News Release Archive

The Department of Business and Consumer Services, with support
from the industry, is putting the onus for heavy commercial truck
and driver safety on the carrier as well as the driver.

A new demerit system for commercial vehicle carriers and drivers,
effective Sept. 1, 1997, is aimed at making them more accountable
for their actions on the highway. Those who do not take care of
their fleets will be penalize, and the demerit system will help
target efforts toward improving safety performance.

"We want to ensure that carriers provide safe vehicles for their
drivers," said Wayne Gaudet, Minister of Business and Consumer
Services. "Ultimately, our goal is safer Nova Scotia highways for
all motorists."

Similar to the passenger driver demerit system, points are
assigned to both commercial driver and carrier for various
infractions under the Motor Vehicle Act, Criminal Code of Canada,
Public Highway Act, Motor Carrier Act, and regulations governing
dangerous goods transportation.

The maximum allowable demerit points are calculated for each
carrier based upon fleet size. For example, a carrier with a
fleet of 10 will be allowed a point accumulation of 41, while a
100-truck carrier will be allowed to accumulate up to 147 points.

Audits will be conducted at various levels of maximum allowable
point accumulation. Convictions, road checks and accidents
occurring in other jurisdictions by base-plated vehicles are also
entered into the carrier profile.

The carrier demerit system, implemented in all provincial
jurisdictions except Prince Edward Island and Quebec, is in
response to one of 16 standards developed by the Canadian Council
of Motor Vehicles in 1993 to improve the safety of commercial
vehicle operations. Since then, various regulations, such as
these, have been introduced.

"This new demerit system will help keep everyone on a level
playing field. It's a good thing as long as everyone complies,"
said Dave Roberts, office manager for the Truckers Association of
Nova Scotia. "Industry and government have proven that together
we can improve the safety record in the province."

The industry would also like to see legislation in place so
action can be initiated against shippers who overload trailers.
To date, no jurisdiction has come up with airtight legislation to
do so.
The Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association supports a system
that is equitable and deals with safety in the industry.

"We applaud the aspect that Nova Scotia is moving ahead with a
carrier demerit system," said executive director Ralph Boyd. "We
would like to see all the Atlantic provinces on board. We are all
just starting out. The important thing is that we have a
mechanism for adjustment as we find problems."


Contact: Louise MacDonald
         Business and Consumer Services

ngr                  August 28, 1997 - 10:45 am