Trucks and Trailers GVW

Transportation Compliance for UofA vehicles based on Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and Number of Seats:

There are requirements under the Alberta Traffic Safety Act as well as Federal legislation (Motor Vehicle Transport Act, 1987) relating to commercial vehicles that can affect drivers of larger trucks with trailers or passenger vans that can seat more than 10 persons. UofA fleet vehicles and those leased for UofA business are considered commercial vehicles (personal vehicles are not). Because some of the UofA's fleet travels outside of Alberta, we are also subject to the Federal regulations.

Specifically, the commercial regulations apply to:
1. vehicles ± trailers whose combined GVW exceeds 4500 kg;
2. vehicles that could seat ›= 11 persons (even if there are less people in the van). Basically this includes 12 and 15 passenger vans.

The GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating and is determined by the manufacturer as the maximum weight that the vehicle can safely carry (vehicle weight + load). The value may be found in the manufacturer's literature or on a sticker on the driver's side doorpost. The GVW is the licensed weight that is equal to or higher than the GVWR because it includes the GVWR plus what the vehicle can tow behind. This licensed weight may appear on the insurance documents or the vehicle registration. Trailers have their own GVWR that may be stamped on them (if not, assume a utility trailer GVWR is 1400 kg). When the total GVR is over 4500 kg, the driver must comply with all the following requirements:

Record Keeping:

  • recording daily hours of service and driving for the driver(s);
  • doing daily pre-trip vehicle inspections;
  • reporting to highway vehicle inspection stations as directed by the road sign;
  • showing up to date driver records to a transportation or peace officer when requested;
  • submitting records to the Fleet Safety officer for archiving

Daily/Weekly Limits:
There are also limits on the hours worked and driven daily as well as weekly with respect to being eligible to drive. Once you exceed the limits, you may continue to 'work', but you must take some time off before you can drive again. The Federal daily limits are:

  • no driving after driving for 13h;
  • no driving after working 14h in a day;
  • no driving after 16h have passed since the work shift started: the driver must also have at least 8 consecutive hours off per day plus a total of at least 2h off during the work shift (breaks, lunch, etc. and each break must be ›=30min).

The Federal regulations also limit driving over several days and are based on either a 7 day (Cycle 1) or 14 day (Cycle 2) period. The driver chooses and declares which cycle they are operating under.

Cycle 1: has a maximum of 70h on duty over seven consecutive days;
Cycle 2: has a maximum of 120h on duty over 14 consecutive days AND at least 24 consecutive hours off duty before a driver accumulates 70h on duty during the period.

After each of these limits have been reached, the driver may continue to work but cannot drive until they take at least 36 consecutive hours off (cycle 1) or 72 consecutive hours off (cycle 2). These breaks reset the 'clock' and the cycle can then restart with zero hours of duty accumulated. Some examples of cycle limits are shown in this Excel ™ spreadsheet (XLS, 32kb)
In addition to the cycle1/cycle2 limits, there is a mandatory minimum of 24 consecutive hours off duty every 14 days.

These requirements and driving limits exist at all times when driving a bus ( ›=11 person seating capacity). However, there are some exceptions possible with respect to trucks and trailers.

1. if the licensed GVW of the truck ± trailer is below 4500 kg, you do not need to complete the daily driver log, vehicle inspection report or stop at weigh stations.

2. recreational vehicles are exempt and these are defined as "mobile accommodation" (a tent or sleeping trailer) or a vehicle used to transport "recreational equipment … for personal recreational use". A boat/trailer used for research purposes would not qualify for this exemption.

3. 160 km Exemption:
The requirement to complete a daily driver log is lifted IF:

  • you travel less than 160 km radius from your home terminal; and
  • you return to your home terminal at the end of the work shift; and
  • you take 8 consecutive hours off duty at the home terminal; and
  • you record the daily hours on-duty and off-duty in some manner.

This exemption is only with respect to completing the daily Driver Log (graph). You must still fulfill all the other requirements and observe the work/driving limits. You must also record the daily times on and off duty so you can fill in the table (shown below) when you begin to complete the Daily Driver Log again.
Note that the 'home terminal' could be a temporary site away from Edmonton where you return to sleep each day.

Here is a sample (DOC, 684kb) of the Driver's Daily Log /Vehicle Inspection form. The graph is completed with a continuous line that tracks the 3 different states of: off-duty, driving, and on-duty (not driving). The hours for each of the 3 states are totalled at the right side of the graph and the sum written below. This tracking of driving time throughout the day must be current so fill it out when you take a break and complete it when your shift ends each day. Here are some examples of the completed Driver log(DOC, 2mb). You must be able to show the past 14 days of logs when requested by a peace officer.
Submit the white copy to the Fleet Safety Officer within 20 days of completing them (or as soon as you return to Edmonton). Keep the yellow copy with you.

Blank Driver Daily Log forms and Driver's Daily Vehicle inspection forms are available from the U of A Fleet Safety Officer.

Being found in contravention of the Commercial vehicle regulations (overloaded vehicle, cargo not adequately secured, failing to present up to date logs, failing to stop at a weigh station) can result in fines to the driver and the University of Alberta ($400 to $10, 000), having to make a court appearance and having the vehicle(s) impounded.

Summary Table for Commercial Vehicles:

Daily Driver Log
Daily vehicle inspection
Report to weigh Stations
Daily hour limits
Cycle1/2 hour limits
Truck ± Trailer:
< 4500 kg
No †
No §
No §
›= 4500 kg
›= 4500 kg (160 km exemption)
No †
Van ›= 11 seats:

A daily Driver's Log is not required but you need the previous 14 days hours on/off duty once you begin to drive a vehicle(s) with a GVW ›= 4500 kg.

§ You may need to reset the cycle by an off-duty break of 36 or 72 h before driving a vehicle(s) with a GVW ›= 4500 kg since you consider the previous 14 days of work.

Other Reading: