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This article was published 18/2/2016 (2045 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OFFICIALS at some of the province’s biggest trucking firms aren’t losing sleep over the announcement new safety regulations will be enacted to combat fatigue among long-distance truckers and bus drivers.
After years of study, the federal government said earlier this week that within the next two years it will implement new regulations requiring truck and bus drivers to electronically record their hours on the road rather than relying on the paper logs that have been in use since the 1930s.
Truckers and bus drivers are allowed to be behind the wheel for up to 13 hours a day, then must be off duty for 10 hours, eight of which must be consecutive. The new electronic logging devices (ELDs) which cost an average of a couple of thousand dollars, will automatically record their driving time by monitoring engine hours, vehicle movement, kilometres driven and location information.
Transport Canada said the new regulations will cover cross-border and interprovincial travel and should be in place when similar rules take effect in the United States late next year.
The reason companies such as Winnipeg-based Bison Transport Inc. and Steinbach-based Big Freight Systems Inc. aren’t worried about the pending changes is because they’ve already been using ELDs for years. In Bison’s case, all of the trucks in its fleet are equipped with the devices. In the case of Big Freight, about 85 per cent of its trucks use ELDs, a number that’s increasing.
"We’ve already made our investment, and we’re looking forward to it (the new regulations being enacted)," Bison president and chief operating officer Rob Penner said Wednesday.
"It’s a step forward for our industry, and it’s something the industry has been lobbying for for a long time."
"We’re so far along, it’s really seamless for us at this point," said Dale White, manager of risk and compliance for Big Freight. "We’ve had a couple of years experience with it, and to do the last 20 (trucks) is a small step for us."
Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association, confirmed the Canadian trucking industry has been advocating the mandatory use of ELDs for more than 10 years. He said ELDs improve road safety, save trucking companies time and money and improve operating efficiencies. They also make it easier for provincial officials to monitor compliance and alleviate concerns paper logs can be doctored.
Shaw said it’s not just the big operators such as Bison and Big Freight that have been switching to electronic logs. A number of small and mediumsized Manitoba firms have been as well.
"There are so many pluses to it that it’s not a size thing — it’s how far down the technology path are you as a company," he said.
In a recent blog post, Penner said electronic logs allow operations teams to put together more efficient plans to better use drivers’ time.
"It also helps drivers increase their own efficiency by removing some of the tedious administrative work brought on by paper log books," he added.
White said while some of Big Freight’s older drivers have been slower to embrace the new technology, they all seem to support it once they become comfortable with it.
-- with files from The Canadian Press