Truck drivers must keep log books recording the number of hours they work to ensure they do not exceed government limits. (iStock)

Electronic logging devices to combat deadly trucker fatigue

The Canadian government seeks to improve safety by requiring commercial truck and bus operators to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record their hours on the road. Some companies already use the devices, but those who use paper log books will have to replace them by June 12, 2021.

The change addresses a coroner’s recommendation following the April 2018 collision between a truck and bus which killed 16 people involved with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in Saskatchewan. Most  of the violations and convictions brought against the truck driver and the company involved in the crash were related to compliance with hours of service rules.

Accident scene involving bus with part sheared off and truck on it side, load scattered.

The 2018 collision between a truck and a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team killed 16 people and injured 13 in the western province of Saskatchewan. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press/April 7, 2018)

Fatigue involved in 20 per cent of collisions

Those existing rules will not change. Drivers may only work a maximum of 13 hours followed by 10 hours of rest, eight of which must be consecutive.

According to the government’s transportation department, fatigue in truck and car drivers is a factor in about 20 per cent of all collisions in Canada.

The new rule will require all drivers who are currently required to maintain a logbook to operate an electronic logging device certified by a third-party and deemed to be tamper resistant.

Trucking association lauds ELD rule

These logbooks may be checked at weigh stations, by mobile ministry of transport or environment personnel, or during the regular audits conducted by transportation authorities.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance says it fully supports the complete implementation of ELDs saying it will ensure a level playing field for all carriers. Individual companies will be less likely to try to maker drivers work longer hours to save money.

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