Contending that it’s too easy to launch a new trucking company in Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance is calling for a national motor carrier entry standard that companies must meet before being allowed to put a truck on the road.
The announcement comes as the court proceedings of the owner of Calgary-based Adesh Deol Trucking, the company involved in the tragic Humboldt bus crash, continues in Calgary next week. The trial of the driver of the truck involved in the crash concluded in February. The driver, who plead guilty to 29 dangerous driving related changes, will be sentenced tomorrow, March 22.
“High performing truck drivers are not only a product of their continuous commitment to their profession but are a reflection of the culture of compliance and training of their carrier,” said CTA Chair Scott Smith. “The perfect equation of truck safety includes a committed carrier and driver, and we must begin ensuring that every carrier that enters and remains in our sector understands and is committed to that.”
CTA says that while the government’s commitment to establishing a mandatory entry level training (MELT) standard for truck drivers is an excellent start, there needs to be a similar evaluation and monitoring program for new trucking companies in order to ensure the maximum level of safety and compliance on the highways.
The Alliance is asking the federal government to consider working with the trucking industry to create a Fleet Regulatory Responsibilities and Corporate Practices (FRRCP) standard, which could require new carrier entrants to undergo a safety fitness and risk assessment evaluation, as well as submit to continuous safety oversight, before being given authority to operate a commercial vehicle. Aspects of this potential program were recently put in place in Alberta.
CTA suggests the program could require new companies to submit evidence they are administratively and technically prepared to comply with National Safety Code (NSC) standards and regulations as it relates to the establishment of safety programs, ongoing training and oversight of truck drivers and equipment maintenance, among other things. The mandate could also include intervention mechanisms for provincial enforcement agencies to monitor and identify poor-performing carriers and take action against them faster and more consistently through roadside enforcement, facility auditing and safety fitness oversight.
While the vast majority of companies go above and beyond in meeting NSC standards through their own progressive safety management systems, policies and corrective oversight, a small percentage of carriers lack the knowledge and preparedness to meet basic standards, says CTA.
To address the potential details of a potential FRRCP and how to focus attention on the few bad apples, CTA has established the Truck Safety Working Group made up of leading trucking industry representatives from coast-to-coast as well as Transport Canada. The Truck Safety Working Group was created to promote CTA’s 10-point action plan, which provides policy makers some direction on how government and industry can work together on improving truck safety compliance.
In the meantime, the CTA Board is calling on the federal government to quickly introduce electronic technology that will eliminate the paper compliance system which governs the time a driver and truck can operate on a public roadway.
“Moving quickly on implementing tamper-proof, electronic logging devices (ELDs) to replace archaic paper logs to effectively monitor hours of service compliance is a good example of the technology our industry is calling for. This system needs to be implemented and enforced as quickly as possible,” said Stephen Laskowski, president, CTA.
According to Transport Canada, fatigue in both truck and passenger car drivers is a factor in about 20 per cent of all collisions. There are about 9,400 HOS-related per year in Canada and the introduction of tamper-proof, certified ELDs will significantly improve compliance.
Paper logbook violations were central among the charges against the truck driver and the company in the Humboldt case.