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Meeting of the NAFTA Land Transportation Standards Subcommittee

  1/26/2014



Montreal, June 8-12, 1998

JOINT 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 1998.

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 purpose.

Hazardous Materials Transportation Regulations - The three countries agreed to develop a North American model rule and standards document relating to the transport of hazardous materials.

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.


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