In response to the recent announcement by Transport Canada that the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations will be amended to require new manufacturing standards for trailer under-ride guards, the CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), David Bradley, called for a harmonized approach in North America.
"While Canada's new requirements may provide drivers of small vehicles with the best level of protection anywhere in North America, any safety benefit from the new standards will be diluted unless it is adopted concurrently by Canada and the United States," he said.
The new requirements announced by Transport Canada will apply to newly manufactured trailers with a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,980 pounds or more. Trailers with a low chassis or those whose wheels or structure prevent or limit under-ride will not be affected. Details of the amendments will be published in the Canada Gazette Part II on October 6 and will take effect one year later.
In recent years, CTA had participated in the consultations with Transport Canada that took place prior to the initial publication of the proposed regulation Canada Gazette Part I and had hoped that before the regulation came into force that Transport Canada would have reached agreement with representatives of the US Department of Transportation upon a common standard and implementation schedule.
In its written submission to Transport Canada in February 2003 CTA stated "To ensure the highest standards of on-road safety, and to create a level playing field for Canadian carriers, CTA would therefore recommend that further discussions take place between Transport Canada and US DOT with a view to developing a single standard - modeled on Transport Canada's research - applicable in both countries ......and would propose that its coming into force date be contingent upon the US moving to a similar, higher standard."
"To my knowledge, the US has made no firm commitment to move forward on under-ride protection in concert with Canada," added Bradley. "We are concerned by the lack of a North American safety standard and have asked Transport Canada to advise us on the steps the department is taking to foster a harmonized North American approach to under-ride protection."