Use Humboldt lessons as ‘catalyst’ for change: CTA

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TORONTO, Ont. – The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is asking governments to look beyond the actions of an individual driver in the wake of a truck-bus collision that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos family, and explore a series of changes in the name of industry safety.

“When the findings of the carrier audit are released, the trucking industry, governments and safety stakeholders across Canada should use the facts surrounding the events of April 6 as a catalyst to finally deal with a small segment of the trucking industry that chooses not to adhere to safety regulations,” it says in a release.

Applauding Alberta’s commitment to introducing mandatory entry-level driver training, in addition to entry requirements for new carriers, the alliance released a 10-point action plan covering issues as broad as hours of service, distracted driving, sobriety, carrier evaluation programs, training and technology.

Alberta Transport Minister Brian Mason “has shown leadership throughout this horrific event, but the directional improvements announced today, along with other items, need to be introduced in all provinces,” said alliance chairman Scott Smith. “We need a national plan. We believe the CTA 10-point plan shows the way. Now is the time.”

“The vast majority of trucking companies and truck drivers embrace a culture of compliance by far exceeding minimal safety requirements,” says CTA president Stephen Laskowski. “However, the events surrounding the Humboldt tragedy have reminded all of us that we need to have a national conversation about raising the bar in dealing with those operators who do not make the proper investments in truck safety and lack the commitment to make improvements.”

The action plan includes:

  • Introducing regulations this summer to mandate the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) for all carriers required to maintain a logbook by September-December 2019.
  • Consulting with the federal government, commercial vehicle manufacturing and trucking industry to explore the feasibility of developing regulations requiring forward-facing cameras in all new and existing federally regulated commercial vehicles.
  • Partnering with governments, manufacturers and the trucking industry to assess the availability and feasibility of increasing the use of additional in-cab technologies that monitor distracted driving behaviour of commercial drivers.
  • Working with the governments, manufacturing and the trucking industry to assess the market readiness of advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), including speed limiters to mandate set speeds on heavy trucks, and determine the role governments can play in increasing the penetration rate of driver assist technology in the marketplace.
  • Encouraging all provinces to introduce mandatory entry-level training (MELT) for commercial truck drivers based on the national occupational standard (NOS).
  • Working with governments, trucking and the training industry to develop a distracted driving awareness module for commercial vehicle drivers to be incorporated into all provincial MELT programs and other training programs.
  • Exploring with the provinces and the federal government ways to expand the use of on-road safety prescreening technology (pre-clearance/pre-screening) to assist provincial enforcement officials in identifying commercial vehicle operators that require further attention and intervention.
  • Working with federal and provincial governments to better focus on-road enforcement related to known human factors that contribute to collisions.
  • Working with federal and provincial governments to develop a better proactive system to identify trucking companies and drivers that pose a risk to public safety — including such measures as mandatory drug and alcohol testing, new entrant education and evaluation programs and anti-avoidance mechanisms.
  • Working with federal and provincial governments to develop a ‘best practices’ guide to assist purchasers of transportation services in identifying unsafe operators.
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John G. Smith is Newcom Media's vice-president - editorial, and the editorial director of its trucking publications -- including Today's Trucking,, and Transport Routier. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • I am not going to comment on what the truck driver did or didn’t do, or what the bus driver did or didn’t do. However, what the CTA said, ” asking governments to look beyond the actions of an individual driver in the wake of a truck-bus collision that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos family”. This is completely inappropriate. The driver was charged, not found guilty. Secondly, no one has questioned what part the Department of Transport in the Province of Saskatchewan played. I have a few questions that we all ought to think about. How many four way stops did that truck driver go through before he got to that intersection? Why didn’t that intersection state that it was only a two way stop? Furthermore, why wasn’t it a four way stop? Or better yet why aren’t they using roundabouts in these areas? Putting all the responsibility on one person in this instance is wrong. The authority that is responsible for the construction and maintenance of these roads is responsible for constructing roads that promote predictable behavior, eliminate risk where practicable and failing that, reduce risk when possible. In this case they failed in their responsibility to the public who are the ones who fund the infrastructure. I do not believe that truck driver started his day with the intent to kill anyone. I do not believe that the bus driver or the truck driver were careless people. I do believe that there was an extremely important piece of information missing in their decision cycles and this could have been mitigated through the use of better infrastructure design.

  • This will cause many truck drivers and part time truckers to quit causing a huge jump in freight rates. This the same organization who has members short change truck drivers than ended up broke and in the homeless shelter system.

  • How many four way stops did that truck driver go through before he got to that intersection?——-so his luck came to an end when he hit the bus

    Why didn’t that intersection state that it was only a two way stop? ———–stop means stop- the law does not require intersections to have a sign posted that has only a 2-way stop

    Furthermore, why wasn’t it a four way stop?——who cares if its 4 or 2 way stop- stop means stop

    Imagine the truck driver posing these questions to the investigating officers?

    I want the truck driver to ask the court these questions.

    The truck driver can ask these questions to the families who lost loved ones because he did not stop at a stop sign.