Author: Jill McBeth
Date: April 4, 2024

Why is trucking so F%&$ed up in Alberta? I can tell you why

When you mix transportation in with economic corridors there is always the risk that safety will not be a priority over the economy. I want to address some critical safety gaps that have been ignored by TEC (Transportation and Economic Corridors) for years. Albertan’s should be deeply troubled by the neglect of crucial safety policies within Compliance and Oversight.

The Compliance and Oversight department monitors the overall safety of trucking companies in Alberta. Compliance and Oversight conducts audits and investigations to ensure compliance with the NSC standards. However, there are glaring issues that demand immediate attention:

1. **Non-Compliance with Intervention and Discipline Policies:** There is a disturbing trend of Compliance and Oversight failing to adhere to its own policies. Companies with significant safety violations are not being labeled as unsatisfactory, allowing them to operate under conditional status without proper intervention. This negligence has been repeatedly highlighted in audits by the Auditor General, yet no corrective actions have been taken.

2. **Flawed Third-Party Auditor (TPA) Program:** The TPA program, responsible for conducting NSC Standard 15 Audits on behalf of the Alberta government, is fundamentally flawed:

   - Auditors do not have encryption keys to be able to download complete RODS. This compromised data is used for hours of service reviews, impacting carrier safety and public road safety.

   - Lack of support for auditors, hindering their ability to communicate with TEC for assistance.

   - Inadequate training and monitoring of auditors, leading to unreliable audit information.

   - Inefficiencies in data processing and communication, undermining the accuracy and effectiveness of audits.

If any carrier failed a audit or got a penalty as a result of a audit by a TPA in the last 2 years, I would 100% appeal it. The TPA audits are not accurate because TPA auditors do not have the “key” to unlock the box, that contains the accurate RODS. Would you pay your income tax if you found out the T4’s information has been wrong for years? Pretty simple argument.

To address these urgent safety concerns, the following actions are proposed:

1. Immediate review of all TPA audits and compliance records since June 2022, to ensure accuracy and reliability.

2. Establish a streamlined process for handling TPA audit by providing encryption keys, enhancing transparency and accountability.

3. Enforce intervention and discipline policies rigorously, ensuring that unsafe carriers are marked unsatisfactory and penalized accordingly, promoting road safety and public confidence.

Continuing to ignore these issues and allowing unsafe carriers continued operation is validating the perception that Alberta highways are more dangerous today. Unfortunately, these issues will be ignored until there is another incident involving a Alberta trucking company that Compliance and Oversight deemed safe.