CTA blasts proposed U.S. safety labeling rules

by Canadian Shipper

The Canadian Trucking Alliance says a US proposal imposing new labeling requirements on trucks and trailers for sale in Canada is not only unnecessary but would be impossible to comply with.

The submission was in response to a set of proposed rules and policy statement issued in March by the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Under the plan, all commercial motor vehicles produced for sale in Canada would have to bear a label denoting compliance with U.S. manufacturing standards if they are to be used in the United States. In-use vehicles would have to be returned to manufacturers within 24 months to have the labels affixed; and new vehicles manufactured for sale in Canada would be required to have the American labels as of the effective date of implementation.

"We take absolutely no issue with the right of the U.S. federal government to take all reasonable steps to ensure safety on the highway" said David Bradley, CEO of the Alliance. "However, the proposed rules and policy statement completely ignore the fact that Canada already has virtually identical manufacturing standards for commercial vehicles, and that all commercial vehicles driven into the United States must already adhere to all U.S. on-road standards."

"Canadian commercial vehicles have an exemplary record of safety performance, said Bradley. "Affixing a second label won’t make these vehicles any safer, but it will impose an immense administrative burden on our industry."

CTA’s submission argues that the similarity of the vehicle manufacturing standards should be enough to convince DOT to withdraw the labeling requirement for Canadian vehicles. It also suggests that the U.S. and Canadian federal transportation departments should begin immediately to work towards some form of mutual recognition arrangement on commercial vehicle certification and labeling, an approach which has proven effective in other facets of truck safety.

"It is our sincere hope that common sense will prevail and that this costly and unnecessary plan will be dropped", said Bradley. "However, if the U.S. chooses to ignore our concerns, CTA will be calling upon Transport Canada to impose a requirement that all U.S. commercial vehicles bear a Canadian certification label to enter the country–this would be an unfortunate and completely avoidable outcome."

The Canadian federal government has also protested the proposal in a diplomatic note echoing CTA’s own submission.

A copy of CTA’s submission can be found at www.cantruck.com.

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