Truck technology to record driver hours, avoid rollovers will soon be mandatory

In an effort to curb driver fatigue, federally regulated trucks and buses in Canada will soon have to electronically record how many hours their drivers spend on the road.

Buses will also be required to have electronic stability control technology on board by June 2018

Transport Canada says there were about 2,800 truck tractor rollovers in Canada between 2005 and 2012. (Patrick Callaghan/CBC )

In an effort to curb driver fatigue, federally regulated trucks and buses in Canada will soon have to record electronically how many hours their drivers spend on the road.

The government is also making rollover-avoidance technology more widespread on the roads.

New buses and trucks will be required to have electronic stability control technology on board by June 2018. The department's cost-benefit analysis found the initiative could prevent up to 30 accidents a year.

The two mandatory technologies were highlighted by Transport Minister Marc Garneau during a stop in Brampton, Ont., on Monday. The recording devices mark a change from the paper log books drivers have previously used.

The records are synced with a vehicle's engine and are designed to be tamper-resistant, said the department. 

Federal rules already spell out that employers can't ask their workers to drive for more than 13 hours and must give them at least eight consecutive hours off before hitting the road again. Still, Transport Canada says fatigue is to blame in 15 to 20 per cent of transportation crashes.

The new devices will be mandatory by 2020. 

'Compliance easier'

So far the move has received support from members of the trucking industry.

"Electronic logs will make compliance easier to verify, ensuring all carriers are following the hours-of-service rules. This will result in a levelling of the playing field within the industry and improved road safety for all," said Mike Millian, president of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada.

The government says the technology can help reduce crashes and rollovers by helping drivers maintain control. It's been mandatory in new cars since 2011.

Transport Canada says there were about 2,800 truck-tractor rollovers in Canada between 2005 and 2012.

The departments says the two initiatives brings Canada in line with the U.S. and will make the roads safer.