These days, regulations and standardized licensing and permits involved with operating a commercial trucking vehicle is the norm. All reputable drivers and owner/operators in the province of British Columbia have had to adhere to the national standards supported by provincial regulations as part of the updated National Safety Code Program since April of 2013, when the code was reviewed to improve commercial vehicle safety in BC.
In this post, we’ll give an overview of the safety code program, and just how important all paper and electronic logbooks are these days for commercial drivers and movers.
Why the Change?
In 2011, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure assembled a number of individuals from differing commercial transportation industries to combine their expertise and experiences to recommend improvements to the existing National Safety Code Program. Some of these industries included logging, highway transport, coach lines, commercial trucking, and bulk transport.
Over the next six scheduled meetings spanning throughout 2011, the group focused on how to streamline and improve a number of aspects to commercial trucking and transport including:
- Education and enforcement
- Trucking Company Safety profiles
- NSC applications
- NSC Facility audits
Given time restraints, the group agreed to limit its recommendations, especially to include more of those that would not involve legislative amendments. Primary changes were made to address and “improve the effectiveness of the province's National Safety Code as a tool to monitor, rate carriers, and improve overall safety of the trucking industry.”
Who is Included in these Changes?
Any and all groups, companies, individuals and operators that conduct business and/or operate a commercial trucking aspect within their organization are affected by these welcome changes to the safety code.
This includes mining operations, hydro, oil/gas trucking, logging industries, moving industries, trucking and bulk transport, coach lines and public transport, and all other forms of trucking and transport operations.
Every driver of a commercial transport vehicle is required to keep track of their time using a log book. A log book is simply a notebook with each page divided into a 24-hour time frame, and further divided into 15 minute increments for the purpose of documenting drive times and employee hours. Each page is recorded onto a carbon copy to be given to the driver's employer for a record of each day of vehicle operation.
For decades, logbooks were simply that - books. These paper logbooks have been a daily, and/or hourly staple of commercial transport because they may need to be presented to a Ministry of Transportation inspector, and will certainly need to be supplied to a driver's employer for validation and tracking.
Typically, these logs include a time grid, applicable drop-off points and arrival points/times that the driver has reached, driver info, load information, and information about the pre-trip check, vehicle safety check, and even refueling times and amounts.
Electronic Logging Devices (ELD’s) are more often than not, referred to as automatic logging technologies. They record the same information as a standard paper logbook, but require much less manual input from the driver of the vehicle. ELD’s do this independently, only leaving the driver responsible to enter on-duty and off-duty times for transfer back to an employer.
Typically, an employer will ask that a driver record a paper logbook as a concrete backup plan should anything happen to the ELD. A paper logbook could also be considered superior to the hands-off ELD because it ensures that drivers actively partake in the process of logging, checking, and assessing the state of their loads, their vehicles, and therefore, the safety of themselves and others on the road.
National Safety Code Logbooks are not only valuable to a Ministry of Transportation Inspector or a trucking company dispatcher or manager – they’re also valuable resources for drivers themselves. Logbooks help to ensure a regimented cycle of safety checks and evaluations happen daily, in turn keeping drivers and their loads safe, efficient, and on-time.
The logs help drivers to see and feel confident that their truck is is tip-top shape, and that they’re only on the road for as long as they need to be to maintain a good work/life balance. Further, these safety checks and log in/out times help to keep other drivers on the road safe as well. In the beginning, constant organizing and logging your every action may seem like it impedes progress every morning, but over time it becomes a habitual instinct that every driver knows, respects, and appreciates.