Canada’s long-awaited ELD mandate, which was announced June 13 and will take effect in June 2021, includes a proviso that ELDs must be certified by a third-party group. This requirement differs from U.S. regulations, under which ELD vendors self-certify that their device is compliant with technical specifications and registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In May, FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said there are 370 different self-certified ELDs from 247 manufacturers.

The third-party certification policy means that U.S.-based carriers who travel into Canada will need to have a Canadian-certified ELD. If an ELD manufacturer in the United States does not want to go through the certification process, then the carrier using that manufacturer’s devices will need to switch to a different vendor.

It’s likely too early to tell how big an adjustment the third-party certification policy will be for U.S. carriers who do business in Canada. Daniel Horvath, director of safety policy for American Trucking Associations, pointed out that U.S. carriers that regularly travel into Canada already need an ELD that is capable of switching between U.S. rules and Canadian rules. He posited that third-party certification might require a relatively simple process, such as a software update, instead of a complete device overhaul.

Jill Snyder, compliance manager at Zonar Systems, said fleets operating in the United States whose ELDs are not accepted through the Canadian third-party certification system may encounter some challenges. Snyder, who has served on Washington Trucking Associations’ Safety Council board of directors for more than 19 years, said fleets in that situation may have to rely on two ELDs, one for Canadian rules and one for U.S. rules, in the same truck.

Transport Canada, the country’s federal transportation agency, estimates that the ELD requirement will reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by 10%.

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