Everything you need to know about E-Log Books

It’s 2020, and that means that electronic log books will soon be mandatory for commercial drivers in Canada. Though e-log books have been around for a few years, some transport companies are still adapting to this new law, and there continues to be some questions and concerns about the implications of this regulation.

What is an ELD?

Electronic log books, also known as e-log books or ELDs, are a technology that track a diver’s hours of service (HOS). A small piece of hardware, an ELD connects to the truck’s engine and sends the information to a computer system at head office. Both the driver and the head office are aware of a driver’s HOS at all times thanks to this technology.

Is it actually mandatory?

While many companies have already adopted this technology, the law in Canada will officially come into effect in June 2021. Vehicles manufactured before the year 2000 will be exempt.

Why is this such an important law?

Electronic log books are ultimately in place to make roads safer for everyone. Prior to ELDs, drivers would record their own hours on a piece of paper. Not only is this method prone to human error, but it bogs down the administrative team with paperwork, and can also lead to dishonesty. In some cases, drivers have been known to manipulated the hours on their log book in order to meet deadlines and for other reasons, but this is dangerous.

In Canada, the commercial driving law imposes a strict limit of 13 hours of service. By going over the limit, a driver puts themselves at risk and the public at risk of accidents due to drowsy driving. With ELDs, all HOS are recorded without the ability to alter data. This data is also useful for police investigations in the case of an accident.

Ultimately, ELDs make roads safer, but they’re also better for drivers, as they standardize and automate the task of recording HOS. Moreover, it makes the whole system more fair and transparent.

Are there any downsides to using ELDs?

Some drivers who have spent decades recording their own HOS with a pen and paper might need some time and training to get used to the new system. Though it is straightforward to interact with, there is still a learning curve. Moreover, as with all software, there is always the potential of a cyber attack. For this reason, it’s imperative that companies house their data as securely as possible.

Electronic log books can make roadside inspections much quicker, as well as improve efficiencies across the board. While some drivers might feel as though ELDs are an unwelcome imposition, they ultimately have the potential to save lives by reducing the chance of driver fatigue; that’s something we can all get behind.