Canadian committee recommends e-logs, stability control

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Friday, March 20, 2015

Canada’s standing committee on transportation is recommending the use of electronic logging devices and stability control systems for trucks, but that’s not all. The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities is also recommending a national standard for truck driver training and a way to hold shippers accountable for their role in trucking hours-of-service violations.

The mixed bag of recommendations was issued in a report by the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to the 41st Canadian Parliament on the topic of transporting dangerous goods.

Following the release of the report, Canada’s federal transportation minister, Lisa Raitt, called for mandatory electronic logging devices and electronic stability control systems across the trucking industry.

Much of the testimony related to trucking contained in the report came from the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which is pushing for mandatory e-logs and stability control systems much the way the American Trucking Associations does in the U.S.

According to the report, the Canadian Trucking Alliance told the committee that paper logs are “easier to fudge” than electronic logs and that 5-10 percent of truckers and carriers “do not respect” Canada’s hours-of-service regulations.

The CTA also claims that e-logs would reduce fatigue and the potential for crashes. The alliance said Canada should get in line with the U.S. which is inching toward publication of an e-log mandate.

Based on that testimony, the committee is recommending that Transport Canada implement a regulation to require the use of electronic logs on new vehicles.

Raitt met with CTA officials and issued a statement of support for ELDs.

“We are working actively with our stakeholders and provincial partners to support increased safety for Canadians and Canada’s trucking industry through innovative technologies such as electronic logging devices and electronic stability systems,” she said, according to a CTA press release.

In Canada, the federal government is responsible for regulating new vehicles while most other issues related to trucking are regulated at the provincial level.

Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca is the only provincial minister on record who supports a possible mandate for electronic logs at this time, according to the CTA.

On the issue of electronic stability control, the standing committee is recommending that Transport Canada issue a federal regulation requiring ESC on new trucks. As with e-logs the testimony from the “trucking industry” came from the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

The alliance pointed out that two of the seven truck manufacturers in Canada offer stability control systems as standard equipment.

E-logs and stability control were not the only two trucking-related recommendations to come out of the standing committee’s report.

The committee is recommending a federal standard for entry-level driver training for truck drivers.

“Despite the fact that driver training is based on national standards, witnesses told the Committee that the actual requirements vary from one province to another,” the committee wrote.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance, Alberta Motor Transport Association and the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association have all proposed that mandatory entry-level training consistent with the national industry standards be introduced to harmonize training across Canada.”

The recommendation would create a national standard for training those who train the drivers, according to the report.

Lastly, the standing committee is recommending that shippers increase their stakes in the overall equation for highway safety.

“A number of witnesses from the trucking industry expressed concerns regarding the oversight and enforcement of shippers’ responsibilities,” the committee wrote.

“… (W)hen there are violations, even for things that may be the shipper’s responsibility, particularly, say, documentation, it’s the trucking company and the driver who end up getting fined, even though the shipper has provided them with the paperwork,” the committee wrote.

The committee also discussed shipper indemnity clauses in freight contracts but did not take formal action on the issue.

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