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​​CTA to be Part of the National Task Force Reviewing Commercial Insurance

- by Christina Hryniuk

(Feb. 10, 2020) -- Commercial insurance is a popular topic among those in the trucking industry and other commercial sectors in the economy. In response to the increasing attention pertaining to commercial insurance, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has formed the National Commercial Insurance Task Force, with the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) being a key member.

The Task Force will begin meetings this month in Alberta and travelling across the rest of the country in the Winter-Spring of 2020. The IBC Task Force has a mandate to:

  • Educate and inform consumers, governments and stakeholders on the factors contributing to the current availability and affordability challenges with commercial insurance;
  • Learn from different industry partners, consumers and stakeholders about their experiences related to challenges around insurance availability and affordability;
  • Develop a report with recommendations that aim to improve insurance availability and affordability for industry partners, consumers and stakeholders.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) thanks and applauds IBC for taking leadership on this issue and establishing this process,” said CTA President Stephen Laskowski. “This is an opportunity to explore with the insurance industry what changes the membership would like to see in the area of commercial insurance.”

In preparation for this process, CTA has begun surveying its membership on potential areas for improvement they would like to see in commercial insurance.

“Early responses highlighted by members include issues related to insurance fraud, trucking sector specific issues, insurance personnel training, and length of claim process,” said CTA’s Senior VP Policy Geoff Wood. “Members will have an opportunity to be engaged in this process through CTA staff, or in some cases more directly by attending regional meetings of the Task Force. Either way we encourage the membership to get involved.”

To learn more about this important initiative, please click here.


 

We can learn from U.S. ELDT program

- by Christina Hryniuk

Once again, our American counterparts appear on pace to beat us to the punch when it comes to implementing a much-needed safety initiative.

This time, it is the FMCSA’s national Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT), which is supposed to come into effect in February 2020. Watching this program roll out, I would suggest that there is a lot that we can learn from this process.

This will be a national backstop program, meaning that across the country, there is now a minimum training standard.

Once this program is implemented, no one will be able to simply test for a commercial vehicle license, they will be required to take some form of entry level training.

This is something that the Manitoba Trucking Association’s (MTA) board of directors has discussed with a national training program: the need to ensure there aren’t any loopholes or opportunities to slip through the cracks.

By having one national program, a backstop, if you will, no drivers can take advantage of lower standards in one state or another. Further, if a state already has a testing standard in place that is higher than what the FMCSA is proposing, the higher standard remains in effect.

With that said, it has to be pointed out that saying “there’s a standard” has to actually mean something.

In Manitoba, drivers in the MELT program are required to complete 121.5 hours of training, consisting of 40 hours in-class, followed by 41 hours in-cab, as well as 40.5 hours in the yard. Instructors are able to access a government and industry-designed set of training materials designed to cover all of the content in the curriculum.

According to the FMCSA website, there is no required amount of classroom theory/knowledge training or set number of hours behind the wheel. In this program, a new driver’s ability to drive is at the discretion of the trainer.

No specific training materials have been developed by the FMCSA beyond what can be found in the appendices of 49 CFR 380. This is a government document, not training material. So, to say there’s a testing standard might not mean what we would anticipate.

Second, much of the program requires self-certification that is not overseen. While we want to trust that everyone who registers with the Training Provider Registry meets the requirements, based on what our industry has seen with self-certification of ELDs in the U.S., the question must be asked, “Have all of the requirements actually been met?”

Finally, this is a huge program, which has led to delays in implementation and the usual finger pointing. Getting all regions on board and developing the necessary infrastructure and automation is a huge undertaking.

This isn’t a surprise, nor is this unique to the FMCSA. The recently implemented carbon tax backstop program here is Canada also had huge infrastructure and wrinkles that are still being resolved. Unfortunately, what it means right now is that the ELDT program is in limbo.

Why is it important for Canada’s trucking industry to pay attention to this? First, these drivers will be driving in Canada, so we want to ensure their drivers are as safe and well-trained as ours (safety-related reciprocity is a longstanding issue in Manitoba between the MTA and Manitoba Infrastructure).

However, there is opportunity to learn from their program as well.

If we can learn from its deficiencies, such as by ensuring the infrastructure is in place well in advance of roll-out or by developing a higher standard that is accepted across the board, then I believe we will be working toward creating a more level, safer playing field for all carriers and new drivers.

Our executive director Terry Shaw wrote this feature for trucknews.com.



 

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