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ELD: The Road to a Smarter, Safer & More Sustainable Fleet

Autosphere » Fleet » ELD: The Road to a Smarter, Safer & More Sustainable Fleet
The Canadian ELD mandate comes into effect on January 1, 2023. Visit telus.com/fleet for more details. Photo Getty Images

Safety challenges in the transportation sector are rising.

The statistics underscore the reality: approximately 10,000 Canadians are seriously injured due to collisions involving a heavy truck each year. Additionally, even when per-distance-traveled is considered, large trucks have a fatality rate double that of all other vehicles.

Passenger vehicles are sharing busier and busier highways with more big trucks — 24/7, in all types of road conditions. While the importance of improving road safety is obvious, putting plans and rules into place that the transportation and logistics industry can easily adopt is a significant challenge.

The challenges are only exacerbated when other factors are taken into account, such as driver health and wellness, gaps in training, staffing shortages, and supply chain challenges–making it critical for fleets to run on time. 

The ELD Mandate for the use of electronic logging devices may be the catalyst for positive change. 

What is the ELD mandate and what does it mean for your fleet?

A primary objective of the ELD mandate is to improve safety for commercial drivers. With the mandate in place, the goal is to reduce driver fatigue and accidents and manage Hours of Service (HOS) considerations.

Another key initiative for the mandate, however, is to prevent drivers from falsifying logs. Drivers may falsify trucking logs due to pressure they feel from external forces or from within to work more hours than what is legally allowed.

The ELD  mandate will require commercial motor vehicle operators and bus drivers to use electronic devices to log Hours of Service. The assumption is that ELDs make it easier and faster to track, manage, share and improve the accuracy of a driver’s HOS record. Commercial drivers are required to follow hours of service regulations, which include the number of hours they must be on duty within a set time period. 

The HOS regulations define when breaks and shifts must occur, and assists in inspections where an ELD can transfer the data to the transportation officer without being altered. Plus, it can provide police with accurate information if there are any accidents. 

While the mandate is federal, each Canadian province and territory is responsible for enforcing it. Each provincial government must develop a specific enforcement plan of the federal ELD mandate to ensure their roadside inspectors are trained on the enforcement process. 

One key difference between the Canadian and U.S. mandates is that Canadian ELDs must be third-party certified, whereas in the U.S. they can be self-certified. Additionally, Canadian ELDs must meet the Technical Standard for Electronic Logging Devices published by The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA). Carriers crossing the border must thoroughly grasp the regulations of both countries and train drivers accordingly.

For companies in the transportation industry, the mandate means that your drivers stay within legally allowed driving hours, fatigue is potentially reduced, and the security of your assets and the well-being of your employees may increase. 

With the ELD mandate in place, your fleet should be in a better position regarding safety and compliance, as it records critical data that includes location, speed, hours driven, fuel consumption, brake usage and lane position. 

ELDs allow you to track drivers’ hours of service remotely and in real-time, ensuring drivers are operating within a safe threshold.

For proactive fleet managers, ELDs may help catch violations before they occur. 

Most importantly, adhering to the ELD mandate can help you avoid fines or service suspensions for non-compliance. 

ELDs may also help reduce administrative costs and provide a quick return on investment.  According to Verizon’s 2021 Fleet Technology Trends Report, 32% of businesses achieved a positive ROI in less than a year.

What are the repercussions of non-compliance? 

Since each province is responsible for enforcement, the repercussions of non-compliance depend on where the fleet operates.

As of March 2022, enforcement was postponed to January 1, 2023. Each province is developing their own strategy and target data, meaning that fleet managers will need to ensure they understand their provinces’ particular approach.

When it comes to non-compliance, here are some of the challenges businesses might face: 

  • Reduced operational accuracy and efficiencies 
  • Increased administrative time and costs 
  • Increased fuel costs 
  • Incremental risks to driver and public safety 
  • Missed opportunities for preventative maintenance

Where do you begin when adding ELD to your fleet?

The best place to start is by identifying what you need to implement to operate your fleet more efficiently. 

Assess your fleet of vehicles to understand what each vehicle is meant for and if it requires ELD or is exempted. 

You’ll also want to consider combining ELD with your telematics solution, to augment compliance and safety with productivity. Telematics provides comprehensive real-time vehicle monitoring and analysis with reports, visual tools, dashboards, and maps.

While commercial fleet regulations are standardized requirements, every telematics implementation is unique. 

That’s why it’s important you work with your current provider to understand if they are ELD-certified and offer sound consultation. If you already have a telematics provider, make sure they are going through the certification process to become compliant with the Canadian ELD mandate. If you don’t have telematics installed in your fleet, find one who can collaborate to fit it to your needs. Talk to other businesses in the industry about ELD and get their recommendations. 

Talk to potential vendors about their solutions and experience, as there is much more to telematics than just ELD. Setting up a demo and making your decision based on it is encouraged.

What are the key implementation challenges? 

Once you have taken the first two steps of gaining a thorough understanding of your fleet and selecting a provider, you’ll want to plan your implementation and training. 

You will need to take your vehicles off the road to install telematics devices, so plan accordingly. 

Better understanding vehicle utilization to plan the technical implementation is key as is the required training for drivers. The business needs to keep driving forward and, with effective change management, downtime and associated costs are likely minimized.

Remember, rolling out and training on the new changes and embracing a culture of compliance takes time.  As many drivers are accustomed to paper logs, the initial driver pushback regarding the shift in mindset is something to be addressed.

Learn more about the Canadian ELD mandate and how to prepare for it by downloading our ELD mandate guide.


Sponsored content by Telus

 

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