Canada will be mandating the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). Enforcement of the Canadian mandate is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Here are four lessons we learned while helping trucking companies get set up with an ELD. We hope these findings help our friends in the north have a more seamless experience at the end of 2019.

1. Be proactive

Four months before the U.S. mandate kicked in, 67 percent of small fleets and 19 percent of large fleets had yet to install and configure ELDs for their entire fleet. There was a bit of a scramble at the last minute, as 868,000 drivers had not yet selected an ELD provider (28 percent of the total driver population) in December 2017, just as the mandate was about to go into effect.

Some owner-operators and fleet managers delayed adopting a solution, in hopes the regulations wouldn’t go into effect; others were concerned about the added costs.

What did we learn about implementation? Quite a bit, actually.

2. Get everyone’s buy-in

Forced change can bring on uncertainty and frustration. Introducing ELDs to an operation that had an existing fully functional workflow will likely see some resistance within the organization. The resistance usually occurs before drivers and back office employees understand the benefits of ELDs that they didn’t realize prior to using them.

Here are some educational pieces that describe the value U.S.-based companies have realized over the past year:

By demonstrating that companies like Motive can help you build a more efficient, safer, reliable, and intelligent fleet, we believe you’ll be able to get everyone’s buy-in and drum up some excitement. At the end of the day, this technology is designed to help your drivers drive more miles while staying compliant.

3. There will be training challenges

Just having the equipment isn’t enough; it has to be installed and working, and drivers and the back office need to know how to use it. Annette Sandberg, CEO of TransSafe Consulting and a former administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, said there was inadequate driver training and challenges getting enforcement personnel trained.

Make sure your drivers know if they have an AOBRD or an ELD, and make sure they have their cab card (which is different for each device). Drivers need to know what information they’re expected to provide, and how to get it from the system. Drivers can be asked, for example, to transfer a file to an enforcement officer.

Prepare for audits too: A post-ELD mandate compliance review will be easier if you’ve kept your supporting documents. There’s more data available now than ever before, so know your resources and what you’re responsible for providing to auditors, investigators, and inspectors.

4. Give yourself enough time to research ELD providers

As the ELD mandate came into effect, a lot of new players entered the market. As Sandberg noted, “It is fairly significant that we’re seeing a lot of vendors come in that may not necessarily be well-versed in the U.S. trucking industry space.” She also noted that some manufacturers had devices fail, leading to frustration for drivers.

Some devices have not captured data from the engine properly. Some ELDs might work in a 2017 truck but not a 2018 model.

The best way to avoid this scenario is to give yourself enough time to research your purchase. ELDratings.com is a good resource for independent ELD reviews. As long as you’re making the investment, you might want to check out features like automated IFTA calculation, fleet safety, app integrations, vehicle diagnostics, and idle-time tracking.

With an all-in-one fleet management solution, your fleet can remain compliant while improving efficiency and safety. Make sure the vendor has support available for your drivers whenever they’re on the road, too. Motive, for example, has 24/7 support.

Mandate outcomes that Canada can anticipate

As you might expect with a new mandate, the law of unintended consequences kicked in. Here are a few things that the U.S. experienced that Canada can likely expect.

Detention times unchanged: There was some expectation that ELDs might improve detention times. Those hopes have been mostly dashed as detention times have either not changed, or gotten worse.

Parking shortages: Parking is number four on the ATRI’s list of pressing concerns for the trucking industry. No longer being able to go down the road, truckers have to stop, and it’s highlighting the lack of facilities for trucks to safely park.

Truckers are reporting more stress over parking as they spend more time searching for space. This lack of space has forced many to park in unauthorized areas.

Speeding increases: As truckers have to be more careful about their hours of service (HOS) compliance, they’re apparently making up the difference by speeding more, 31 percent more. A choice between violating hours of service rules or being delayed means drivers sometimes have to choose whether to make less money or break the speed limit.

Better HOS compliance: While the ELD mandate has had some unintended consequences in the U.S., it has at least achieved one of its main objectives: improving HOS compliance. Since enforcement started on April 1, fewer than 1 percent of driver inspections have found a driver without an ELD. Hours of service violations were down from 1.31 percent in May 2017 to 0.64 percent in May 2018.

Roadside issues: For a while, this is all going to be new for enforcement personnel as well for drivers. Said Sandberg: “The driver presents an AOBRD, but the enforcement person demands an ELD file from that AOBRD. That’s not possible.” Truckers may run into investigators who are not up to speed on what they should ask truckers to produce, so prepare your drivers for that scenario.

Canada, while having its own unique challenges, has an opportunity to take advantage of the lessons that were learned in the U.S. when implementing its own ELD mandate.

If you have any questions about Motive’s fleet management platform, call at 844-325-9230. Our 24/7 customer support team is always available to help you.