Canadian truckers irked at U.S. HOS enforcement effort

| 1/27/2004

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is looking into claims by Canadian truckers that U.S. enforcement officers are giving warnings and citations to cross-border drivers for clocking hours driven while in Canada.

The Ontario Trucking Association asked the CVSA to contact the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to look into the issue, which may be a result of misinterpretations between new U.S. HOS rules and how they differ from Canadian rules.

CVSA is a group made up of Canadian and U.S. safety officials and transportation regulators.

“OTA wants to know of any situations where Canadian drivers have been issued warnings or citations by U.S. enforcement officials for driving hours clocked while in Canada,” the association said in a statement.

“Since the new U.S. hours-of-service rules kicked in on Jan. 4, there appears to be a rash of situations where U.S. officials have slapped Canadian drivers with warnings and citations for hours driven in Canada.

“OTA suspects this may be happening because, in spite of the U.S. government’s efforts to train officers about the new rules, there may still be a misunderstanding of how the Canadian and U.S. hours-of-service rules differ.

According to press accounts, the Ontario Trucking Association wants the problem resolved before enforcement officials begin issuing tickets or detaining drivers. FMCSA earlier advised states to only warn truckers and emphasize HOS education efforts until the end of February, when enforcement would be backed with fines.

Areas of conflict

Some situations recently reported to Ontario Trucking Association involve these scenarios:

U.S. officials should not cite truckers who drive 13 hours in Canada (where they are allowed to drive 13 hours), provided the last 2 hours of that driving cycle occur in Canada. However, some drivers have been warned, even though the 13-hour driving cycle took place two or three days earlier.

Moreover, a driver is not required to stop driving after the 14th hour after coming on-duty while in Canada, and this should not be cited by a U.S. official if all the driving occurs in Canada, the Canadian trucking group said. Canadian HOS rules allow a driver to drive for 13 hours or be on-duty 15 hours regardless of how many hours have elapsed since coming on-duty following the required off-duty period.

However, the Ontario Trucking Association says carriers are reporting some officials have gone back two or three days and warned the Canadian driver about driving after the 14th hour.