Today's Trucking

2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Posted: December 27, 2017

TORONTO, ON – It has been the Year of the Electric Truck. Few of the vehicles have hit the road, of course, at least in any measurable quantities. But throughout 2017, manufacturers from established OEMs to emerging players unveiled prototypes and plans for the electrification to come. Fleets have announced initial orders, too.

This is just an example of one of the topics that the Today’s Trucking team covered in 2017. From mandates for Electronic Logging Devices, to trade deal negotiations, and Ontario’s mandatory training for entry-level drivers, here are a few of the top stories that we believe are worth revisiting as calendar pages begin to turn:

Talking Tesla — Elon Musk was not the first to unveil an electric truck. Not by a long shot. Established manufacturers have unveiled a series of electrified plans, prototypes, and production models in recent months, particularly in the form of medium-duty vans and drayage tractors. New nameplates such as Nikola Motors and Chanje have emerged in the process. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus, the majority of which is owned by Daimler, even beat Tesla Motors to the punch with a Class 8 prototype, unveiled during the recent Tokyo Auto Show. But the Tesla Semi is the electric truck that everyone was talking about in late November.

ELD Day – Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) were mandated in the U.S. on December 18. The same day, Canada’s government began a process to mandate the devices for federally regulated carriers within two years. Soon the focus will be on provinces to discard traditional paper logbooks.

Learning Process — Students and driver training schools alike faced a series of challenges after Ontario introduced North America’s first Mandatory Entry-Level Training regime for new truck drivers. Early days were fraught with higher failure rates, while there were also efforts to close a key loophole that some training institutions tried to use to circumvent the process.

Duty of Care – Canadian courts are imposing ever-tougher penalties on truck drivers involved in fatal collisions. Essentially, commercial drivers are being held to a higher standard than other motorists with whom they share the road.

The Trump Card – U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies will have an undeniable impact on the North American economy. But his “America First” stance can also influence the equipment that Canadian truckers use. Many trucks are produced in Mexico, and underlying parts in China. Our Trump Card article looked at ways that aftermarket parts supplies could be affected.

The Driver Shortage – This is an issue that seems to emerge in the list of newsmakers every year, and is part of our ongoing coverage of HR issues. Generation Next, featured in the November 2017 edition of Today’s Trucking, explored the need to attract a young generation of workers to careers in the trucking industry. Driver in Waiting, meanwhile, told the story of a Syrian-trained driver who was sitting idle despite a wish to return to the road.

Sense of Scale – Ontario and Manitoba are among the provinces looking to introduce scale bypass programs, which already exist in British Columbia and Alberta. And there are plenty of benefits to be had by allowing identified fleets to pass roadside inspection stations.

30 Years and Counting – Forgive us for adding a moment of celebration to the list, but Today’s Trucking reached an important milestone this year. We turned 30, in an industry where such an age is a rare thing indeed.

Smoke Screening – The federal government unveiled plans to legalize marijuana in 2018, but cross-border drivers are banned from using it. Industry lobby groups are also asking for zero tolerance for truck drivers on this side of the border. If there’s one message to consider at this point: Don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em.


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