Category Archives: Trucking

A New Study Looks At Truck Driver Health And Wellness

Just north of the border, the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Health has just started a study specifically looking at the health, safety and wellness of long-haul truck drivers. This study is different from others in that it looks at several factors related to a truck driver’s behavior. The spectrum of data points it encompasses includes stress, fatigue, environmental risks, and road hazards. Out of the many studies completed on this topic, this takes a holistic look at truck driver safety and health.

The study was carried out through the creation of two online surveys. One survey was geared towards truck drivers and the second towards trucking companies. The questions in the surveys were designed to learn more about truck drivers’ behaviors and what kind of initiatives trucking companies are implementing to support a healthier lifestyle for truck drivers.

The university will be running the surveys through January of 2019. They are hoping to generate approximately 1,000 responses from both truck drivers and fleets by the time the study completed. Currently, the university is going through the process of aggregating the data and will begin analysis once it has been collected.

Formerly, the university completed a pilot study to determine the efficacy of a full study. The results from their pilot study revealed that health issues ranging from unhealthy eating and drinking to stress and other physiological problems are having a negative impact on truck driver health and wellness. The pilot study also uncovered that trucking companies can and should be doing more to provide a supportive environment for their truck drivers. Whether it be through flexible working hours, better health and wellness policies, or specific programs targeting employee health, the options are out there.

The data gathered through the study, once analyzed, will be used to set up a Best Practices manual or series of guidelines that can be shared with employers and managers within trucking companies. The university took up the study for obvious reasons related to long-haul trucker health.

Professional over-the-road truckers are at risk for elevated illnesses simply due to the nature of their job. Just as an office worker must spend many, many hours a day in a single position, not moving or exercising, a truck driver must operate in similar circumstances. The question surrounding the debate now is: What can be done to change this paradigm?

As technological solutions emerge, trucking companies are better poised to facilitate programs that specifically address the health and wellness of their employees and operators. While many within the industry point to ELD compliance as a major pain point, the health and safety of our nation’s truck drivers should take center stage as we move into the future. Certainly, the growth of innovation in the industry will help.

Truck drivers may be at greater risk for suffering health issues, but as the trucking industry expands and fleets reap the benefits of a heady trucking environment, there is no reason why truck driver health and safety should not take center stage. By delving into the data provided by studies like the one being done by the University of Saskatchewan, trucking companies will be better positioned to do just that. Will we see measurable improvements in trucker health over time? Hopefully so.

Identifying Risk And Providing Timely Coaching

We are going to give you an example and then follow it up with recommendations on how you would handle such a situation, as an enterprising fleet manager. We are going to call this case study: When Good Drivers Are At Risk.

Take a good truck driver who is flagged as at risk. Perhaps the fleet manager thinks highly of this individual, mainly because he has a long safe driving record. Yet, as time went on, perhaps this truck driver’s score deteriorated to a level where he was suddenly identified as someone who may need proactive intervention. What if the fleet manager had a way to prevent the accident?

Fleets must be well aware of predictive factors that could shine a light on potentially unsafe behavior or life factors. What if the fleet manager had noticed that the truck driver had been leaving his house later every night? Perhaps the truck driver even had speeding events. Without being able to identify these factors, the fleet will be at a disadvantage when it comes to preventing an accident before it even happens.

Now imagine that the truck driver has a history of driving aggressively. After speaking to him or her, the manager finds out that the driver’s home was damaged in a storm and they are trying to rush home to fix the damage before it gets worse. So, he left the house later and drove faster. Speaking to the truck driver is important, but an action plan must be put in place to assist the employee in eliminating the stress of the situation and getting back to a level where an unsafe pattern can be modified. This is where coaching comes in.

Planning a Coaching Intervention

Being able to predict a potential crash based on bad behavior means nothing if no action is taken to handle the matter. Intervention, education, and effective coaching must be implemented to reverse the potential risk. Fleet managers must be trained on proper intervention techniques that allow for frank conversations when they uncover data that denotes an elevated crash risk.

Common coaching between a fleet manager and a truck driver should involve conversations about critical events or remedial training. Even more, these conversations need to be objective and relational so that truck drivers understand they are merely taking an active interest in safe operation of the fleet’s equipment. This is the only way the fleet manager will understand the stresses the truck driver is dealing with and be able to speak to them in a compassionate and understanding manner.

When a truck driver is dealing with issues related to health, family, finances, pay, hours, or work conditions, they may be at an increased risk for an accident. Fleet managers must be having proactive and positive conversations to uncover any underlying issues that may be contributing to said risk. They must be able to find a way to help lest a severe accident occur as a result of their inaction.

Consider that a 2017 study in Transportation Journal shows that truck driver stress extends beyond health, family, finances, or work conditions. Other factors stressing truck drivers include feelings of isolation or a lack of respect from managers and/or colleagues. These are factors that fleet managers should be able to address.

Don’t let at-risk behaviors or other factors lead to a potential accident. Isolate the cause through a productive conversation and work with your truck drivers and others within your organization to provide relief and ensure compliance and safe operation.

The Keys To Predicting And Preventing Severe Accidents – Part I

Today, we are going to bring you our multi-Part article series on what your fleet can do to predict and prevent severe accidents. And while you may initially think, “But that’s impossible,” in fact it can be done. Of course, every fleet wants to increase safety and mitigate crash risk, but they just don’t know how. By properly using data, sleep education and effective truck driver coaching, fleets can improve their overall level of safety and prevent horrible accidents.

Of course, the most significant aspect of a severe accident is the human toll. People can become injured or even die. Lives can be ruined. Beyond how it impacts people and their families, accidents can be substantial and leave little room for unbudgeted costs, whether they be from insurance claims, litigation, repairs, or service level damages. Consider that a single severe collision could cost your fleet millions of dollars, and you can see the problem. Numbers like that could cripple a small fleet.

One of the major problems in dealing with severe accidents lies in the fact that they are typically infrequent and largely happen at random… or do they? Could it be that, contrary to popular belief, large truck accidents are not random at all? Indeed, they may very well be a natural culmination of information, a set of subtle data points that can be isolated and analyzed. With the right information, motor carriers may very well be able to detect or prevent an accident before it ever occurs.

The key is understanding what issues the data points to. One of the most common causes of road accidents involving large trucks is that of fatigue. And while most conventional safety programs deal with specific truck diver behaviors, such as not checking mirrors or proper speed control, something like loss of control is generally a physiological problem. When a truck driver is suffering from fatigue or sleep abnormalities, they may feel awake even when their mind is asleep.

Consider this scary fact: A truck driver technically can be 100% in compliant with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations while still being asleep at the wheel. When truck drivers are tired and become distracted from operating the vehicle, accidents occur. Most severe accidents occur when truck drivers lose control of the vehicle and are not responsive at the point of contact.

When a truck driver has been exposed to:

  • Disrupted sleep
  • Truncated sleep
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Cumulative fatigue
  • New sleep patterns and times

They may be at risk for a severe accident. Additionally, there are six major accident types that fall into the “severe” category and can be attributed to fatigue and loss of control:

  • Roll-overs
  • Run-off-road
  • Head-on
  • Jack-knife
  • Side-swipe
  • Rear-end

Each of these accident types could be potentially fatal for anyone else on the road as well as the truck operator. These types of loss of control accidents happen when the operator is disconnected or distracted from the truck driving task at hand. In these situations, they may not take any action, but had they been awake, would have seen the point of impact at least five to seven seconds before the accident occurs.

This is where the data gleaned from electronic logs can be used to the benefit of the truck driver and the fleet. Although the ELD rollout has not been without its fair share of confusion and complaint, it does provide a rich data set that can be used to do more than ensure compliance, it can save lives. Join us in Part II of our series where we examine exactly how that can be done.

Creating A Safety Culture On A Budget

Not every fleet has the budget to spend huge amounts of money on safety initiatives. In fact, more than half of all fleets in the country are considered small-size motor carriers. So, instead of worrying about where they will come up with the necessary capital to invest in an expensive safety program, they should approach safety from a two-pronged approach.

Small fleets need to focus on the hiring and onboarding process in two ways. One, they need to create a company safety culture that promotes truck driver practices that reinforce safety. Two, they need to utilize a training system that matches the company’s needs.

Consider this: Annual truck driver turnover rate at small trucking fleets hit 80% in 2017. The fact is, small fleets have a much harder time recovering from attrition and turnover. It simply costs them more since they are working twice as hard with far less resources. This is why ensuring their workers receive adequate training, remain compliant with the organization’s safety values, and – above all – don’t quit.

If your truck drivers are compliant, yet have pride in the organization, and are passionate about what they do, it won’t be hard to ensure a great safety culture without having to invest tens of thousands of dollars in equipment and coaching.

Simplify Your Structure

Small fleets need to simplify their fleet management structure with programs that focus on safety, training, and follow-up. In many cases, fleet and/or safety managers can create simple programs, in-house, that keep these factors in mind.

One idea is to set up a safety group coupled with an in-house online training system. New truck drivers get two-to-five days of hands-on training followed up by a web-based test. This way they get the opportunity to work with a fellow truck driver, ask appropriate questions, and create a relationship they may not have with a direct manager, simply due to the chain of command.

Follow up tests would be designed to ensure the truck driver has retained the necessary information to succeed within the fleet. If for some reason they were unable to pass a basic proficiency, follow-up training can be assigned. The most important thing is to ensure that every truck driver has received the training they need to effectively, but most of all, safely, operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Consider these simple, cost-effective solutions:

  • Certified truck driver training programs;
  • In-house created instructional technology solutions;
  • Constructive feedback documented by trainers and company stakeholders, and;
  • Safety scorecards used to measure safety incidents and created by an in-house safety committee.

Compliance is important because if you have operators who are safe, but are not operating in a compliant manner, it does nothing to help the safety goals of your organization.

Inexpensive Online Solutions

Online solutions exist for small fleets who are looking for inexpensive options. Small fleet managers could employ training mechanisms that track and verify truck driver compliance and safety, all in one.

Fleets with limited resources could forego creating their own in-house programs for customized solutions and online training tools and dashboards that provide metrics and guidance. Customized online tools provide data that fleet safety managers can use to identify how operators are performing.

Even better, the National Safety Council provides an online course resource that small fleets can use at minimal cost. Whichever your fleet chooses, truck drivers feel empowered to practice safe driving behavior when they know the company they work for is investing in their future, even if that investment must be minimal.

In the end, you do not need to spend a small fortune, no matter your size, to enhance the safety culture within your organization. Find online tools or build in-house, then tap into the resource you already have: experienced truck drivers who can help train and retain.

Key Tips To Improving Your CSA Score – Part II

Welcome back to Part II in our series taking a look at how you can improve your CSA scores. In our last post we examined exactly what a CSA score is and how it is weighted. This week, we will begin diving into key ways that you can ensure your CSA score remains as sparkly clean as possible.

Consider this: It takes around 20 good inspection to offset one bad inspection. There are many reasons to pay close attention to your CSA scores, but this one should really give you pause. There are essential tips every truck driver or fleet manager should know, so let’s get started.

Data Verification

Ensuring your inspection data is verified is critical to avoiding a bad inspection on your record. You need to make sure your inspection data is valid, accurate, and warranted. If you see bad inspection data, make sure to get it corrected.

You can always challenge bad information through an RDR, or request for data review process. Just bear in mind that before you do so, you will need to make sure you have clear, factual evidence for why the data is incorrect. You will also need to clearly list issues, whether they are missing records, incorrect or duplicate information.

It is also critical that you use neutral language. The review officer is very much likely a peer of the officer who made the original notation. If you have ELD records, photos, eyewitness accounts, or otherwise, all of this will be good for your cause. Also remember that you have up to two years to challenge inspection data.

When it comes to ensuring proper data trails, make sure your carrier registration is kept up-to-date. Motor carriers are required to complete an MCS-150 form at least once every two years. Ensure truck and truck driver numbers and mileage data are all up-to-date.

Ensuring Control

Does your management team have adequate safety controls in place? The Safety Management Cycle put forth by the DOT was done so to ensure there are controls in place. The operations team must establish clearly-defined roles and responsibilities, as well as hiring and training standards.

When a truck driver or other member of the team is not performing up to standard, it is on the management team to do something about it. Some fleets use a three-strike process. It might help to establish thresholds for events such as speeding, swerving, or harsh braking.

Whatever process your fleet uses, you must make sure your management controls are properly documented and make sense. Otherwise you could find yourself on the wrong end of a DOT audit.

Dispatch Limitations

Always remember that staying CSA compliant is not just the responsibility of your truck drivers. Dispatch operators and managers also have a big job to do. Consider dispatch limits as defined in regulation 395.3 of the HOS rules. These rules are not up for debate.

Dispatchers must make sure that they are not overloading the fleet truck drivers to such an extent that it forces them to violate HOS rules. If the home office is not doing a good enough job helping truck drivers stay compliant with HOS rules, you may find a CSA violation is not far behind.

With the ELD mandate here, it is far easier to eliminate what used to be one of the largest HOS violations, problem with logbooks. Have you already outfitted your fleet with electronic logging devices? If not, you may be on the unfortunate receiving end of a violation.

Join us next week in our final installment of this series!

Key Tips To Improving Your CSA Score – Part I

The fact is this: Improving your CSA score can benefit you in many ways. Even more, it can benefit your truck drivers and other stakeholders who have an interest in seeing your fleet succeed. Since CSA scores are public information, motor carriers with higher scores will be preferred by clients who want to rest assured that their freight is in good hands.

Even more, fleets with better CSA scores suffer fewer DOT audits and roadside inspections. This directly translates into lower insurance premiums, which could mean thousands of dollars saved every year. And since potential recruits want to work for a company that has a good reputation, great CSA scores go a long way in ensuring you can find the best truck drivers for the job.

While staying compliant is important, the overriding factor in keeping CSA scores acceptable should be the safety of your truck drivers and others on the road, as well as providing a good working environment for your employees. Unfortunately, many motor carriers still aren’t even sure what goes into their CSA score. Smaller fleets may not feel the imperative to learn everything they need to learn about this important compliance and safety metric.

What is a CSA Score?

CSA was rolled out at the tail-end of 2010 as a way to introduce greater enforcement and compliance from information collected during roadside inspections. The Department of Transportation also wanted a way to identify “at risk” carriers, which CSA allows them to do. Scores are shown as a percentage, with the DOT choosing to investigate a motor carrier if their score falls to 80% or below.

A CSA score is a rating made up of any violations a motor carrier has racked up over a 24-month period. The rating system itself is made up of over 700 different violations, which all fit into seven different categories. These categories themselves are referred to as BASIC scores, which stands for Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories.

They are as follows:

  • Unsafe Driving: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane changes, and inattention or distraction.
  • HOS Compliance: Hours of Service compliance and operating the vehicle while either ill or overly fatigued.
  • Truck Driver Fitness: Failure to have a valid or appropriate CDL or being medically unqualified to operate the vehicle.
  • Controlled Substances/Alcohol: Use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Brakes, lights, or other mechanical defects or failures where a repair should have been completed.
  • Cargo: Improper load securement, cargo retention, or hazardous material handling.
  • Crash Indicators: Histories or patterns of high crashes, whether that be in frequency or severity.

Now that you are aware of what the CSA scores are made up of, we want to take you through key steps to improving them. Ensuring your CSA scores are in good shape could be the thing that makes or breaks your business. Even more, it could be the signal to proper operation and safe truck driving. What more could you ask for?

The guidelines we are going to outline for you over this two-Part series are designed to become a critical part of your motor carrier’s culture. These are not quick fixes. To ensure you get the most out of them, you must have buy-in from those within the organization who can directly impact. If you do not know your CSA score, make sure to visit the official website here and search by your carrier name or USDOT number. Be sure to join us next week as we dive into the steps required to get control over your CSA score.

The Keys To Recovering From A Blowout

If there is one thing that truck drivers know, it is that a blowout can happen anytime, anywhere. While a truck driver can pay extra attention to ensuring tires are properly maintained, there is no way to completely eliminate the dangers of a blowout. Even worse, if a blowout occurs on a steer tire, both the truck driver and others on the road could be put in extreme danger.

It is important that when a blowout occurs, an untrained truck driver does not react with a “natural instinct” if they feel a pull from a blown out steer tire. Usually, that natural instinct is to pull the wheel back in the opposite direction and slam on the brakes. The problem is, these two actions are exactly the wrong actions to take.

What Should a Truck Driver Do?

With so many new truck drivers on the roadways today, paying careful attention to how to recover from a potential safety disaster should be at the front of everyone’s mind. When going through truck driver training, recovery is critical.

Should a blowout occur on a steer tire, the correct approach is to apply full acceleration and adjust the steering wheel to maintain a course going straight ahead as much as possible. The point of applying full power to the vehicle is that it will help the vehicle maintain a straight-forward course.

For some, this may seem counter intuitive, but it does make sense when you break it down. When a steer tire blows out, both the working tire and the blown out tire will pull in the direction of the blowout. At that point, your only hope is to rely on the four dive tires, which are always trying to push the vehicle in a straight line. By increasing forward thrust from the drive wheels, it helps to overcome the sideways pull of the blown tire. This will help overcome the sideways pull from the blowout.

Overcoming a Psychological Reaction

Of course, it is easy for us to write this out, but when a truck driver is in the seat, traveling down the highway at 70 mph, and they suddenly hear loud bang and immediate change in direction, how does one overcome the “natural instinct?”

Take a comparison between truck drivers and airplane pilots as one example. When a pilot needs to make a course correction, they have plenty of time to evaluate what kind of impact the move they make will have on the trajectory of the plane. A truck driver, on the other hand, literally may only have a second – or a fraction of a second – to make a critical life or death decision.

There are different reasons for tire blowouts that do not relate to tire maintenance. Whether it be from road debris or otherwise, truck drivers must put themselves in the mindset that if they suffer a steer tire blowout, it is critical they:

  1. Apply full power to the throttle;
  2. Make slight steering drift corrections, and;
  3. Decelerate slowly and pull over once the vehicle has stabilized.

The key thing to note is that this is not a maneuver truck drivers get to practice. It is something that they simply must deal with when it occurs. It is important not to get rattled or let emotions or fear overcome the right course of action.

For a little inspiration on doing the right thing, there are more than a few YouTube videos out there that amply demonstrate what happens when a truck driver incorrectly responds to a steer tire blowout. Don’t let that be you. Stay calm and stay safe and you will get through it.

Windshield-Mounted GPS Devices Now Okay Says FMCSA

Back in 2016, the FMCSA allowed certain vehicle safety technologies to be mounted on windshield interiors. This included inside the area swept by windshield wipers. The rule was part of the 2015 FAST Act highway bill. The regulations specified that the voluntary mounting of safety technology on a windshield was allowed.

The technology specified included:

  • Camera systems
  • Speed management systems
  • Lane departure warning systems
  • Forward collision warning systems
  • Collision mitigation systems
  • Active cruise control
  • Other applicable technologies

At the time, the current regulations stated that devices could not be mounted more than six inches below the upper edge of the windshield and outside the truck driver’s line of sight. With the new regulation, the devices have to have been mounted no more than four inches below the upper edge or seven inches below the lower edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers. Again, they would have to be mounted outside the operator’s line of sight so that they could see road signals and signs.

Federal regulations further defined vehicle safety technologies as those related to fleet management, performance, behavior, speed or other systems related to those factors. Over time, the FMCSA made further exceptions to the rule, but it wouldn’t be long before requests were coming in for something more.

Then, came petitions from transportation companies that it should be more than just safety devices that are granted the exception. Read on for the full story.

Fleets Petition the FMCSA

By March of this year, a 60-truck fleet requested a waiver from the FMCSA asking if they – and other fleets – could be allowed to mount GPS devices in the area around the windshield. Specifically, they were asking about the area which had previously been designated for vehicle safety technology.

While the FMCSA had allowed vehicle safety technology mounting for three years, GPS devices were still off-limits. The trucking company asking for the waiver specifically stated in their petition that any carrier who wishes to mount a GPS device on the windshield within the area defined for vehicle safety technology should be allowed to do so.

The FMCSA took public comment on the potential waiver through April 23rd before finally making their ruling.

The FMCSA Decides

After some time tossing the idea around, the FMCSA finally came to a conclusion on the matter in mid-August, when they announced that they would grant the trucking company requesting the waiver a limited 5-year exemption. Furthermore, the exemption applied “on behalf of motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles.”

Their exemption specifically stated that motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles would be allowed to mount a GPS device on the interior of the windshield normally designated specifically for vehicle safety technologies. In their ruling, the FMCSA determined that mounting a GPS device in the windshield area would not have a negative impact on the safe operation of the vehicle.

They did specify that transportation companies would have to adhere to the terms and conditions of the exemption and that, if so, they would achieve a level of safety equivalent or greater to the level of safety provided by the original regulation.

With the new exemption in place, expect trucking companies to jump on board. By allowing motor carriers to mount the devices on the windshield, it frees up interior space in the cab for other critical devices and mechanisms. Furthermore, it puts necessary information in easy viewing range of the truck driver whenever they need it.

While many say a loosening of trucking regulations create an unsafe environment, most industry advocates agree that this change is only good and creates a better environment for professional truck drivers who have safety on their mind. The ELD mandate has proven this.

Lidar Technology Is Creating A New Trucking Safety Paradigm

Have you heard of LIDAR? If not, it is one of the most commonly-used methods for sensing vehicles and objects on the road, whether it be in passenger vehicles or in commercial motor vehicles. Most new passenger vehicles use a combination of cameras, radar or LIDAR, which essentially stands for “laser radar.”

LIDAR is used to look in front of the vehicle for potential hazards or collisions. It also works in concert with other safety systems such as collision mitigation systems and automatic braking systems. In fact, LIDAR is used in almost every safety system in production today, whether for passenger cars or commercial motor vehicles.

Many companies are working on using LIDAR for Class-8 commercial motor vehicles in a way that prevents the need for autonomous technology, although LIDAR can be used in either autonomous, semi-autonomous, or full truck driver control situations.

Even better, infrared LIDAR systems can work at night, low-light situations, fog, rain, and even swirling snow. LIDAR systems are particularly good at measuring physical distance no matter the environment. State-of-the-art LIDAR systems can measure the road up to six cars ahead.

The key is laser power amplification. As laser and lens technology continues to improve, real-time status updates come a lot faster. The only problem left is ensuring the LIDAR systems do not become blocked during use. Like a human eye with something in front of it, a blocked LIDAR system loses most of its functionality.

What Makes it Better

LIDAR is better than radar and other sensing technologies because it can sweep faster and view farther. On a Class 8 commercial motor vehicle, the application is even better because the LIDAR camera can be placed high up on the vehicle so that it has less obstructions and a good bird’s-eye view of what is going on around it.

Conversely, if you are using a simple camera system, the camera or video technology must take many pictures and then feed those images into a processing system that runs off an algorithm. This takes time, and when time is of the essence as a large Class 8 truck is barreling down the road, there is no room for delays.

LIDAR systems measure the distance to an object by bouncing a laser off an object and evaluating the reflection. This allows physical distance data to be the clue, rather than brake lights or a slowing vehicle. These systems mitigate the stopping distance required for large commercial motor vehicles.

Are They too Expensive?

Certainly, with these new technologies, cost can be an issue. Fortunately, as these devices go mass market and become far more commonplace, the price point will drop. Today, some manufacturers are offering multi-channel units for under $3,500. While this price tag may seem high, it is far lower than the cost of an accident.

The fact is, manufacturers are making significant strides in increasing the viability and safety outcomes of these systems. With a LIDAR unit on top of a big rig measuring the height of bridge overpass that is nearly 1,000 feet away, safety decisions behind the wheel become a lot easier.

Transportation companies and motor carriers see these technologies as a way to buttress their current safety efforts without compromising on cost. There is little doubt that technologies like LIDAR will eventually become mass market and far more ubiquitous in heavy-duty trucks. While it is still unclear when that day will come, as technology progresses, there is little doubt lasers will play an increasing role in improving the safety of large commercial motor vehicle use on our nation’s roads and highways.

Canada Puts Trucking Safety On The Map

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has put a new focus on trucking safety north of the border. In a 10-point plan they’ve created, the CTA has posited working with Transport Canada and government agencies in all the provinces to strengthen safety measures and increase overall compliance with government agencies.

The draft plan, which was released two months ago, asks local and federal Canadian transportation agencies to strengthen compliance with vexing trucking problems such as hours of service and unsafe truck driving practices. Representing thousands of carriers, CTA is looking for multiple ways to increase and improve trucking safety. And considering how tightly bound trucking is on both sides of the border, what Canada does has an impact on the United States market.

According to CTA President Stephan Laskowski, the CTA board looked at multiple ways that trucking safety could be improved in Canada. Specifically, they wanted to focus on smaller carriers and owner-operators who may feel like they don’t have to take safety or compliance as seriously.

Specific Proposals

CTA specifically intends to put forward regulations calling for an ELD mandate like what was put in place in the United States. To what may be the surprise of many, Canada does not have an ELD mandate in place. They are hoping that they will see an ELD mandate go into effect in 2019. The first draft proposal of a Canadian ELD mandate was released in December of 2017, with the Canadian government still reviewing the draft proposal.

The difference with the Canadian rule, however, is that it will only apply to motor carriers who are federally regulated, in other words, truck drivers that operate between different provinces. For carriers that operate within the provinces to fall under an ELD mandate, the provinces will need to create their own version of an ELD mandate.

The plan CTA has outlined calls for government agencies to partner with vehicle manufacturers to explore the feasibility of specific technologies, such as forward-facing cameras and other devices that track truck driver behavior. They also want a study to investigate how these technologies can be combined with an existing ELD.

They would also like to see provincial law enforcement officers with pre-screening technologies trying to seek out and identify operators who are flouting compliance and operating in ways that could contribute to a potential accident.

Identifying Best Practices

The final part of the plan is designed to help government agencies and industry advocates develop a system that identified trucking companies who pose a safety risk. They also want to create a best practices guide that transportation companies can use to improve their overall safety profile.

Going beyond what is happening in the United States, the plan also calls for mandatory training for new truck drivers. They specifically want to focus on distracted driving, but also cover safety basics for commercial motor vehicle operators.

Part of the new drive from Canadian regulators stems from an accident that happened in April between a big rig and a bus carrying a junior hockey team. The crash resulted in multiple fatalities and injuries and shortly after the crash the motor carrier that the truck driver worked for was suspended. Now the Canadian government is completing an audit of the carrier to determine if there were glaring deficiencies in the level of safety awareness the motor carrier exhibited.

Of course, CTA acknowledges that most of the Canadian truck drivers operating north of the border are professional and safe, but that there is also a minority of operators that may need to be addressed from a safety standpoint. Will we see an ELD mandate take hold north of the border within the next year? If CTA has anything to say about it, the answer is a definitive yes.