CTA challenges federal transport minister, CCMTA to solve "irritants"

by Canadian Shipper

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is asking federal transport minister, David Collenette, his provincial colleagues and the CCMTA to resolve some of the longstanding consistency and database concerns on a host of safety and technical matters, in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

In a letter to Collenette and to Darren Christle, chair of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators’ Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Committee, CTA’s CEO, David Bradley, said that "while the irritants stemming from the ongoing lack of compatibility and consistency in Canadian trucking safety and technical standards, seem mundane and insignificant in comparison to the murderous events of September 11th and their aftermath, such irritants and incompatibilities, could take on great significance in the new reality.

Bradley pointed out that "in recent weeks, some Canadian truck drivers have been detained and/or charged for such things as having one name on their citizenship cards and another on their commercial driver’s licence. It has been reported to us that Canadian truck drivers whose first language is not English have been fined by state troopers for not meeting the requirement of US law which states that drivers must be able to speak English well enough to be understood by a police officer. These are irritants which left unchecked could become major problems in today’s high security environment."

Perhaps of more concern, according to Bradley, are "ongoing problems like the lack of a national carrier safety ratings system and database. The line, if it exists at all, between safety and security, is very thin How long before the US regulators raise concerns about many of these same matters and imperil the reciprocal nature of our regulatory systems?"

"We are not suggesting that our rules need to be the same as the Americans. But, they do need to be compatible and the monitoring systems and data has to be in place nationally."

And, says CTA, these types of problems are not exclusive to Canada. On October 10th, Sen. John Breaux, the chairman of the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Subcommittee, told the head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, that he should get a hammer and go break some china in order to implement a host of overdue rules and systems changes. The Senator, who called the meeting to find out what FMCSA is going to do to counter concerns that terrorists may be planning to use trucks to wreak more havoc on the United States, stated that "there is an urgency today that didn’t exist before."

The same urgency also exists in Canada, says CTA.

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