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Trimble Duo Certified for Canada’s ELD Mandate + Detailing ELD Platform Enhancements: Q&A with Compliance Expert Frank Stowers

Telematics and electronic logging devices (ELDs) continue to be a hot topic of conversation as the enforcement date of the Canadian ELD mandate grows closer on Jan. 1, 2023.

From a regulatory perspective, Trimble has built on its initial certification for Canada’s ELD mandate with the recent certification of our Trimble Duo all-in-one display and gateway. The Trimble Duo joins our Mobile Gateway and Connected Gateway as certified ELD hardware to provide customers with flexibility in choosing compliant devices that fit their business needs.

To talk more about Canada’s ELD mandate as well as other enhancements to our Trimble ELD platform, we recently caught up with Frank Stowers, compliance product manager, to detail what these enhancements entail and how fleets can ensure their compliance in both the US and Canada.

Nice to talk to you again, Frank! What have you and your team been working on recently?

We’ve recently released an updated ELD mobile release, Version 10.1, that had an emphasis on stability. We knew we wanted to provide customers with something that could be easily and quickly adopted, and we’re proud to say we’ve accomplished that with this release. The release included a lot of exciting changes, including sleeper berth usability, yard move usability, and overall stability of the product. 

Our team is also beginning design work around the user experience management dashboard in Trimble Fleet Manager. So, we’re doing a lot of customer engagement to ensure that we’re on the right track in terms of design for that, prior to our planned usability testing.

As mentioned above, Canada’s ELD mandate remains a hot topic and we’re continuing to work with existing customers to make the switch from Automatic Onboard Recording Devices (AOBRDs) as well as new customers who require ELDs to comply with the Canadian ruleset.

Tell us more about how Trimble engages with customers on new compliance solutions.

Particularly in the ELD space, we know that to create a successful product, or even a specific new feature, we need direct partnership with our customers to fully understand what the business solution needs to be. We try to have our new feature roadmap follow actual business problems that need to be solved, so to understand those problems we need to watch customers use our systems as they go about their day-to-day tasks. Watching them do that helps inform our designs, and acts as a “prelude” to deeper usability testing.

What we’re trying to do more of is bring prototypes to select customers and say, “Use this and tell me about what you feel went well, what you feel needs work, etc.” That level of customer engagement on new products gives us confidence that we’re building the right things in the right way, and ultimately providing the right business solution.

I think this also gives our customers a sense of partnership and a sense of involvement in what it is we’re building for them. Sometimes building new things can take time, and we don’t ever want to give the perception that we’re just developing solutions alone in a dark corner somewhere without receiving direct input from our fleet customers. We want the customer and end user to be seen and heard with every new feature and release that we debut.

What’s new with Trimble’s ELD solution in the US?

We’ve recently made a number of adjustments to the way our ELD functions that align more closely with the intended language of the US ELD mandate.

First is the expansion of Yard Moves, which is essentially an expanded functionality that allows fleets to restrict access to that functionality, based on a driver’s location and established geofences. If a driver is actually in a yard, it would be the only time that the Yard Move option would display to the driver. That's important for helping ensure that drivers remain compliant with current regulations.

Next, our expanded Sleeper Berth functionality is providing drivers with a better look at what their availability is in terms of hours of service (HOS) and ensures proper use of the Sleeper Berth Split functions with a new prompt. We want to make sure our system is very clear about what a driver’s availability will be, depending on what their activity intends to be.

Another noteworthy feature is the introduction of Elements in our redesigned Log Certification process, by removing some of the ELD events that can result in an uncertified day. We believe that in general, this will create significantly fewer uncertified logs and will really focus on fleets that are managing the log certification process and ensuring they remain compliant. 

We continue to add new functionality and update our latest US ELD version on an approximately quarterly basis with the FMCSA’s registry. 

The Canadian ELD mandate is still a top-of-mind in the industry; can you speak to what’s going on with that right now?

The target for enforcement of this mandate continues to be January 2023, and we’re continuing to encourage our Canadian customers to migrate over as soon as possible to be ready in time. 

While everyone is eagerly awaiting updates, there are steps that fleets can take now to be prepared when enforcement does go into effect. A big part of what we’re doing is helping carriers understand the regulation – and one aspect of that is making sure that fleets are truly on an ELD-certified device and not just an AOBRD product. 

It's not uncommon for us to hear from fleets that believe their current solution is compliant, when in reality they are still running an uncertified AOBRD – not an ELD that has been certified by one of Transport Canada’s accredited third-party certification bodies. It never hurts to reach out to your provider to ask, “what do I have?” to make sure that your equipment and drivers are compliant.

Thanks, Frank!

Connect with us today to learn more about Trimble’s new ELD features or to verify your ELD status for compliance with Canadian regulations. Our teams are available to answer any questions you may have to ensure that you and your drivers are ready to be compliant.