As a result of The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canadian truckers can currently enter the US and drive freely. The only limitation placed upon Canadian truckers is they cannot pick up AND deliver a load within the United States. While having Canadians driving on US highways may not seem like much of an issue, it is a serious safety concern to all those who drive in the US.
The United States has strict regulations governing the trucking industry and not all countries follow our example. Canadian truckers may not have the training or the safe driving record that is required of American truckers. In fact 154 Canadian truckers were recently found to have forged documentation required for a Canadian commercial drivers license (2). The potential hazards posed by unsafe, or untrained Canadian truckers are immense, and could easily result in serious injury or loss of life.
Due to less stringent laws regulating truck drivers by Canada, Canadian truckers are more likely to be overly fatigued, and therefore dangerous. Canadians are allowed to drive for 13 hours without rest, whereas an American driver may drive only 11 hours before required to take 10 consecutive rest hours. Canadian truckers who drive for 13 hours per day in the days or weeks before their entry into America are necessarily more tired than American truckers who have only been driving for 11 hours at a time. These regulations are in place in order to protect the American people; however they fail to do so where Canadian truckers are concerned.
In addition to having more lax hour of service regulations than the United States, recent reports state that some Canadian trucking companies are requiring their drivers to violate Canadian HOS (Hours of Service) regulations (1). In 2008 the government of British Columbia audited 333 of its 26,000 CDL holders for violations, 71% failed (1). This is evidence of a systemic problem that endangers Americans whenever Canadian truckers cross the border.
Canadian drivers have also reported that their trucks were regularly in poor mechanical condition. One driver discusses how his truck’s cab would fill with exhaust fumes (1). The same driver states that his truck caught fire and caused a forest fire in Washington due to mechanical issues (1). Once again, this is an example where a Canadian trucker posed a clear danger to the American public as a whole.