Canada eyes mandatory electronic work diaries

Canada looks to follow the US by requiring trucks to be fitted with electronic monitoring devices


Long-haul truck drivers in Canada may be required to use electronic work diaries from next year, similar to drivers in the US.

Canada is planning to move to compulsory electronic diaries to ensure drivers meet their fatigue management obligations, but a firm introduction date has not yet been set.

Canadian broadcaster CTV first broke the news about the country’s plans, which mirror what is happening in the US.  

An email from Transport Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier says the devices will be aligned as much as possible with the US, CTV reports.

"The technical specifications and standards for electronic logging device (ELD) technology may differ slightly between the U.S. and Canada, but should not be necessarily inconsistent," the email states.

While CTV reports the devices will be mandated by late 2017, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which represents the country’s trucking operators, says the government has told it the diaries could be in place by late next year or in early 2018.

The CTA supports mandatory electronic diaries and has also welcomed news the government plans to require all new heavy trucks sold in Canada to be fitted with electronic stability control (ESC).

"We have been advocating for both of these key safety measures for over a decade now," CTA president David Bradley says.

"We know that Transport Canada has been working on both issues but with a new government in charge we needed to confirm the commitment is moving forward at the political level. I am satisfied that commitment is in place."

A switch to mandatory electronic diaries will require cooperation from a number of governments in Canada if they are to be introduced nationwide.

The federal government regulates trucking operations that cross provincial and interstate borders, while provincial governments control operations that exist within their borders.  

Bradley says all provinces should make sure they implement identical electronic diary regulations to the federal government for trucking operations that come under their jurisdiction.

The diaries are expected to operate similarly to those due to be introduced in the US.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the US trucking industry, announced in December last year the diaries would be introduced to record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement, kilometres driven and location information.

The FMCSA believes the reform will prevent crashes, save lives and reduce the annual number of injuries from crashes involving heavy vehicles.

Australian governments have committed to giving truck operators and drivers the choice of using electronic devices or paper work diaries to manage their fatigue management obligations from next year.

However, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) believes the trucking industry should be forced to use electronic diaries.   

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