Industry Issues: Why CTA dropped the 18-hour window fight: Part 2

by David Bradley

The following is the conclusion of a two-part statement by CTA CEO David Bradley explaining the CTA’s decision to withdraw its support of the controversial 18-hour working window proposal for Canadian hours of service regulations. Part One was published in the January 2005 edition of Truck News…


CTA sees no point in proceeding on a proposal designed to help drivers if driver organizations do not see fit to support it.

CTA will not allow a divisive public squabble with its industry partners to interfere with the prompt completion of a new, safer hours of service regime in Canada. Nor does it have any intention of propagating the inevitable misinformation and hysteria so often whipped up by the media on anything pertaining to the trucking industry’s safety performance.

Turn draft regulations

into law now

CTA does not wish to see the draft regulations agreed to by the federal and provincial ministers held up any longer. We urge the country’s legislators to move quickly to turn the draft regulations into law.

Work with industry to introduce mandatory electronic

recording technology

Moreover, with the loss of the potential flexibility the additional off-duty time would have provided, CTA endorses the introduction of requirements – which would be mandatory – for electronic on-board monitoring technologies to improve safety through compliance with the rules.

These requirements would apply to all operators and drivers of vehicles covered by the National Safety Code, where the driver is required to hold a commercial licence.

However, consideration may be provided for drivers who are not currently required to complete a paper logbook for a specific type of trip.

This is not only imperative from a safety point of view, which of course is paramount, but also in terms of providing responsible carriers with a level playing field with competitors who might otherwise choose to bend or break the rules in order to increase driving time.

The days of the paper logbook should be numbered, says CTA, which urges the federal and provincial governments to commence negotiations to enter into a joint government-industry memorandum of understanding on how best to make this a reality.

Our customers should

be working with us

Without our customers, our industry does not exist.

Our customers – the shippers and their customers – have a major role to play in making the new rules work and in creating an even safer trucking industry. There can be no doubt that the trucking industry will give up some productivity under the new Canadian hours of service rules. They will be less flexible, and with the introduction of electronic monitoring technology, carriers and drivers will be less susceptible to pressures to bend the rules.

Carriers and drivers will be even less tolerant of delays in loading or unloading. Our carriers and their drivers deserve to be paid for delays and the extra services we provide. They deserve to be treated with respect and understanding by shippers and consignees. We will need to continue to work together to find other efficiencies in the supply chain.

A new trucking

industry is emerging

In closing, the Canadian trucking industry is at a watershed. It is moving to a new phase, having learned from but leaving behind the first phase of the post-deregulation environment which was characterized by an explosion of new entrants (some of whom should never have been allowed to enter the industry), blood-thirsty competition, increased service demand, downward pressure on freight rates and depressed driver pay. Of course, some of that was the desired outcome of economic deregulation.

There can be no doubt that the Canadian economy benefited from deregulation and the trucking industry continued to grow and expand. We do not seek to turn the clock back to the days before deregulation. But, we also must move on.

The industry can no longer sustain increases in costs, and resolve the shortage of truck drivers, and meet society’s demand for safer, more environmentally-friendly transportation, let alone earn a decent return on investment, without a widespread overhaul of current rate structures.

The trucking industry will continue to set the standard in terms of service to the Canadian businesses that need to get their goods to market, both domestically and internationally. We will continue to be the workhorse of the Canadian economy. But, we are no longer able or willing – either by putting our companies at risk or on the backs of our drivers – to subsidize the shipping community. n

– David Bradley is president of the Ontario Trucking Association and chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.