Author: Jill McBeth
Date: April 15, 2024

The spirit of regulation


We can all agree the ELD hours of service regulations desperately need an interpretation guide especially around NSC Standard 15 Audits. The adoption of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) has brought about significant changes in how hours of service regulations are enforced and monitored. Understanding the intricate guidelines around ELDs, particularly in relation to NSC Standard 15 Audits, is crucial for both trucking companies and drivers to avoid penalties and ensure compliance.

ELD Interpretation Guidelines and Regulatory Responsibility:

The need is great for a comprehensive interpretation guide for ELD regulations, specifically NSC Standard 15 Audits. The CCMTA (Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators) in conjunction with Transport Canada developed the ELD Technical Standard and the certification testing. However, the responsibility for interpreting these regulations falls on individual provincial jurisdictions. When a provincial jurisdiction chooses to adopt a federal regulation, it is up the provincial jurisdiction to decide what that regulation means to its constituents. This lack of standardized guidelines can lead to confusion and misinterpretation, highlighting the importance of clear communication between regulatory bodies and industry players.

When Alberta Transportation chose to adopt the Federal Hours of Service regulation, which included the ELD mandate, Alberta Transportation had a governmental obligation to inform industry what that meant, especially when issuing administrative penalties/fines for contravention of that regulation. A trucking company that received an administrative penalty or downgraded SFC should seek clarification from Alberta Transportation, to explain the penalty. Industry needs fair treatment and transparency in enforcement of regulations. Maybe if industry starts questioning things, Alberta Transportation will have to deal with ELDs. Alberta Transportation dropped the ball that is clear, but what does industry do now? Status quo isn’t going to work anymore; it’s been 2 years.

The Spirit of ELD Mandate and the Technical Standard:

Whenever a regulation is questioned, bureaucrats like to revert to the spirit of the regulation. Simply, this means determining what were the regulators looking to accomplish when they wrote the ELD mandate and the Technical Standard. Let’s examine the spirit of the ELD mandate and the Technical Standard. To do this, it is essential to delve into the historical context of paper logs and the evolution of monitoring technologies in transportation. In the old days, driver tracked their own time in a paper log book. The driver turned in the paper logs every few weeks and the trucking company that employed the driver would review those records to verify the accuracy, but for the most part it was on the driver. GPS was adopted by most trucking companies in the 90’s and GPS was used to track drivers and audit logs but, it was still weeks after the trip. The trucking company was, and still is, very rarely held liable for a driver’s behaviour. People who were injured in collisions or fatalities got sick of suing broke truck drivers and decided it was better to go after trucking companies with big insurance policies. What better evidence than a government certified system that continuously monitors the driver and alerts the driver and company in real time if the driver is in an out-of-service condition?  Add in front and rear facing cameras and the lawyers are golden.

The Role of ELDs in Enhancing Safety and Accountability:

ELDs establish real-time monitoring of driver activities, ensuring compliance with rest requirements and promoting road safety. While the intentions behind these regulations are noble, the practical implementation and adherence pose significant challenges for both drivers and carriers. ELDs serve as a crucial tool in enhancing safety standards and accountability within the transportation industry. By providing real-time data on driver activity and alerting carriers to potential violations, ELDs aim to prevent instances of driver fatigue. The driver and the carrier working together, using the information from the ELD, are supposed to ensure the driver is never exceeding daily limits or are in an out of service condition. The wording from the hours of service regulation (78.3 & 78.2) is certify, verify and monitor. The collaborative effort required between drivers and carriers in using ELD data for monitoring and compliance underscores the shared responsibility in upholding road safety standards.


It is paramount as the ELD technology evolves; the hours of service regulation will need continuous updates. Industry needs cohesive interpretation guides and transparent communication channels. By embracing the spirit of ELD mandate and leveraging technological advancements to enhance safety and compliance, the transportation industry can pave the way for a more efficient and secure operating environment for all parties involved. That is the spirit of the regulation, to ensure that liability is shared equally.