U.S. Looking North for Guidance on Truck Crash Accountability

Reports emanating out of the United States suggest that the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is looking north of the border for possible guidance in terms of how to account for crash accountability under the administration’s carrier safety profile program – Compliance-Safety-Accountability (CSA).

Under CSA, all accidents — regardless of whether the truck was at fault or not — are listed on a carrier’s CSA profile and count towards the carrier’s overall score. Likewise, in Canada, provincial carrier ratings systems list all accidents are involved in but only those that were preventable, in other words where the truck was at-fault, are “pointed” and count towards a carrier’s overall safety rating.

Industry officials in the United States, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA) have been urging FMCSA to examine the Canadian approach. It appears that such an examination is underway but how long the review will take and what the outcome will be remains to be seen.

Still, says the CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), David Bradley, “It’s nice to see the US government at least willing to look to Canada for examples of how things might work better, for a change.”

“We have long held that whether its weights and dimensions standards, safety initiatives such as the Canadian federal hours of service standards or speed limiters (in Ontario and Quebec), the Canadian experience provides a wealth of empirical evidence in terms of the impact on safety, on infrastructure and on the environment on certain measures, right in the United States’ backyard.”

According to Bradley, there are examples of where US regulators have adopted Canadian approaches – he cites the reset provisions in both the Canadian and US hours of service regulations as a “Made-In-Canada invention” as one – but they do not happen all that often.

“There are good ideas on both sides of the border; and obviously a compatible approach is a good thing. Perhaps initiatives like the Regulatory Cooperation Council, which arose out of the recent perimeter action plan, will morph into a body that over time may help create a more bilateral approach to certain trucking regulations,” he said. “In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with our partners at ATA and provide whatever information we can.”