June 8-12, 1998
STATEMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Land Transportation Standards
Subcommittee (LTSS) was created by the North American Free Trade Agreement to
address developments of more compatible standards related to truck, bus &
rail operations and the transport of hazardous materials among the United
States, Mexico and Canada. While the NAFTA agreement established a timeframe
for the LTSS to complete its work by the year 2000, and some of the work has
already been completed, the work of the Subcommittee in some areas may extend
beyond the specified timeframe.
In the current session the LTSS
progressed its work in the following areas:
Exchange of Motor Carrier Safety
Data - The three countries resolved to
begin a program to exchange carrier safety data necessary for the effective and
timely implementation of the compatibility of motor carrier supervision for
international operations throughout North America. The three countries
committed to implementing such an exchange on a priority basis with the
objective of achieving reciprocity of safety fitness regimes. A trilateral
motor carrier safety data conference is to be hosted by Canada in the Fall
Inspection Standards Training - Mexico reported that it has completed training of its
federal law enforcement officials in Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
inspection standards and intends to begin inspecting vehicles and issuing
decals in the Fall of 1998. A joint US - Mexico inspection exercise is planned
in the late 1998 to highlight border activities being undertaken to demonstrate
the safety of motor carrier vehicles engaged in cross-border operations.
Emissions Testing - In the area of in-use commercial vehicle emissions testing
programs, it was agreed that parties would exchange information on developments
in their respective countries.
Vehicle Weights and Dimensions - Consensus was reached on a direction to be pursued to
address regulatory barriers and discrepancies which currently affect
international trucking operations. Resolution was endorsed which establishes a
context and framework for on-going discussions on regulatory compatibility. It
was also agreed to examine the feasibility of establishing vehicle stability
and control performance criteria as a basis for pursuing compatibility in
vehicle weights and dimensions. A technical task force was established for this
Hazardous Materials Transportation
Regulations - The three countries agreed to develop
a North American model rule and standards document relating to the transport of
Emergency Response Guidebook - It was also agreed to amend the North American emergency
response guidebook as a result of changes to national and international
regulations and publish the revised document (entitled ERG 2000) in late 1999.
Tank Truck Inspection Course Planned
- Canada is to provide a course in
Mexico on the inspection of tank trucks and portable tanks in the transport of
hazardous materials (December 1998).
To date major accomplishments of the
LTSS include the following:
Commercial Driver’s Licenses - agreement on a common age for operating a vehicle in
international commerce (21 years);
Drivers’ Logbooks and
Hours-of-Service - agreement to develop a common format
and contents for a North American logbook for recording drivers’
hours-of-service, and agreement on safety performance information each country
will require from motor carriers;
Driver Medical Standards - recognition of several binational agreements as the basis
for achieving reciprocity of driver medical standards;
Language Requirements - agreement on a common language requirement i.e., the driver
is responsible for being able to communicate in the language of the
jurisdiction in which the operation is being conducted;
Rail Safety - completion of a comprehensive analysis of regulations
affecting rail safety in the three countries. Through this work it has been
determined that regulatory differences will not significantly affect the safety
of rail operations in cross-border service;
Vehicle Weights and Dimensions - completion of a side-by-side comparison of the three
countries’ national, state, and provincial requirements with respect to truck
sizes and weights, identification of vehicle configurations most commonly used
in cross-border service; a report issued in the Fall 1997 outlined issues
related to the compatibility of vehicle and dimensions and possible approaches
to pursue more compatible vehicle size and weight limits;
Emergency Response Guidebook - North American Emergency Response Guidebook issued in
English, Spanish and French to ensure that authorities engaged in responding to
accidents involving hazardous materials will have consistent information;
Hazardous Materials Transportation
Regulations - substantially harmonized regulations
regarding the land transport of hazardous materials in the three countries;
Traffic Control Devices - a three country comparison of traffic control devices was
completed. Canada published this information in March 1996. The United States
and Mexican documents are in final coordination with publication expected in
the Fall of 1998.
TRANSPORTATION CONSULTATIVE GROUP
In order to address issues not
specifically assigned to the LTSS by the NAFTA, the three NAFTA parties created
a related group, the Transportation Consultative Group (TCG). This group
(comprised of five separate working groups) has been working in cooperation
with the LTSS to address issues related to cross-border facilitation, rail
operations, electronic data interchange, application and exchange of
information on advanced technologies and maritime and port policies. It is
envisioned that as specific work undertaken by the LTSS is completed in
accordance with NAFTA specified timeframes, follow-on standards-related work
will be continued within the TCG. In this week’s session, TCG working groups:
Insurance Coverage for Motor
Carriers - brought together insurance
regulators from the three countries to discuss issues related to insurance
coverage for motor carriers engaged in cross-border operations. Insurance
regulators indicated their intention to explore the possibility of entering
into confidentiality agreements for sharing information on individual insurance
companies, establishing a system of mutual cooperation, and exchanging
information on licensing and registration requirements. Regulators also agreed
to inform their insurance trade associations of their discussions.
Border Facilitation Issues - agreement was reached to pursue on-going information
exchange on motor carrier operating requirements.
U.S.-Canada Railroad Operating
Practices - reported on the completion in 1998
of the U.S.-Canada bilateral report on railroad operating practices.
Review of Rail Safety Appliance Regulations
- set up a trilateral technical
working group to review regulations on rail safety appliances in all three
countries and recommend necessary changes.
Automated Data Exchange - continued to provide a valuable forum for apprising on
driver and other data developments. The group will actively participate in a
trilateral data conference in the Fall 1998.
Cooperation on Transportation
Technologies - agreed to a five-year plan for
increased cooperation in the field of North American transportation technologies
(signed by heads of delegation). Specific endeavors in this area include common
principles for dedicated short-range communication, and website development in
support of North American research facilities and capabilities.
Transportation Technologies Workshop
- announced a planned workshop on
public/private partnerships for financing transportation technologies.
Maritime and Port Activities - agreed on a mission statement and detailed work plan
covering a range of issues relating to maritime and ports policy, operational
and safety issues. Specific issues include the need to identify and exchange
trade data on waterborne commerce in order to address obstacles to trade in
consultation with industry representatives and other working groups of the TCG.
The group also agreed to continue its work regarding harmonization of ship
safety inspection procedures and exchange of safety data.
Accomplishments of the TCG to date
include: development of comprehensive handbooks for both freight and passenger
carriers of federal, state and provincial regulatory and operational
requirements and developments of a computer database for the exchange of
Commercial Driver’s License information.