Canadian Truckers Drive Home Message on Mandatory EOBRs

Transport minister provides strongest indication yet that Canada moving towards harmonized mandate with U.S.

Canadian motor carriers and professional drivers from across the country are banding together to voice their support for the mandatory implementation of electronic-on-board recording devices to monitor hours of service compliance rules.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Trucking Alliance launched a campaign that provided carriers and drivers and owner-operators the ability to send, with a click of a button, an email or text-message to federal MPs, urging them to show political leadership on the issue.

The campaign – which explains to legislators how EOBRs represent a considerable improvement over the archaic paper-based log system in terms of improving driver and carrier productivity, competiveness, regulatory compliance with hours of service standards as well as limiting drivers’ stress level and compliance workload – has triggered an impressive response from the trucking industry.

To date, several hundred carrier companies and individual drivers have sent about 1,500 messages directly to MPs from across Canada, explaining the widely recognized  operational and safety  benefits of EOBRs while disproving many of the myths associated  with the logging devices.

Carriers and drivers from every jurisdiction in Canada sent a message, closely reflecting the regional shares for the entire industry overall.

“Our efforts show that there are many carriers and drivers who are clearly in favour of replacing outdated paper logbooks with more efficient and compliant electronic monitoring devices,” said David Bradley, president of the Alliance. “While we understand that there is a minority in the industry who may oppose an EOBR mandate, it’s important that decision makers hear from those who have experience with EOBRs in enhancing compliance and making highways safer.

“Companies that are voluntarily using EOBRs overwhelmingly report that their drivers experience noticeable improvements in productivity and lifestyle.”

Most importantly, the message appears to be getting through to the politicians. In a response to one carrier, federal transport minister, Denis Lebel, gives perhaps the strongest indication to date that an EOBR mandate will soon be a fact of life in Canada, stating that EOBRs can “improve hours-of-service regulatory compliance by reducing the opportunity for commercial drivers to exceed regulated driving hours or falsify logbooks” and that Transport Canada “supports the development of an EOBR standard that leverages the work that the United States has undertaken on this issue, that is implemented consistently across all jurisdictions, including our provinces and territories, and that is operationally feasible for both industry and government regulators. Ultimately, a harmonized North American standard would be ideal in consideration of the importance of domestic and cross-border trade.”

He says a “technically flexible, performance-based EOBR standard, combined with a suitable phase-in period, would hopefully allow sufficient time for suppliers to offer cost-effective options meeting the needs of carriers and drivers.”

By the way, the campaign isn’t over yet. If you’re a fleet manager, company driver or owner-operator who wants to let federal MPs know that you are behind the introduction of electronic-on-board recording devices, click here and follow the simple instructions.