Electronic Driver Logs
After a decade of research, the Canadian federal government is finally aligning with existing North American mandates to implement new, state-of-the-art safety regulations through the installation of electronic logging devices in the rigs of transport and bus drivers. Mandatory electronic driver logs (EDLs) are conducive to provincial monitoring compliance, as they expedite the quick and accurate documentation of information and make the manipulation of mitigating safety hazards more difficult. Officials from Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s office confirm reports that Transport Canada will regulate and enforce the usage of EDLs by the end of 2017.
EDLs are designed to accurately and constantly monitor what a truck and its drivers do, and 3 million Canadian commercial drivers will be required to record duty status and details using said systems by December 31st of next year. The Department of Transportation (DoT) estimates that EDLs will cost operators a collective one billion dollars yearly, but with an estimated two-and-a-half billion dollar reduction in paperwork, that expense, paired with dramatically increased road safety, is welcomed by carriers and generally regarded as a guaranteed safety measure offering a generous return on investment.
Doug Switzer, the CEO of Motor Coach Canada, reminds Canadians that industry service providers want to see the execution of new EDL regulation applied unilaterally, and that the onus for its ten-year delay owes not to Canadian carriers, but to an overall lack of governmental discourse and commitment. He says that carriers and drivers have supported the inception of EDLs for years. Similarly, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, touts the benefits of these units to human health and safety, while David Bradley, President of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, also claims that the enforcement of EDL standards is long overdue. Experts agree that the commercial transport industry, a national workplace most commonly sharing of public space, is in dire need of overhaul to its archaic data entry and driver log processing system.
Last year, the American Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that EDLs saved over a billion dollars in administrative costs, and at least 562 injuries and 26 deaths in the United States alone. Ensuring that drivers take rest and meal breaks at appropriate intervals, they contribute significantly to the overall safety and wellbeing of everyone on the road. Truckers and bus drivers are currently allowed to operate for a maximum of 13 hours a day, provided they take legally-mandated meal breaks. They must, however, be off-duty for at least 10 hours a day—8 of which must be consecutive—in order to sleep and properly combat fatigue. EDLs offer a more solid guarantee that drivers take legally required breaks and literally remove the all-to-common temptation employers and drivers have to extend driving periods and overexert work efforts during busy periods, decreasing the risk of accident and illness. Additionally, they promote anti-harassment protocol, ultimately protecting employees from the pressure to drive while exhausted or under the influence of medications.
About half of Canadian trucks currently have EDLs, and most carriers and drivers are excited to participate in their nation-wide application. EDLs have practical and immeasurable merit: They store data in a unified, real time capacity and make entries faster to complete, easier to reference, and more secure. Moreover, they contribute positively to community safety and human health. Carriers and drivers struggle far less with compliancy issues once EDLs are employed, as they prevent speeding, erratic driving, fatigue and falsification of information. In sponsorship of a myriad of Best Practice and Health and Safety protocol, everybody wins with EDLs!