Everything You Need to Know About Hours of Service Rules in Canada
Before taking to Canadian roads, federally-regulated trucks crossing provincial and international boundaries must be aware of regulations, such as service hours. The United States and Canada have implemented electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to ensure adherence to Hours of Service ( HOS) rules. This implementation improves operations and the safety of drivers.
What Are Canada’s Hours Of Service (HOS) Regulations?
Fatigue can compromise driver awareness and may result in drowsiness. In turn, these may result in vehicle collisions. According to stats released during Canada Road Safety Week, 2020, It is estimated that 20% of fatal vehicle collisions in Canada are due to fatigue, calculated by eliminating other possible causes.
Transport Canada has introduced the Hours of service (HOS) regulation to address this. Hours of service (HOS) require commercial truck drivers to use electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to record their hours. These rules tell drivers how much sleep to get and how long to stay behind the wheel. HOS outlines driving limitations, ELD record-keeping conditions, and an operator’s responsibility to be proactive and reactive in monitoring their drivers.
A mandate regarding trucks being equipped with electronic logging devices or ELDs was scheduled to be fully in place by June 2021. However, pandemic challenges have led full ELD enforcement to be extended to January 2023.
Canadian HOS: How Long Can Drivers Stay Behind The Wheel?
In Canada, hours-of-service regulations govern the maximum driving times and minimum off-duty times of commercial-vehicle drivers. These regulations require records of daily driving and other work activities in a prescribed format to be kept and made available to enforcement officials upon request.
- 13-Hour Driving Limit: A driver shall only drive for a maximum of 13 cumulative hours and must have eight consecutive hours off-duty before being eligible to drive again.
- 14-Hour Limit: A driver shall only be on duty for a maximum of 14 hours and must have eight consecutive hours off-duty before they can drive again.
- 10-Hour Off-Duty Time: Daily off-duty must total at least 10 hours. This off-duty time may be added to, but not form, part of the mandatory eight consecutive hours off-duty period. One may choose to distribute the off-duty period in blocks of 30 minutes or more.
- Deferred time Provision: If a driver cannot take 10 hours off-duty in a day, then up to two hours off-day can be deferred to the following day. A driver can exercise this deferral option every second day. To delay daily-off duty time, a driver must meet certain conditions.
You can find Canada’s Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Regulations for the complete list of requirements.
- 70/120-Hour Limit: No Driver shall drive for any period after having been on duty 70 hours in any period of the Seven-Day cycle or having been on duty 120 hours in any period of the 14-Day cycle.
- Driving Cycle Reset Limit: Because of the cumulative effect of being on duty over several days and weeks, the HOS regulations include a maximum on-duty time for seven and 14-day cycles.
- Seven-Day Cycle: No driver on a seven-day cycle shall drive after having been on duty for 36 hours in that cycle
- 14-Day Cycle: No driver on a 14-day cycle shall drive after having been on duty for 120 hours in that cycle. A driver who follows the 14-day process shall not go again in that cycle after accumulating 72 hours of on-duty time without having taken 24 hours of off-duty time.
- 24-Hours Off-Duty Time: Irrespective of the driver’s cycle, an operator must enforce a minimum of 24 hours of off-duty every 14-days.
Canada North Jurisdiction
Canada North, commonly known as the North 60th parallel, includes Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon. The HOS regulations are slightly varied here.
- 15-Hour Driving Limit: A driver shall only drive for 15 cumulative hours and must have eight consecutive hours off-duty before being eligible to move again.
- 18-Hour Limit: A driver shall only be on duty for a maximum of 18 hours and must have eight consecutive hours off-duty before they can drive again.
- 80/120-Hour Limit: Drivers may choose to work either Eighty hours of on-duty time in a seven-day cycle or 120 hours of on-duty time in a 14-Day cycle.
- 24-Hours Off-Duty Time: A driver must take 24 consecutive hours off-duty before accumulating 80 hours of on-duty time.
Driver’s Hours Of Service In The USA
In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enforced the following regulations limiting the number of hours property-carrying commercial motor vehicles (CMV) drivers can work and drive.
- 11-Hour Driving Limit: A driver shall only drive for a maximum of 11 cumulative hours and must have ten consecutive hours off-duty before being eligible to drive again.
- 14-Hour Limit: A driver shall only be on duty for a maximum of 14 hours and must have ten consecutive hours off-duty before they can drive again.
- 30-Minute Driving Break: A driver who has been on duty for more than eight cumulative hours since the end of last off-duty of at least 30 minutes must have eight consecutive hours off-duty before they are eligible to drive again.
- 60/70-Hour Limit: No Driver shall drive for any period after having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days or having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 straight days.
- The 34-Hour Reset Rule: Any period of 7 or 8 days must end with an off-duty period of 34 or more hours.
Differences Between HoS Regulations In The U.S. And In Canada
While these HOS regulations have historically been harmonized across Canada and the United States, recent changes in Canadian laws have created minor differences between the two nation’s policies.USA drivers operating from Canada must adhere to Canadian regulations and vice-versa.
The FMCSA has drawn a comparison of HOS requirements for cross-border drivers:
- Driving Time: Drivers in Canada can drive for up to 13 hours over a single day, while drivers in the United States may drive for just 11 continuous hours during any 14 hours.
- 14-Hour Period: In both jurisdictions, a driver may not drive beyond the 14th hour of being at work, to be followed by a 10-hour off-duty time to be eligible again.
- Record of duty status (RODS): the U.S. and Canada require keeping RODS for the preceding seven days and 14 days, respectively, and may be subject to inspection. Canada has an additional requirement for supporting documents for the current trip.
- The Reset Rule: In the U.S., any period of 7 or 8 days must end with an off-duty period of 34 or more hours. While in Canada, you can reset a cycle by taking the:
- 36 hours consecutive hours off to reset the Seven-Day Cycle
- 72 hours consecutive hours off to reset the 14-Day Cycle
- 30-Minute Driving Break: A driver must take a 30-minute consecutive break after 8 hours of driving time while in the U.S. The interval can be a combination of on-duty, off-duty, or sleeper berth time. Whereas in Canada, at any point, the off-duty time should not be less than 30 minutes, and a driver is allowed to carry over up to 2 hours of the required ten off-duty hours to the following day.
There are exceptions to HOS in both jurisdictions. The drivers are responsible for understanding and abiding by the laws of each jurisdiction they travel through.
Electronic Logging Devices & HOS Logging
While the hours-of-service regulations differ in Canada and the U.S., the requirements for keeping an ELD are similar. A record of duty status ( RODS), or a driver’s log, is a record of details such as distance, total driving hours, and driver details. It is common for roadside safety and compliance inspectors to find drivers with incomplete or outdated records of duty statuses. This lapse is mainly due to human error or negligence. To overcome this gap, using automatic electronic logging devices can significantly aid.
ELDs are approved electronic logging technology that automatically records drivers’ status changes. Commercial drivers operating within a certain radius of the home depot and returning to the home depot are exempt from the ELD mandate. However, such drivers are often required to maintain a manual log of location and time after each stop.
A driver must produce ELD records promptly when an enforcement official requests them. Hours of Service can be complicated initially, but an ELD makes it easy to record the HOS. To comply with HOS rules, a trucking operator must retain all ELD records for a minimum prescribed period. ELD regulations ensure accurate, consistent, and real-time records of duty status. Electronic hours of service records make it easier for commercial vehicle operators to adhere to the requirements.
The United States published the electronic devices mandate in 2016, and Canada is on its way to being fully compliant by January 2023. With the ELD mandate in place, an operator is responsible for ensuring the use of those electronic logging devices to track driving hours and off-duty status. ELDs aren’t just about conforming to the state or federal requirements but ensuring a safe working environment for the drivers and transporting customer freights efficiently.