MONCTON, N.B. — The first day of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association’s Transportation Summit kicked off today and it began with a industry update from big names in trucking.
The focus and buzzword of this year’s summit is leadership so it was no surprise the first couple of speakers for the day were major leaders in Canadian and American trucking. President of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley and Prasad Sharma, senior v.p. and general counsel of the American Trucking Associations gave attendees an updated look into the industry and hinted at what’s to come in terms of legislation.
Bradley began by saying the CTA is soon meeting with the standing committee transport who has been conducting (for the last 18 months) a review of safe transportation of dangerous goods in the post Lac-Megantic period.
“Trucking has been able to fly under the radar and focus has been where it should be with the railways,” he said. “But now it’s our turn. I don’t anticipate anything particularly negative to arise out of this. When you look at more dangerous goods are hauled by truck than any other modes, our rate of incident is extremely low. It’s also extremely low where we share our workplace with the public on the highway. A very small proportion of the dangerous goods incidents involve highway crashes. But where those do occur, and while they are not frequent that’s where the major leaks, incidents come from, therefore we have to be prepared for that.”
In terms of dangerous goods, Bradley said he would like to see some changes, like the Canadian government taking a more active role in enforcement of the shipper responsibilities under the regulations.
“The enforcement generally comes at roadside, and falls on you (carriers) and your drivers if there is documentation errors,” he said. “Really that should be where the shipper is responsible.”
In addition, he also suggested that an ELD mandate would be coming soon.
“We’re going to be repeating our call for ELD mandate,” he said. “In Canada I think we are inching closer in an announcement in that regard. I am not privy to the details or whether and how that would come about. But I think we’re getting close and obviously we want to be compatible with the United States. But at the same token I think we need to make sure the enforcement policies and the like work in the Canadian environment.”
He also spoke briefly about mandating entry-level training across the country.
“Another thing we are calling for, will be for the provinces to work with CTA and the provincial associations to adopt a regime of mandatory entry-level training,” he said. “It’s Canada, these things take time and not necessarily everyone will be on board at the same time or to the same extent, but I think we’re moving things in that direction.”
Next up, Sharma discussed what’s going on in the States.
“Canada has taken the lead and US is following,” he said. “I think that’s been true on speed limiters, on ELDs and we’re not following with great speed but we are following.”
He began talking about hours of service which he said “have a long and tortured history in the United States.”
Changes in to HoS regulations came into effect in 2013 and Sharma says the ATA has gone to congress again to make more changes since their opponents have taken the position that drivers use the restart to maximize their hours on the road. The issue, according to Sharma, might be going to the “graveyard that is congressional legislation.”
Turning towards ELDs, Sharma said: “(The ATA was) admittedly a little slow to coming around to support ELDs. We as an industry do support ELDs and we made it clear to the administration and we made that clear to congress.”
Now, administration has put forth a proposal for mandatory ELDs in all trucks (not just the worst 10% of violators).
“The proposal would be to put in place a mandatory ELDs and its likely that it will be finalized in 2015,” he said. “There will be a two year phasing period for compliance. It’s not on the fastest track, but it is moving and we do anticipate something happening early to mid-next year.”
The APTA Transportation Summit continues tomorrow.
Sonia Straface is the associate editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. She graduated from Ryerson University's journalism program in 2013 and enjoys writing about health and wellness and HR issues surrounding the transportation industry. Follow her on Twitter: @SoniaStraface. All posts by Sonia Straface