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EOBR mandate a good idea that needs some work: CTA

TORONTO -- The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators was hoping to solicit feedback on a potential electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) mandate and Canada’s leading carrier group responded.

The CCMTA issued a discussion paper in late-February, in preparation for a possible Canadian rule on EOBR usage. The paper highlights issues of compliance, data requirements and implementation, and how they apply to a carriers' business.

Following a "project charter" drafted last fall, this paper includes a brief discussion on each issue associated with EOBR compliance and concludes with questions to guide carriers' input.

While the Canadian Trucking Alliance would like to see a mandate requiring all carriers to use electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs), the group would like to see some issues addressed before Canada moves forward.

The current paper log book system, says CTA, is antiquated, easy to abuse and difficult to enforce, which contributes to non-compliance with the hours of service rules and can contribute to driver fatigue.

“The lack of effective enforcement of the hours of service rules has not only created potentially unsafe situations and created an unlevel playing field between carriers, but it has also denigrated the credibility of the regulators and sustained a negative mythology about the trucking industry’s compliance record,” states the CTA in a news release. “A universal EOBR mandate would improve the effectiveness of both the enforcement effort and compliance with the hours of service regulations.”

However, CTA concedes a number of key issues need to be addressed before a mandate could become a reality:

Enforcement Policy – It is essential that a reasonable, common sense, enforcement approach be established as part of the introduction of an EOBR policy and that it is uniformly adopted across jurisdictions and shared with industry.

U.S.-Canada Harmonization – Given the level of integration between the supply chains of the two countries, the pursuit of a common U.S.-Canada approach to EOBRs must be a priority. However, that does not necessarily mean the U.S. and Canadian rules need to be identical. It would be extremely important that Canada and the U.S. harmonize in terms of the technology, data standards and driver identification.

Privacy – EOBR technology shall be used solely for hours of service recording purposes. The type, amount, format and frequency of data that governments shall have access under an EOBR mandate to needs to be determined in concert with industry. Governments must commit to updating their data management systems to ensure they have integrity and are secure.

Technology – Instead of prescribing specific technologies, an EOBR mandate should concentrate on what data is required and in what format and allow carriers the flexibility to determine which EOBR technology is best suited to their specific business.

Costs – Cost concerns and financial implications can be managed by a combination of establishing a realistic and reasonable timeframe for full implementation of the mandate and by providing meaningful incentives (tax, grants, rebates, and/or credits) to encourage and assist accelerated investment in the technology. There will never be an ideal time for a mandated investment, and credit is currently very tight, but a fair and incentivized transition would significantly reduce opposition on those grounds.

The CCMTA working group is expected to submit its final report to the Council of Deputy Ministers of Transportation in October 2010.

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I still want to know the true reasons the CTA wants EOBR's. They already heve decided to not pay driver's by the hour. Dispute overtime pay mandates, as a special exception for the trucking industry. I think the real reason is cost savings's in thier own private business's as they will not have to pay to audit the log books and pay log book tickets. As they will not pay to train driver's and dispatcher's on the HOS regulations but rely on everyone to learn on their own, of course they want the monetary aid!! Great leadership!!!

I have personally seen several fatalities directly attributable to the SPEED LIMITER legislation which was pushed through by pencil pushing, bean counters who know nothing about what it takes to keep a truck between the lines. I firmly believe that legislation was paid for by two large Canadian Trucking companies to eliminate competition. Now, these same "wonderful" people want to turn me into a liar as well as a murderer? ... Where do we draw the line? ... When will the people of North America realize the disastrous impact of letting big business purchase the "Laws" which "govern" our lives? WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!

when will the goverments wake up and ask the people who do the work what we need to be safe on the road. no one seems to care we dont have safe aeras to park and get our rest. if are kept at a scale for any reason we cant go to a truckstop for a meal or shower and now they want to put in EOBRS and not pay us by the hour its the same thing all over again pencil pushers that have no idea what it takes to deliver the load safe and on time. when will goverment agencies start looking at the shippers,recivers and companys to be responsible to give us time to to get the load there safley instead of pushing us and then blaming us when we got the rest we had to get.