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Federal government takes steps to curb bus and truck driver fatigue

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Transport Minister Marc Garneau is announcing new measures to improve road safety for commercial bus and truck drivers. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

The federal government is making electronic logging devices mandatory for federally regulated commercial truck and bus drivers to combat driver fatigue and improve road safety.

Electronic devices track when and how long drivers have been behind the wheel. They are tamper-resistant and integrated into commercial vehicle engines and are designed to ensure long-haul drivers stick to their daily limit and log their hours accurately.

A news release from Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the new requirement will come into force on June 12, 2021, replacing paper-based daily logbooks to ensure drivers comply with federal regulations.

Under those rules, a driver cannot drive after accumulating 13 hours of driving time in a day. The driver must take at least eight consecutive hours of off-duty time before driving again.

Garneau will unveil details of the new measures in Etobicoke, Ont. at 9:45 a.m. ET and CBCNews.ca will carry it live.

The release said the use of electronic devices will cut the administrative red tape of having to keep daily paper logs and verify compliance through enforcement officers.

The new rules align with U.S. road safety regulations. Harmonization of rules “will support economic growth, trade, and transportation on both sides of the border,” according to the release.

The new measure also addresses a Saskatchewan coroner’s recommendation stemming from the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team last year. 

Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured after a bus taking the Broncos to a playoff game collided with a transport truck at a rural intersection in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018.

The Calgary-based transport truck driver, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving causing death or bodily harm. 

The federal government only has authority over truck and bus carriers that carry goods or passengers across a provincial or international boundary. 

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