Truck driving isn’t all fun on the open road – there’s a lot of bureaucracy too. If you don’t have your paperwork straight, your career as a driver could be quickly cut short. Much of this revolves around your trucking logbook. This log records numerous pieces of information about your jobs and on-road activities. In most situations, unless you’re only doing short-haul jobs within close proximity of your office, you are legally required to maintain your trucking logbook every day that you’re on the road. This is true both in Canada and the US.
Your logbook should be filled out on a daily basis. Occasionally you can cheat this, but you never know when authorities will want to check it – and if it’s out of date, you’re in trouble.
The good news is that older paper logbooks have been phased out, in favor of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) – and they make logging your hours much easier. Here’s what you need to know.
How ELDs Make Life Easier For Truck Drivers
Previously, drivers had to use paper trucking logbooks, which could be fiddly and difficult to maintain. The new ELDs automate a lot of processes.
Your ELD will connect directly to your truck’s computer, and that means it can pull in a lot of information directly. It will log your engine’s hours, mileage, geographical information from the GPS, as well as holding tracking information such as your employee ID, truck tags, and shipment numbers.
In addition, it’s required that you log your own activity on an hour-by-hour basis. This is grouped into four categories: Off-duty, sleeping, driving, and on-duty (not driving). In many cases, these fields are also auto-populated, particularly when you’re on duty. However, you will want to review your ELD’s logging to ensure your off-duty and sleep hours are properly logged.
The bad news is that ELDs aren’t cheap – they average a few hundred dollars, potentially up to around a thousand for top-line models. If you work for a shipping company directly, they should provide ELDs for their trucks. However, if you’re independent, you’ll have to buy your own ELD. This is not optional; both Canada and the US-made electronic logging mandatory as of 2020.
Once you get your ELD, though, it’s easy to use and makes it much simpler to handle all the bureaucracy you’re supposed to navigate.
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