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public more than any of the other mode of transportation, yet the enforcement community is relying upon an archaic, outdated way of monitoring and enforcing what is arguably the most important safety rule," said president David Bradley.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

  • U.S. files challenge against Canadian tariffs with WTO

    Economic CTV News
    The United States says it's firing back at the Canadian government's recent retaliatory tariffs on American imports by launching a formal challenge with the World Trade Organization. The federal Liberal government introduced reciprocal duties earlier this month on some U.S. Source
  • Energy stocks weigh on Toronto market, while loonie climbs higher

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Canada's main stock index was in the red in late-morning trading as losses in the energy sector led the way lower. The S&P/TSX composite index was down 77.67 points to 16,483.45, after 90 minutes of trading. Source
  • Ontario trade minister heads to Washington to defend auto industry

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario's trade minister will be travelling to Washington this week to defend the province's auto industry at a U.S. Department of Commerce hearing. Jim Wilson says he will be speaking Thursday at the public hearing to investigate national security issues around imports of automobiles and automotive parts. Source
  • U.S. launches tariff challenge at WTO against Canada, Mexico, Turkey, China and EU

    Economic CBC News
    The United States has launched five separate complaints at the World Trade Organization against Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey, in response to retaliatory tariffs those countries and groups have launched against American products. Source
  • 'Litigation limbo': U.S. takes complaint about Canadian and other tariffs to WTO

    Economic CBC News
    The United States has launched five separate complaints at the World Trade Organization against Canada, China, the European Union, Mexico and Turkey, in response to retaliatory tariffs those countries and groups have launched against American products. Source
  • IMF: World economy likely to grow 3.9 per cent this year

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund is keeping its forecast for global economic growth unchanged at 3.9 per cent this year despite worries about rising trade tensions and higher oil prices. But the lending agency is downgrading the outlook for Europe and Japan. Source
  • South African community introduces its own digital currency

    Economic CTV News
    ORANIA, South Africa -- The white Afrikaner community that famously sprang up in a sparsely populated corner of South Africa at the end of apartheid is now testing a digital currency that could reinforce its sense of independence. Source
  • CREA reports June home sales down 10.7 per cent from year ago, but up from May

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Canadian Real Estate Association says the number of homes sold in June was down 10.7 per cent from a year ago. The result was a five-year low for the month of June. Source
  • Average house price fell 1.3% to $496,000 in past year, CREA says

    Economic CBC News
    Home sales increased last month for the first time this year, but average selling prices are still slightly lower than they were a year ago. AnalysisHouse prices will rise again, but the million-dollar question for buyers and sellers is when?: Don Pittis Source
  • Financial forum: Virtual currencies need close monitoring

    Economic CTV News
    FRANKFURT -- An international forum on financial regulation say virtual currencies such as bitcoin do not currently pose a threat to global stability but require "vigilant monitoring" as the market is changing rapidly. The Financial Stability Board added Monday that that the highly volatile currencies raise concerns about consumer and investor protection and that data on banks' exposure to them remains scarce. Source