Start Looking for an ELD Solution Today

The Canadian Government recently announced that they will be following the United States decision to enforce the mandatory use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD). That will mean that any trucking company that goes outside of their home province will need to have an ELD. If you remain an intra-provincial carrier, you may (and only may) have a little more time. Some of the provincial Transportation Ministers have also voiced support for the devices. Saying it another way, if you are an intra-provincial carrier you will have to wait to hear from your provincial minister. But with the provincial trucking associations in favour of ELD’s and CTA’s support; I don’t think that it will be long before all the provinces are also on board. We now have to wait and see.

The USA has stated that an ELD will be mandatory December of 2017, unless companies have an approved EOBR or AOBR solution which gives you an extension until 2019 before you have to comply with the ELD ruling. We know that the Federal Government must still advise us officially that Canada is moving ahead, what the rules are and when they will take effect. Additionally if you are an intra-provincial carrier we will have to wait for each individual province to make their own announcements.

If there are still a lot of issues and dates to be decided and with only the States setting a date, why am I writing about it now? In the USA it takes years to enact new laws and even with that they provide a 2 year warning period before any new law is enforced which is what they have done with the ELD mandate. In Canada, we can move much faster (when there is the political will) and we don’t have to give 2 years of notice. Therefore, whether you are a cross border carrier, a Canadian only transport company or an intra-provincial motor carrier, you had better start planning your ELD purchase strategy. Don’t wait till the last minute because you may not get the best solution for you, but the best solution that is available to meet the ELD compliance deadline. If you are a small carrier or an individual Owner Operator don’t think you are exempt, every carrier, large and small will have to have some sort of an ELD solution.

I say some sort, as there are many different types of solutions on the market. In my mind I have grouped them into two main categories. Satellite based providers and cellular network providers.

The satellite types usually provide a great deal of data. If you are a larger fleet this might be the system for you. After all, you may have the people on board to work with all this data and make it beneficial to your company. The satellite based systems usually come with a higher hardware cost and a more time consuming and costly instalment. As well, only specially trained people are trained and can install these types of systems.

For the smaller fleets and individual Owner Operators you may find the cellular based providers a better fit for your company. The upfront cost is much lower and these providers can often use your existing smart phones to provide the data you need to be compliant and give you insight into running your business. If you must purchase hardware, a $200 Android Smartphone or tablet, along with a cradle or docking station will do the trick. The installation can be done by anyone; the most difficult part is Bluetooth pairing of the 2 devices. Yes, a Bluetooth paired device is required to meet the ELD compliance standard, the Bluetooth device plugs into the trucks ECM’s 9 pin connector, you pair up your smartphone or tablet, download the software to the device and you are done. It is that simple.

Anyway within each group (satellite or cell) there are lots of options. You need to decide between no frills, a few frills and the whole enchilada. Within the cellular market, there is a new provider in this space that is very impressive. They are called FleetRover ( and they offer a fleet management portal for your computer, and integration into their HoS and driver messaging application for your smartphone. The system allows you to be EOBR and / ELD complaint and they have many of the same features and functionality that the more expensive and server heavy systems do, but they provide this at little to very little additional monthly cost. With a bare bones data plan your total charges are quite low. Certainly FleetRover is worthy of a being added to your selection pool and an additional bonus, they are Canadian.

In conclusion, you need to start your shopping for an ELD solution today, there are many decisions to be made and you really can’t make a mistake in moving early. A benefit to starting the process now is that that you can gain an additional year window before you have to become ELD compliant. It is likely that our government is going to mirror much of the US ELD regulation and will probably include this extension. Don’t wait until the last minute, 2017 will be a very busy one for all the ELD suppliers. You need to be moving now.

Stay safe.

Chris Harris
Top Dawg, Safety Dawg Inc.
@safety_dawg (twitter)

About Chris Harris, Safety Dawg

Chris has been involved in trucking most of his adult life. He drove truck for and worked in various office/management positions for a major truck company. His last position of 5 years in the safety department where he was responsible for the recruiting of Owner Operators and their compliance. He joined a trucking insurance company in 2001 and has been in the insurance side of things until making Safety Dawg a full-time endeavour.