TORONTO, Ont. – A Canadian regulation mandating the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) can’t come “soon enough,” according to David Carruth, CEO at One For Freight.
He was speaking on the subject of ELDs and trucking technologies during a webinar hosted by Omnitracs. One For Freight has already made the transition to e-logs in advance of a U.S. mandate that takes effect Dec. 18, and he would like to see Canada move more quickly to pass a similar regulation.
“All of the data is there for us to make the right decision,” he said. “All the case studies have been done…My question is, why would we not want to do this and do this sooner rather than later?”
He also said the only resistance will come from “companies that do not have a commitment to safety, and do not have a commitment to overall compliance.”
But Stephen Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), said Canada will not likely have fully implemented an ELD mandate of its own until the end of 2019. The proposed rule first has to be published in Canada Gazette 1, which Laskowski said will hopefully be before the end of the year. Then, a 60-day comment period will likely take place, followed by another three to five months of reviewing those comments. The final rule is likely to be published in Canada Gazette 2, sometime in mid-2018 “optimistically,” noted Laskowski, with hard enforcement unlikely to begin before late 2019.
Laskowski said the industry should welcome the mandate.
“The ELD regulation is bringing to head the inefficiencies in the supply chain, especially those the drivers bear the brunt of,” he said. “Inefficiencies at loading docks, inefficient loading times themselves.”
Carruth said his company has seen many benefits since adopting electronic logs. They’ve given him hard data he can use to raise shipper awareness about inefficiencies, One For Freight’s CVOR violation rate has been cut in half, and drivers are now more productive.
Mike Ham, vice-president and general manager of Omnitracs Canada, said customers who switch to e-logs typically free up two to 2.5 hours of drive time per week for drivers, which was previously spent filling paper logs.
“There’s an additional, maybe 100 miles a week a driver may get,” he said, adding time-consuming internal logbook audits are also automated.
Laskowski said an ELD mandate will be “the great cleansing of our industry,” and will force carriers to compete based on sound business practices and innovation rather than ignoring hours-of-service rules.
“The ELD mandate will bring a lot of great things for drivers,” Laskowski added. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the carriers who do it the right way to thrive, and for those who have not been doing it (right), to change or to exit the industry.”
Tom Cuthbertson, vice-president of regulatory affairs at Omnitracs, said ELDs improve communication between drivers and dispatch, and between carriers and shippers.
“The driver has a tool for planning their day better, their interaction with dispatch is better received,” he explained.
But for fleets just now preparing to comply with the U.S. ELD mandate, Cuthbertson warned training is critical.
“The drivers are important and it’s key to make sure they understand what is in these mandates and how it will affect them. It’s just as important that safety managers understand what is in these regulations, the dispatch people, and even the mechanics,” Cuthbertson warned. For example, mechanics will need to know a truck cannot operate legally in the U.S. without a functioning ELD for more than eight days, so repairs must be handled swiftly.
“This educational process must be on every piece of the organization, not only the driver,” he said.
And when training drivers, Cuthbertson suggested spending some time with them inside the cab for some hands-on training.
“Give drivers 10-15 minutes in the cab, that extra time in the cab really raises their awareness,” he said.
Carruth also spoke of other technologies One For Freight is deploying, including cameras inside and around the cab, and collision mitigation systems.
“All the equipment we are now ordering has the most advanced collision avoidance systems on it,” he said.
The OTA’s Laskowski commended that approach, noting most crashes are still due to driver error.
“If you’re really looking to improve on fleet safety and overall safety on the roadways, it’s dealing with human error,” he said. “Even the best and most professional and most committed drivers are still human beings. We are starting to see more technology out there that really aids the driver as opposed to supplements the driver.”
It’s also important, noted Carruth, to take data generated by technology and use it effectively. He cited the example of fuel economy data generated by two owner-operators who ran similar routes and miles, with one achieving 8.64 mpg and the other 5.4 mpg. The company was able to use that data to have a discussion as to what was causing the variation in fuel economy.
“The difference was $24,000 U.S. a year in their pocket,” said Carruth. “Without having that information, I can’t sit in front of both owner-operators and say great work, or this needs to get better. How are we going to use that data to help all our systems?”