Application of electronic check-in devices for truckers traveling between provinces as of January 1

Starting Jan. 1, the federal government will begin requiring commercial truckers traveling between provinces to track their hours behind the wheel using electronic logging devices.

Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) Replace the Use of Paper Logs Under Federal Regulation — entry into force in June 2021 — aimed at making roads safer by preventing commercial driver fatigue.

The federal regulations only cover commercial trucks and buses that cross provincial and territorial borders. Alberta truckers who do not leave the province are currently not required to use ELDs.

Willie Hamel, president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association, welcomes the change.

« What it does is it allows officials, inspectors, to enforce logging regulations in a much easier way… It reduces driver fatigue and just makes our roads safer. for the traveling public, including our professional drivers, » said Hamel.

Under Federal Hours of Service rules, drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 13 hours per day and they must have at least 10 hours of rest per day, of which at least eight hours must be consecutive. ELDs have been mandatory in the United States since 2017.

No more falsifying the logbook

Before becoming a lead instructor at Derek Brown’s Training Academy, Dan Veno was a long-haul truck driver. At that time, he says he knew many drivers who falsified their hours on their paper logs.

“Logbook manipulation was something that happened quite often. You could be very creative with paper, but you can’t with electronic logs,” Veno said.

Some would keep multiple logbooks – one for each province, he says. In one instance, Veno says a driver he knew drove 42 hours straight from Quebec to Alberta without properly recording him.

According to federal rules, drivers are not allowed to drive more than 13 hours per day and they must have at least 10 hours of rest per day. (Joe Passaretti/CBC Still Photo Collection)

It’s all for « more money, » says Veno. And when they drive that much, fatigue becomes a problem – exactly what the ELD regulations are trying to combat.

« When guys are tired, they don’t stop, they don’t get enough rest. They drive more hours than they should. And then the fatigue sets in and the next thing you know, they get off the road, fall asleep at the wheel. »

Veno says it’s time for Canada to follow through on the regulations, about six years after the United States. He says many companies have already adopted the devices and the transition should be smooth.

« Anything that will make our roads safer, I’m all for. »

Concern about breaks in the day, time management

Janet Smith of iHaul in Calgary has spent the past five months preparing and training drivers to use ELDs. She was a truck driver for 30 years before an injury set her back.

Smith argues that the regulations will only make some drivers’ fatigue worse. With 10 mandatory rest hours per day – eight of which must be consecutive – Smith says the window to meet driving hours is too small to stop for extended breaks during the day.

« At least with paper journals, if you were tired all day, you could stop and take a two-hour nap, » Smith said. « But with e-logs, you can’t do that because you won’t get the 13 hours of driving you are allowed. »

With strict hours of service regulations, she says it’s especially important that drivers learn to manage their time so they don’t get stranded once their 13 hours are over.

« You sort of have a choice. Do I cut my hours by two or an hour and a half, because I won’t be making the next stop? »

Smith says she’s also concerned about older truck drivers who struggle with technology and the potential privacy breaches pirates.


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