The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is applauding the recommendations contained in a report from the House of Commons all-party Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities on the transportation of dangerous goods and safety management systems in Canada.
David Bradley, CEO of the alliance, who appeared before the committee last year, said “the report takes a balanced, fact-based approach to issues relating to the transportation of dangerous goods by truck.”
Not surprisingly, seven of the 10 recommendations were directly related to rail safety. As it pertains to trucking, the standing committee made two recommendations, both of which are long-standing positions of CTA and the provincial trucking associations:
- That Transport Canada implement regulations to require the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).
- That Transport Canada implement regulations to require Electronic Stability Control on new trucks (ESC).
Both recommendations are long-standing positions of CTA and the provincial trucking associations.
In its report, the committee highlighted the fact that trucking, which transports about 70 per cent of all dangerous goods (by weight) and 77% of which 77% involve shipments of crude petroleum, oil, gasoline and fuel oils, is subject to a “level of enforcement, on-road, real-time enforcement, that …. is different from that in any other mode.”
In its testimony, CTA argued that the current regulatory environment and the level of enforcement governing the safe transportation of dangerous goods by truck overall work very effectively. While it suggested that perhaps the committee might look at whether people conducting dangerous goods training should be required to have some sort of training qualifications, CTA main argument was that the best way to avoid crashes involving dangerous goods on the highway – which is where the interaction of trucks and the public is most concerning – or any other commodity for that matter, would be to introduce ELDs and ESC requirements.
On the issue of Safety Management Systems (SMS) the Committee again heard that the Canadian trucking industry operates safely. According to CTA’s testimony the industry has achieved a low accident rate of 0.27 accidents per 10,000 shipments on Canada’s highways, and aims for continuous improvement. Transport Canada also reported that commercial vehicle safety is continually improving, citing a 12% decline in both casualties and fatalities between 2008 and 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
While there are no specific SMS requirements for federally-regulated trucking companies, Transport Canada testified that SMS principles are incorporated in a number of the performance criteria set out in the National Safety Code. That combined with a more effective enforcement/sanction regime than exists in other modes, the use of other risk management tools and the fact that about 71% of trucking companies already have some form of voluntary SMSs in place, left the committee with no reason to mandate SMSs in the trucking industry.
In its report, the committee also discussed things like speed limiters, shipper responsibility and indemnification clauses but made no recommendations.
The review, which took 16 months to complete was spawned by the 2013 rail accident at Lac Megantic, QC. The committee’s final report, released today contained recommendations for all modes – rail, air, marine and truck. In total, the committee – which heard testimony from over 50 organizations or individuals — made 10 recommendations. In addition to CTA, the committee also heard from the Alberta Motor Transport Association, the Manitoba Trucking Association, the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association, RTL-Westcan Group of Companies and Gibson Energy Inc.
A copy of the full report can be obtained at http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Committee/412/TRAN/Reports/RP7834953/412_TRAN_Rpt04_PDF/412_TRAN_Rpt04-e.pdf