We are fortunate to work with professional drivers and commercial carriers across Western Canada, that operate in a large variety of fields within the transportation industry.
Now, an NSC commercial vehicle, also known as a National Safety Code commercial vehicle, differs depending on a few factors. One, where the vehicle is registered determines the threshold determining which is a National Safety Code commercial vehicle. British Columbia determines an NSC vehicle to have a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 5,000 KG. Learn more about British Columbia's requirements.
In Alberta, the Province recognizes two different GVWR thresholds that would stipulate an NSC commercial vehicle. The two different GVWR thresholds differ, depending on where the vehicle travels. A Provincial carrier is defined by a registered GVWR of a single vehicle or a combination of vehicles registered at 11,794 KG or greater and operates solely within the Province of Alberta. A Federal carrier is defined by a registered GVWR of a single vehicle or combination of vehicles registered more than 4,500 KG and operate within Alberta but also can/do cross Provincial borders. Learn more.
If you are operating a registered commercial vehicle in other jurisdictions across Canada, I encourage you to learn more about your Provincial requirements.
When conversing with professional drivers about roadside convictions, out of services, violations tickets and defects found during inspections performed by law enforcement), one of the most common things we hear is "I didn't know that would have an impact on that".
What I mean by this is; when a professional driver receives a speeding ticket while operating an NSC commercial vehicle, most think two things:
1) The ticket will need to be disputed and or paid
2) The ticket, if not disputed, will end up on their commercial abstract.
The thing is it does not stop there - your actions have an impact not only on yourself but also on the commercial carrier. If a professional driver receives any conviction, out of service, or violation ticket, these events will also show up on the commercial carriers, carrier profile. A carrier profile is essentially the carrier's report card.
Convictions, out of services, and violations carry points and impact the "risk rating" of the carrier. So, regardless if you are operating a commercial vehicle for the first time, or the 100th time, you want to ensure you're always protecting yourself and operating in a safe manner so violation tickets, convictions, and out of services do not occur. If a violation ticket or failed inspection occurs, ensure you communicate this to your commercial carrier right away!
In Alberta, commercial drivers have the opportunity to take training once every three years, and if successful on the final exam, they can submit the certificate to the registry to have three demerit points removed. This training, the Professional Driver Improvement Course, can be taken in class or online.
A couple of times a year, the CVSA completes a road enforcement blitz across North America. During the July 2020 blitz, drivers were issued 2,339 speed-related violation citations, not including any other violations, inspection convictions, or out of services.
As the Manager of the commercial carrier, one key component you or someone you designate to ensure happens:
1) NSC professional driver is trained to communicate all violation tickets, convictions, or out of service that occurs in the company's NSC commercial vehicles immediately. This is extremely important because these events will have a negative impact on your Carrier Profile.
2) You need to ensure a copy of the violation ticket, convictions, or out of services on the inspection is handed it immediately. A copy of all tickets needs to be placed into the professional driver's respected Driver File for a minimum of 5 years. Additionally, a professionally qualified driver is required to have the abstract located in the driver file within 30 days of hire and pulled annually thereafter.
3) You need to ensure a conversation takes place, that can be documented, that shows the company has a progressive disciplinary policy, and that there is remedial action with the professional driver to help ensure these violations do not happen again.
Important note: if a professional driver receives a violation ticket, we encourage
carriers to review such tickets and if appropriate, dispute such tickets. By disputing
the violation ticket, there is a chance that you could win your case in court, which
eliminates the ticket, points of the professional drivers abstract as well removes
this violation ticket off the company's Carrier Profile.
We highly encourage carriers to work with Alberta Ticket Busters that are registered in Alberta, to fight violation tickets in court. They are industry leaders and offer exceptional service.
With respect to the carrier's transportation safety program, a mandatory requirement to meet NSC requirements. One of the requirements in this program is to set a threshold for keeping a driver qualified to operate an NSC commercial vehicle. When a driver has too many points on their commercial abstract, depending on the threshold set in the program may disqualify them from operating an NSC commercial vehicle. We recommend professional drivers take a Professional Driver Improvement Course (PDIC) (with an Alberta driver's license) to remove three demerit points once every three years.
Have a safe day!
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Thank you again for taking the time to listen, and I hope you have a safe day!
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