines or may even be placed out of service until they’re compliant.
“If you try to make this a quick process, it will be utter chaos,” says Millian. “To do it properly, you’re looking at 12 to 18 months.”
A good way to start is by researching multiple suppliers and asking for product demonstrations to make sure solutions will meet their needs. Once you install and test your solution of choice, you should then schedule and deliver ELD training for admins, IT staff, dispatchers and drivers.
In addition to knowing you’ll be compliant when the time comes, adopting a fleet management solution now will help you realize a return on your investment sooner rather than later. A Transport Canada study showed a 2:1 benefit–cost ratio within two years of implementation.
What else should companies keep in mind as they prepare their ELD strategies?
Being informed is important. Make a careful review of both the U.S. regulations and proposed Canadian legislation. That way you can be sure the technologies you adopt will be adequate on both sides of the border.
Second, keep in mind that not every recording device is considered an ELD. Some companies use automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRDs), which lack an ELD’s direct connection to a truck’s onboard diagnostic bus (ODB) to capture dates, times, locations, mileage, engine diagnostic codes and other data. Legacy AOBRDs will not meet the specifications of the new ELD legislation and need to be replaced with entirely new devices.
Finally, consider the network on which your ELDs will be running. It takes a network provider with wide coverage to ensure trucks stay connected wherever they travel.
“You know this change is coming,” explains Arpin. “So take the time to identify the specific business needs you can also address with this mandatory piece of equipment. That way, you get real benefits out of the gate today while future-proofing your investment for when the legislation kicks in.”
Want more advice on how to comply with ELD legislation? Visit our ELD page for more information or contact your Bell Business representative.