Canada to require bus and truck drivers to log hours electronically

MONTREAL - After years of study, the federal government says it will implement new safety regulations in two years that are aligned with U.S.

See Full Article

efforts to tackle fatigue among truck and bus drivers.

Drivers will be required to electronically record their hours on the road, says Transport Canada, marking a change from the mandatory paper logs that have been in use since the 1930s.

The regulations would cover cross-border and interprovincial travel and should be in place when similar rules in the U.S. come into force in late 2017, Transport Canada says.

The changes will be "operationally feasible for the industry" and aligned as much as possible with provinces and the U.S., said Transport Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier.

"The technical specifications and standards for electronic logging device (ELD) technology may differ slightly between the U.S. and Canada, but should not be necessarily inconsistent," she wrote in an email.

In making the changes, the Liberal government is following through on a commitment made last year by former transport minister Lisa Raitt. But the Conservatives did not set a timeline.

Industry players have been frustrated by how long it has taken Ottawa to change the regulations.

"We have been talking about this for 10 years," said Motor Coach Canada CEO Doug Switzer.

"Ironically, the industry would like to see regulations on these kinds of things and it's the government that is dragging their feet on it."

Once implemented, commercial truck and bus drivers will be required to record their hours behind the wheel with devices that automatically record driving time by monitoring engine hours, vehicle movement, kilometres driven and location information.

The devices are estimated by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to annually save US$1 billion in administrative costs, about 26 lives and prevent 562 injuries. Similar Canadian figures weren't available.

The units also make it easier for provincial officials monitoring compliance and should address concerns that handwritten forms could be doctored.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance says the move towards electronic logs will bring the industry into the 21st century.

"Our industry shares its workplace with the public more than any of the other mode of transportation, yet the enforcement community is relying upon an archaic, outdated way of monitoring and enforcing what is arguably the most important safety rule," said president David Bradley.

The devices, which cost an average of a couple of thousand dollars depending on type of unit, track hours on the road and rest periods to help companies to better manage their fleet.

Truckers and bus drivers can be behind the wheel for up to 13 hours in a day but must be off-duty for 10 hours, eight of which must be consecutive.

Bradley said about half of Canadian trucks have or are in the process of installing electronic devices.

TransForce, one of North America's largest trucking companies, said the devices are already installed in all of its big fleets in the U.S.

"It's just the small guys that are not ready yet but they will have to get ready for the end of 2017," CEO Alain Bedard told analysts during a conference call Friday.

There is general acceptance among drivers, even though privacy concerns have been raised because the electronic devices allow companies to track their every move, says Leo Laliberte, assistant director of the freight division of Teamsters Canada, which represents about 25,000 truckers in the country.

In addition to reducing fatigue, the devices and anti-harassment provisions in U.S. regulations protect workers from being forced by companies facing driver shortages to work longer hours, he said.

Laliberte said the regulations in Canada should take into account the country's unique challenges, including longer travel distances and fewer rest stops compared to the U.S.

"In Canada, you've got to plan like five hours ahead to make sure that you'll be at a truck stop when your machine is going to tell you you won't have any more hours," he said.

Joanne Ritchie, executive director of the Owner-Operator's Business Association of Canada, said small fleet owners also aren't opposed to the adoption of new technology but favour a voluntary system that includes incentives.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • TransCanada sends more crews to Keystone pipeline leak

    Economic CTV News
    AMHERST, S.D. -- TransCanada Corp. says the company has sent additional crews and equipment to the site of a 210,000-gallon oil spill from its Keystone pipeline in South Dakota. TransCanada said Saturday it is making progress in its investigation into the spill cause on farmland in Marshall County, near the North Dakota border, about 250 miles (402 kilometres) west of Minneapolis. Source
  • U.S. treasury chief a Bond villain? Mnuchin OK with comparison

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday he had no idea that a photo of him and his wife posing with a sheet of newly printed money would go viral. And he said he's not bothered that some commentators suggested the pair looked like James Bond villains. Source
  • 'Never a dull moment': Lawsuit, NAFTA claim, Fairfax partnership spur optimism, tension in Churchill

    Economic CBC News
    The future of the rail line to Churchill remains uncertain after a week that involved a lawsuit, an international trade challenge and the entry of a new, powerful player into the picture. The week's developments have raised cautious optimism in northern Manitoba, but also questions about the future of Arctic shipping and of communities along the northern rail line. Source
  • Truckers take cautious approach to all-electric vehicles

    Economic CBC News
    All-electric trucks have the potential to save money for fleet operators, particularly if maintenance costs prove to be lower than diesel, but there are still some significant barriers to their adoption, according to trucking industry veterans. Source
  • How to buy a car without getting ripped off: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    How a student gamed rewards points This Montreal law student student racked up enough free rewards points to travel the world. Here's how he did it: he used his credit card to buy silver coins from the Mint and collect rewards points, then deposited the coins and paid off the card. Source
  • Honda recalls Odyssey minivans after dozens of reported injuries

    Economic CBC News
    Honda is recalling about 900,000 of its Odyssey minivans because the second-row seats may tip forward if not properly latched.Honda recalls 2.1 million vehicles worldwide over fire riskPHOTOS | Owner of fire-razed Honda Accord wants action after company recallThe recall announced Saturday covers vehicles from the 2011-17 model years. Source
  • 'This is bunk': WestJet apologizes for misleading passengers about why it cancelled flights

    Economic CBC News
    In response to a CBC News investigation, WestJet has admitted it mistakenly told passengers that hurricane-related airport restrictions had forced it to cancel Turks and Caicos flights. The airline now says it actually cancelled flights from Oct. Source
  • BlackBerry COO Marty Beard resigning to deal with family situation: CP

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- A person with knowledge of the situation says that BlackBerry Ltd.'s chief operating officer has resigned in order to deal with a family health issue. The source who spoke on condition of anonymity says that Marty Beard will leave the company effective Dec. Source
  • Loblaw pre-orders 25 Tesla electric trucks for undisclosed price

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it is among the first purchasers of Tesla's new electric truck. Canada's largest supermarket chain (TSX:L) says it has pre-ordered 25 of the vehicles called the Tesla Semi. Source
  • Canadian funds like energy stocks despite potential rejection in Norway

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Oil and gas investments may have soured for managers of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund but a Canadian fund says it has plenty of room for such securities in its portfolio. In a letter this week, Norway's central bank urged the Norwegian government to consider divesting oil and gas company shares held in the US$1-trillion oil fund to avoid the risk of permanently lower commodity prices. Source