Understanding the Facts and Requirements of Electronic Log Compliance
Now required by law, Electronic Log Devices (ELDs) are changing the way that drivers track their time on the road. Find out more and find the best devices here.
In Canada, truckers and trucking companies must be prepared for the new Canadian Electronic Logging Device mandate that is set to be implemented during 2020. The ELD mandate was outlined in alignment with US compliance laws and statutes to allow for easier international trucking between the two countries that share so much commerce. The Canadian mandate isn’t all that different from the U.S. mandate, but it can still be confusing if you aren’t familiar with the details.
Fortunately, we’ve taken the time to compile all of the information that you need to help you understand what the law entails, the benefits of electronic logs, and more. We even took the time to review a few of the best products on the market that are approved for use by the Canadian Trucking
- What is the Canadian ELD Mandate?
- The Benefits of Using Electronic Log Devices
- Best ELDs Available Today
- ThinAir ELD - Electronic Logging Device (BYOD)
- AES RGT90 GPS Tracker GPRS Mini Portable Vehicle Locating Tracking Device
- TrackEnsure eLog for HOS & Live GPS Tracker
- How to Choose Your ELD
What is the Canadian ELD Mandate?
Under the new legislation, drivers in Canada, as well as the owners of the commercial fleets that they drive for, are going to be required to implement electronic log devices in all commercial driving activities as soon as possible. The mandate has similar guidelines as the U.S. version and includes built-in driving limits, break requirements, and other compliance rules to ensure that everyone is aware of what is required in electronic logging for commercial driving today.
This mandate was set forth by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), which is currently working to improve its regulations for drivers in addition to changing compliance and monitoring requirements for ELDs. It is important to note that while improvements to driver laws are ongoing, they are not going to change with the implementation of the ELD mandate. Drivers will still have the same HOS requirements. They will just need to be monitored and enforced, which all certified ELDs will do.
In Canada, there are some exceptions to the law. Commercial vehicles operating in Canada can be exempt from this new mandate if they are:
- Under a rental agreement of 30 days or less
- Manufactured before the year 2000
- Under a statutory exemption
- Operating with a permit from a territorial or provincial HOS director
The Benefits of Using Electronic Log Devices
Electronic logs are designed to store and transmit information from a truck to an app or software program. These logs will track things like driver information, truck speed and mileage, logged hours, and more. Having these logs onboard commercial vehicles includes many benefits. While some companies feel overwhelmed by the new mandate and aren’t sure how this system helps them, others have found that ELDs deliver all the features that they want and so much more:
- Less hassle and less paperwork. Historically, drivers spent a lot of hours dealing with handwritten paperwork and tracking receipts, hours, and other information to keep records for compliance with the CCMTA. Today, thanks to ELDs, there is much less hassle because everything is recorded automatically and electronically so that it just has to be accessed when necessary.
- Safer roadways for everyone. The point of the mandate was to ensure that drivers and commercial companies aren’t falsifying logs, driving more hours than allowed, or not taking enough breaks during their drive time. The implementation of automatic on-board recording started years ago with older systems and has already proven its value in reducing accidents and incidents related to tired driving and other compliance issues.
- Guaranteed HOS compliance. Drivers and companies no longer have to think about their hours of service or how long they have been working. You don’t have to track when it’s time for a break because the system will let you know when you’re getting close to your limit. Plus, you can trust that if anything ever does happen, you will have a clear record of your hours of service, driving habits, and other elements to prove your side of the case.
- Less time wasted on incorrect routes or poor information. New ELDs are available that include electronic mapping and truck route GPS systems, helping you circumnavigate traffic, non-truck routes, and other issues. Not all devices have integrated mapping, but some do offer this feature to maximize what you are getting for the money.
- Speaking of money, how about the amount of money that can be saved by using electronic logs? These logs, once implemented, can reduce driver downtime, provide more efficient deliveries, and even improve the speed of roadside MTO inspections, which all help reduce losses and increase profits across the board.
One of the biggest advantages that come with this new mandate is the growing market for affordable ELD solutions that aren’t going to cost a small fortune or require a full-fleet investment from the start.
Best ELDs Available Today
Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there are no certified ELDs that are 100% approved for use in Canada. However, since the mandate and rules are quite similar to the U.S. mandate, it’s likely many U.S.-approved devices will also be approved for use in Canada. In the U.S., manufacturers are responsible for self-certifying and ensuring compliance. Canada, however, is requiring all devices to be certified through a third party, which guarantees that they are tamper-proof.
If you want to get started, you’ll probably be fine choosing a U.S.-certified device and may only need a software update, if anything, in the future. Here are a few of the best ones that you’ll find.
ThinAir ELD - Electronic Logging Device (BYOD)
The ThinAir ELD – Electronic Logging Device is a plug-in device that requires you to bring your own tablet or smartphone, but offers instant connectivity for compliance with the new ELD mandates in the U.S. and Canada. The IFTA reporting feature includes an on-demand option, giving you instant access to fuel costs and mileage, as well as other reports. This device plugs into standard nine-pin ports and includes an OBD-II adapter.
This device also records all of the required information and offers in-field DVIR reports that include customizable inspections for pre-trip, post-trip, and ad-hoc inspections. Voice dictation is available, and the device is easy to install. The company also offers 24-hour support and the user interface is intuitive on any smart device with Bluetooth and GPS connectivity. Logbooks, violations, and other information can be accessed in real-time, and managing drivers can be done in an instant as a result.
- ELD-compliant in U.S. and Canada
- Customizable reporting and software features
- Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones and tablets
- May not fit all diagnostic ports
AES RGT90 GPS Tracker GPRS Mini Portable Vehicle Locating Tracking Device
The AES RGT90 GPS Tracker offers portable locating and tracking service and includes a SIM card that is pre-loaded with three months of service. This device can work throughout North America, including in Canada, and can provide tracking for any vehicle, including fleet vehicles. Although this isn’t specifically an ELD, it does offer many features that fleet owners need to keep track of their commercial vehicles.
This device includes real-time tracking along with a history log, live reporting, and the option to use the app or website. There is also the option to have coordinates from the GPS sent to you via text, allowing you to always know where a vehicle is. The tracker logs all start and stops and comes ready to go. All you have to do is stick the tracker in or on the vehicle, access the website or app, and start tracking your fleet.
- Offers full tracking of vehicles, including stops and starts
- Comes with three months of service pre-loaded
- 24/7 US-based tech support
- Not an FMCSA or CCMTA-approved ELD
- Only provides GPS tracking, with no HOS monitoring
TrackEnsure eLog for HOS & Live GPS Tracker
The TrackEnsure eLog for HOS is a unique device that offers both HOS compliance tracking and recording and GPS tracking in a single unit. The small device includes a standard nine-pin port plug, with optional OBD-II and six-pin plug adapters and cords available separately. There is no plan or subscription required to use this device, and the software can be accessed from any iOS or Android tablet or smartphone.
This ELD includes customizable DVIR reports for pre-trip, post-trip, and damage reports, as well as the option to take photos and sign logs electronically. IFTA records fuel purchases and mileage, and the device is compliant in both the U.S. and Canada, making it an ideal choice for fleets that do a lot of international travel between the two countries. TrackEnsure also offers a variety of special offers to its customers, including fuel rebates, lower pricing, dispatching services, and other benefits.
- Works in Canada and US
- Compatible with J1939 nine-pin port
- Special offers for device owners from manufacturer
- Doesn't include extra adapters for different port connections
- Requires subscription for using the phone app
How to Choose Your ELD
With so many different devices out there, it may be hard for Canadian fleet owners and drivers to figure out which devices will be best. Here, you’ve seen three very different devices—one that offers ELD solutions specifically, one that’s just for GPS tracking, and one that does both. Now you’re probably wondering how exactly you can choose what’s best for your needs. We’re here to help.
First and foremost, you have to start by choosing an ELD that is already compliant in Canada or that has the potential to be. Since the ELD mandate is new, this may prove to be more difficult, but you can always ask for assistance from the CCMTA or invest in a device approved by the U.S. FMCSA since the Canadian rules seem to be following suit. That way, if you do have to modify, you’ll have less of an investment to make than if you’re starting from scratch.
You should also consider the connection of the device and what kind of networks it needs. Some devices are hard-wired but will need Wi-Fi or mobile data to transmit information to the software or smartphone app. ELDs also include a variety of port connection options, with plenty of adapters available for the people who need them. Look at the ELDs that give you the connectivity that you need first. That’s what is going to be the most important aspect in the long run.
What kind of features does the ELD offer? All these devices have a similar method of operation, but they are not the same. Therefore, you’ll want to look at the included features and make sure that you understand exactly what you’re getting for your money. Look for things like customizable reports, real-time reporting, and low or no subscription fees or hidden costs. No matter how compliant a device is, if it doesn’t offer the solutions that you need, there is probably something better out there.
Now that you’re familiar with the ELD mandate in Canada and how it affects your tracking, you’ll have a better sense of what kind of devices to invest in for the future of your fleet. Consider the three devices discussed here and see what they offer, and feel free to explore other ELDs that are compliant with Canadian guidelines based on the information that you have gathered here.
So many of these devices come with everything that you need to get started, including an assortment of adapter cords that can ensure that you find the right connection no matter which device you end up selecting for your commercial driving needs. Remember that compliance comes first, and then customizable features should be on your mind. If you’re using this system daily, you have to be able to tweak it to suit your needs. Whether it’s one of the items on this list or a different ELD solution entirely, you are sure to have a much safer trip with a reputable, dependable ELD on board.