Author: Jill McBeth
Date: June 11, 2024

Enforcement VS Education

In my BLOG, “Why is trucking so F%&$ed up in Alberta? I can tell you why”, I explored the concern that Transportation and Economic Corridors have a vested interest in the economy and transportation safety becomes a secondary priority. Stop expecting Alberta Transportation to help you! Compliance and Oversight makes their budget from writing tickets, no matter how government tries to sell it.

Enforcement and education are two key components in a transportation regulatory framework, and they serve very different purposes. Enforcement uses penalties, fines, or legal actions to ensure compliance with regulations. It is a reactive approach that focuses on punishing non-compliance and deterring future violations. Education provides information, guidance, and resources to help industry understand and comply with regulations. It is a proactive approach that aims to promote awareness, understanding, and voluntary compliance.

Enforcement mechanisms are important for holding unsafe carriers and drivers accountable and maintaining whatever integrity is left of the commercial transportation industry. Where it all falls apart is when the regulatory bodies make the rules and don’t inform industry what those rules mean to them. Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors has had the ELD regulations for three years and carriers facing departmental intervention are clueless to the risks.

In a roadside stop ELD penalties can add up fast. An example is; a driver’s ELD was in a malfunction state for the day the driver was stopped and inspected and the 14 previous days. If the driver did not follow the malfunction protocol the driver could be charged under 78(1) failure to ensure ELD operates in good working order and is calibrated and maintained. That penalty is recommended to be $1000.00 per offence for the driver. That would be $15,000.00. The carrier could be facing: 78(5) Failure to repair or replace ELD within required timeframe. $1000.00 per offence is $15,000.00 for the carrier.  If the driver intentionally disconnecting the ELD to avoid accurate recording of the information that could be 86(3), Tamper with ELD $1000.00 per offence and the carrier could be facing 86(3) request require allow a person to tamper with ELD $2000.00 per offence. The carrier could be charged for every day because the carrier is supposed to be monitoring the driver, (87(1) and 78.3 (1)) using the carrier ELD dashboard and is aware of the malfunction. Imagine explaining to your boss how a driver earned the company a $32,000.00 penalty. Nobody gets a safety bonus this month!

This isn’t the good old days of trucking; drivers and carriers are monitored in real time and roadside officers are armed and have expanded powers including detention. Drivers need to take care during a roadside stop, speak respectfully and ask questions respectfully, even if the driver is correct and the officer wrong. In a roadside situation the person with the gun is always right and drivers need to remember that.

In summary, enforcement is about penalizing non-compliance, while education is about empowering compliance through awareness and understanding. Both enforcement and education are important tools in a regulatory framework, and a balanced approach that combines both can be effective in achieving regulatory goals. The problem is Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors Alberta is not balanced; the focus is enforcement with no education for the carriers to be successful. Why would Alberta Transportation and Economic Corridors slit the throat of this cash cow when carriers can be kept in the dark and the cash keeps flowing?