The CTA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) on the Driver Shortage says the introduction of an electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) mandate, if enforced, would not only enhance highway safety through improved compliance with hours of service regulations, it would also force more carriers to deal with driver issues. BRTF, which comprises eleven CTA Board members from across Canada, said in a statement “In the current environment, where compliance with hours of service rules is dependent upon the easily-manipulated paper log system, the fallout from inefficiencies caused by delays, paperwork errors and other issues have too often been pushed down to the driver.”

By putting drivers in the position of not being able to earn income from all the time they spend on the job, “some drivers feel pressured to take action to try and make up for it in other ways, rather than the carrier intervening on their behalf,” states the BRTF. “When everyone is required to use an EOBR, all carriers will have to deal with their customers and will have the data to show where drivers are being delayed and for how long. The onus will be on all carriers to manage their businesses. In particular, those that overlook or depend on drivers to manipulate their logbooks to make their deliveries or to get their miles in will have to change their business practices. It is hoped that in the future all carriers will compete more on the basis of efficiency and value added service, as opposed to service levels artificially created by drivers over-extending themselves with regard to hours of service.”

The Conference Board of Canada study, Understanding the Truck Driver Supply and Demand Gap and Implications for the Canadian Economy – which forecast a driver shortage of as many as 33,000 drivers by 2020 – highlighted the need for improved wages and working conditions as well as a reorganization of trucking activity and supply chains in order to reduce pressures on long haul truck drivers and make better use of their time.