ELDs, Roads and Covid

Posted By Ed Murdoch On 2021-05-19 17:36:01

And now the news! June 12 was the date for mandating certified ELDs in Canada, but due to pressure from certain entities, including the PMTC, the start date has again been postponed perhaps until next year. One can spend up to an hour a day entering lies in a paper logbook. ELDs remove the falsification and chances of a citation for committing an offence.

When I was a safety officer, one of my drivers turned in illegible paper logs thinking that the messier the entries, the less likely a DoT official would look closely. Wrong! He got a whopping big ticket that, following much cursing and gnashing of teeth, dramatically altering his outlook!

The problem with the deadline of June 12, which Transport Canada held firm, is that there are no certified ELDs on the market in Canada. This poses stress for American truckers that have been using ELDs for five years. Will their units be certified and grandfathered? Vehicles with engines manufactured before 2000 are exempt because most do not have ECMs necessary to operate an ELD. I am not aware of very many drivers that do not like the idea of ELDs. The time saved could get one 110 clicks closer to one’s goal, and the respective DoTs like them too, and often just wave the unit on.

Truckers mostly dislike this melt and freeze time of year. I was westbound many years ago and about to round the curve just past the Albert Canyon maintenance yard when I saw a driver frantically waving his arms. Around the corner was an enormous house-size chunk of ice that had broken away from the rock wall and completely blocked the road. I did the only thing I could and went around it on the eastbound shoulder, luckily avoiding oncoming traffic which had come to a screeching halt. Pheeeew!

Add dust to the mix above, and the result is a filthy truck and trailer. One can leave Calgary with a freshly washed semi that looks brand new and arrive at the wet coast looking like it’s never seen a damp cloth in its life. I met my son Chris in Sicamous recently. He was westbound coming from Calgary. I could not read the lettering on his Peterbilt, and although the truck is red, it appeared to be dull grey. Only his lights, which he wiped off periodically, were clean.

I can remember leaving Edmonton in the evening in the late spring with a clean unit bound for the deep south and noticed road maintenance had been seal coating the highway surface. No problem, I thought, I can’t see anything because it’s dark, there’s no speed limit to slow me down, and everyone has gone to their digs for the night. I thought everything was cool - until I stopped for customs. Reaching for the grab handle to lower myself to the ground, it felt sticky, and my hand wouldn’t slide down the bar. It turned out to be tar, and the entire truck and trailer were covered in this black sheen. I routed myself over to Pasco, WA, where I knew there was a good truck wash, and after a couple of hours and several buckets of acid wash, Maybelline looked brand new again.

The truck speed limiter debate has been unwrapped again in the Excited States with the new administration in Washington. Trump refused to pursue it, but the ATA has sent a letter to Secretary Buttigieg to add it to the Biden agenda. The OOIDA still opposes it, as do most truckers here in Canada, primarily because of the split speed limits on many state highways and differing limits in different provinces. Slower trucks in the passing lane create road rage, and of course, down there, pretty much everyone carries a gun. A driver in Texas was injured recently by a speedster who thought he was going too slow while overtaking another semi. Remember the driver from Winnipeg that brought home nine bullet holes in his truck from Wisconsin?