Skip to main content

Navigating the Road to Compliance with Canada’s ELD Mandate: A Q&A with Trimble’s Frank Stowers

As a product manager for Trimble Transportation, Frank Stowers is focused on helping fleets utilize technology to maintain their safety and compliance, including with the upcoming Canadian electronic logging device (ELD) mandate.

We recently sat down with Frank to learn more about Canada’s ELD mandate and how fleets subject to the regulation can successfully make the switch to compliant technology.

 

Tell us more about your background. What do you do at Trimble?

I serve as the Product Manager for our ELD and Compliance product suite. I work with internal and customer stakeholders to ensure our product aligns with expectations of the market, while aligning it to meet the requirements of regulatory bodies. I’ve been with Trimble for 9 years, and throughout my time I have primarily focused on our in-cab driver experience.

 

What are the rules of the Canada ELD mandate, and how does it compare to the U.S. ELD mandate that went into effect in 2019?

Much like the U.S. mandate, Canada’s ELD rule has specific guidelines for what types of fleets are required to migrate to ELDs by the deadline of June 12, 2021. This includes those with:

  • Vehicles operating outside a radius of less than 160 km from their home base of operations (same as today)

  • Vehicles that are model year 2000 or newer

  • Lease or rental agreements of more than 30 days

 

Fleets that do not have any existing HOS permits or exemptions pertaining specifically to oil fields and certain other regimes operating outside the standard are also required to migrate.

One key difference between the two mandates is how ELD vendors are certified. In the U.S., the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a self-certification process for third-party ELD vendors to register and certify their devices. Canada’s mandate is different, with Transport Canada partnering with Standards Council of Canada (SCC) to identify certification bodies (CBs) to certify all ELDs for their use.

 

How will this mandate maximize driver efficiency and safety?

In addition to streamlining how Hours of Service (HOS) information is collected, fleets can harness ELDs to capture a large amount of driver and vehicle-centric data to help optimize available hours, spot compliance issues and feed this information into key back office maintenance, dispatch and safety systems.

From a safety standpoint, ELDs can help fleets make a tangible impact on the safety of their drivers and vehicles. In fact, FMCSA estimates that ELD use will result in 1,844 crashes avoided annually, 562 fewer injuries per year and 26 lives saved each year.

 

The Canadian ELD enforcement date is June 12, 2021. Why is it important for fleets subject to the regulation to start planning their switch to ELDs sooner rather than later?

Whether a fleet is transitioning from paper logbooks or migrating from Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs), a change like this is more involved than just flipping a switch. A move to ELDs is likely to impact workflows throughout a fleet’s operations and how you manage this change will be a key factor in your success.

Things to consider include training drivers and back office personnel on both the in-cab and back office components of the ELD platform as well as examining company policies and procedures to ensure they align with the mandate’s rules and updating them, as needed.

In addition to these steps, the sooner you make the switch to ELDs the faster you can leverage the vast amount of HOS data to your advantage. By having driver and vehicle information at your fingertips, the more readily you can pair available capacity with freight to reduce empty miles, backhauls and improve driver efficiency. This can ultimately result in enhanced shipper and carrier collaboration and a more connected transportation supply chain.

 

What are the important steps for ensuring compliance from drivers with this new mandate?

As mentioned above, training will be key to ensure a fleet’s (and their drivers’) success. In addition to understanding how to utilize an ELD, fleets should also help drivers understand how the mandate impacts editing driver records as well as off-duty use of trucks (also known as Personal Conveyance or PC). Focusing on these topics now will help avoid driver questions and reduce the likelihood of needing to edit a driver record to after the fact.

Another key focus area for fleets is how enforcement and roadside inspections will work in an ELD world. Fleets and their drivers should review ELD-related information in the North American Out-of-Service (OOS) Criteria. This resource highlights the pass/fail criteria for all vehicle inspections so that fleets and drivers can understand what items may put them at risk of being placed out of service.

 

What are the benefits to using Trimble’s eDriver Logs® solution compared to other ELD vendors?

At Trimble, we are actively working with our customers to transition to ELDs and have submitted our product for certification ahead of the June 12 deadline.

We have offered an electronic logging solution for nearly 20 years, first with our eDriver Logs® AOBRD and now an ELD version of eDriver Logs. We have seen how electronic logs have helped drivers not only operate safely, but also enable them to maximize productivity and make the most of their available hours.

Just as we did with the U.S. ELD mandate in 2019, we continue to evolve our platform to meet the requirements of changing regulations and to ensure our customers’ continued compliance. We back that commitment with a dedicated team of transportation experts who are helping fleets understand the steps of migration and how to use this change to their advantage.

 

Anything else you’d like to add?

As mentioned above, we are actively engaged with customers to help them understand the mandate and the need to migrate. 

Looking for more details on how to make the switch in your business? Feel free to reach out to us today to learn more about our eDriver Logs solution and how we can help you and your drivers maintain compliance, both in the U.S. and Canada.