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How ELD adoption will drive the transportation industry forward

We sat down with an industry expert to discuss how Canada’s ELD mandate will affect commercial transportation 

Truck driver

For an industry focused on the efficient movement of goods, the potential operational disruptions of being mandated to implement electronic logging devices (ELDs) may justifiably elicit concerns. Whether you’re an owner worried about an expensive rollout or a driver concerned with adopting a new technology, ELD integration may cause some hesitation. However, early adoption of ELDs in the U.S. market has shown dramatic increases in driver safety as well as reduced costs in overall fleet management. 

The Canadian ELD mandate applies to federally regulated carriers: all companies that provide transportation across provincial lines

Professional truck drivers are needed more than ever—yet there are fewer and fewer available (the average age of a driver is 48 and rising). The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a surge in demand for the transportation of goods, which is encouraging drivers to consider working longer hours. ELDs can help promote safety while freeing up drivers from time-consuming administrative duties.

To gain further insights into ELDs, we sat down with Marc Moncion, Vice President of Safety, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs for Fleet Complete. For over 25 years, Marc has worked in numerous transportation management roles and as a front-line inspector and auditor for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Marc is also a member of Transport Canada’s ELD Stakeholder Advisory Committee. He has written several articles and blogs on transportation, and continues to provide commentary on emerging technology, best practices and regulatory affairs within the transportation industry. The son of a professional truck driver, Marc continues to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

More than just compliance

While ELDs will be mandatory for many types of Canadian transportation operations on June 12, 2021, Marc notes “several carriers are already complying because they deliver goods to the U.S. and must by default follow U.S. ELD rules, which took effect on December 18, 2017.”  By offering distinct advantages for drivers, dispatchers and owners, the integration of ELDs for these fleets has proven valuable beyond simple compliance. 

To better understand these advantages, it is worthwhile to consider how ELDs have positively impacted U.S. motor carriers. Based on research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), we can easily identify the advantages ELDs offer. According to the FMCSA, motor carriers with ELDs have experienced a significant drop in hours of service (HOS) violations and driver fatigue. 

“At the current time, ELDs assist in three major areas: hours of service compliance, accident frequency and severity, and the frequency of unsafe driving behaviours.”

Ultimately, the implementation of ELDs comes from concerns over safety—ensuring drivers are not placed in positions that endanger their lives or others. Marc explains, “At the current time, ELDs assist in three major areas: hours of service compliance, accident frequency and severity, and the frequency of unsafe driving behaviours.” These metrics are crucial when discussing driver safety. Based on Marc’s research, the U.S. mandate has already achieved its first goal by improving HOS compliance and reducing safety violations by drivers. Similar results are expected in Canada, following the June 2021 federal mandate.  

Save time and money with ELDs

Truck drivers on iPad

But the benefits go beyond safety. “ELDs minimize driver and motor administrative burden. What used to be paper is now done electronically. That saves time and money.” To quantify some of the savings, the FMCSA assumes the average driver fills out 240 records of duty status (RODS) per year. With an ELD, they estimate drivers can cut their logging time by 4.5 minutes per RODS—or 19 hours each year. In paperwork alone, this allows the FMCSA to conservatively estimate a yearly motor carrier savings of US$705 per driver.

While Canada’s ELD mandate will come into effect June 12, 2021, many Canadian transport companies have already anticipated the impact of this new technology. The Canadian Trucking Association estimates that the combined expenditure savings could be $255.4 million, annualized at $36.4 million. 

This estimate considers the various costs often associated with the transport industry. For example, a portion of the savings was derived from the safety benefits of ELDs and their impact on reducing property damage, and drastically reducing driver injuries and fatalities. 

“Of course, beyond repairs and fines, the additional cost of accidents and HOS violations is that they keep drivers from being able to do their jobs.” Even a minor accident will cause significant delays, and HOS violations can lead to lost time in out-of-service detention, increased truck insurance premiums and loss of freight opportunities. 

Progress and moving forward

While many Canadian carriers need to update their fleets with ELDs by June 12, 2021, the installation of ELDs has already been completed by 56.5% of trucks operating in Canada. For those that have yet to adopt ELDs into their fleet, Marc suggests adopting the systems early. “You avoid having to rush implementation and you also give all staff in a fleet—including front-line drivers and dispatchers—the time to be properly trained and comfortable with new ELD systems.” 

Want more information on integrating ELDs into your operations? Click here to learn more about ELD fleet solutions from Rogers.