The United States conducts a substantial volume of cross-border trade--$48.9 billion in February alone--with our northern neighbor, Canada. And more than 54 percent of that trade in February was carried by truck. That adds up to a lot of tons of freight carried across our shared border by a lot of commercial trucks.
And that's why, last Sunday, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro traveled to Iqaluit, Nunavut, very near the Arctic Circle, to speak with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.
Administrator Ferro reminded the Council that the U.S. and Canada share a common safety goal--to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. And by bringing the Council up to date on our latest safety initiatives, she reaffirmed that we take safety very seriously.
Among the safety efforts the Administrator highlighted are:
- Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA), our major enforcement program, and its Safety measurement System (SMS), which helps us identify high-risk carriers.
- Hours of Service, where our new rule is expected to reduce driver fatigue and the accidents that can happen as a result.
- Electronic Logging Devices, which will help curb employee harassment and improve compliance with safety regulations.
The Administrator also spoke about areas where our two nations have worked together to achieve safety gains, like Cargo Securement and the North American Fatigue Management Program. And she praised the ongoing partnership working toward reestablishing reciprocity for driver medical standards and revalidating our commercial driver's license agreements.
She also updated the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators on our latest strike force to improve motorcoach safety in America.
In February, I called for a national safety crackdown on high-risk passenger carriers. In response, we trained and dispatched teams of more than 50 elite investigators to identify and shut down motorcoach companies that risk the lives of the traveling public.
We are digging deeper into dangerous patterns of unsafe behavior and practices. Our teams are working together to target bus companies and conduct vehicle inspections so that we catch the bad guys who disregard the safety of others. We're drawing a line on repeat violations and are looking at violations as a whole and individually. This is a new paradigm for bus safety.
And, as Administrator Ferro reported, we have already identified 12 unsafe carriers and have taken them off the road.
Canada's motor transport administrators have a material interest in all of the initiatives the Administrator discussed with them last Sunday. After all, borders don’t discriminate when it comes to road safety, particularly when two nations are as engaged so deeply with each other in the free flow of goods, tourists, drivers, and carriers.
So we thank our counterparts in Canada for their hard work in pursuit of commercial motor vehicle safety. And we invite them to continue working with us on our motorcoach safety efforts and all our road safety endeavors.