The most important relationship that TCA fosters is the one which we build with our members. It is with that thought process in mind that I traveled to Brampton, Ontario, Canada to engage in meaningful discussions with our carrier members and potential members on topics that North American carriers face in the ever-changing truckload environment at TCA’s annual Bridging Border Barriers event.
Canadian trucking, of course, is not vastly different from its U.S. counterpart and is seemingly faced with an ELD mandate and corresponding growing pains that U.S. carriers have already gone through. That being said, discussions at our event centered on this meaningful issue, which should not be taken lightly. While the implementation process can be daunting, the rewards to our industry appear to be limitless. Canada’s regulation still has several questions left unanswered, including third party certification and a grandfather clause, however the ELD mandate is incredibly important because the data collected from these devices can help prove the need for regulatory changes on hours of service, detention time, and truck parking issues. Questions that have been unanswered for decades now appear to have an end in sight, or at the very least, ample data to truly support changes to our industry and how we operate. TCA supports an industry-wide mandate, and we encourage Canada’s authorities to move forward quickly to help ensure parity between the two nations.
Marijuana is growing in acceptance when it comes to federal regulations, as shown by Canada’s recent legalization of this drug for recreational purposes. Many large carriers have already instituted hair testing as a strong addition to the traditional urine test, however the procedure cannot yet be used to satisfy USDOT drug testing protocols. Furthermore, the U.S. Congress recently directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to move forward with the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – its rollout has been woefully behind schedule. Once the Clearinghouse is up and running, carriers will be able to share information about drivers who have failed their drug tests so that these individuals cannot hop from one job to another. Even those Canadian carriers with U.S. operations will be able to participate so that they are aware of precisely what kind of drivers they are hiring.
Regulations abound amongst the trucking industry, regardless of which nationality you represent. However, with meaningful discussion and valuable partners with the enforcement community, our TCA members can embrace the information provided to them so that they can make the best informed decisions that are practical for their fleet. Merely a week after the event, I have already had several meaningful discussions with Canadian carriers on ELDs and personal conveyance issues in the states and the proper way to log them, along with potential corresponding changes to the U.S. hours-of-service regulations. Make no mistake, now is the time to engage your association prospects and be part of a discussion that helps shape the regulations moving forward, rather than the dialog on how to deal with the mandates once they are in place. While this event is one in a long line of information exchanges that TCA continues to build upon, it also becomes one which I annually look forward to. See you next year.