The federal government has announced plans to implement new safety regulations to curb fatigued driving among truck and bus drivers. The effort would bring Canadian regulations in line with the U.S.
Under the new regulations, drivers would be required to electronically record their driving hours and time off. This is a significant technological upgrade from the paper logs the industry has been using since the 1930s.
The devices would automatically record driving time and rest periods by monitoring location information, engine hours, kilometers driven and vehicle movement. This would make it easier to monitor a drivers compliance with driving regulation and would address concerns that handwritten forms can be doctored.
Currently, truck and bus drivers are allowed to be behind the wheel for no more than 13 hours a day, allowing for 10 hours off duty, eight of which must be consecutive.
According to Transport Canada, the regulations would include cross-border and interprovincial travel. The technology and standards for the devices may be slightly different from that of the U.S., but should not be inconsistent.
Transport Canada is working to set a compliance date that matches that of the U.S., which is set to go into effect at the end of 2017. However, there is currently no commitment on timing.
The devices cost approximately a couple thousand dollars per device, though the benefits far outweigh the initial cost to install the device on all fleet trucks.
The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration estimates that the new devices could save the U.S. one billion dollars in annual administrative costs, in addition to saving about 26 lives and preventing 562 injuries. Similar Canadian numbers are not yet available.
One of the main causes of truck accidents throughout Canada is fatigued drivers, thanks to long hours on the roads and tight delivery deadlines.
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