Motor Carrier Safety

Transport Canada's Motor Carrier Division is primarily responsible for facilitating the reduction of fatalities, injuries and crashes involving large commercial trucks and buses in Canada. The Motor Carrier Division works closely with the provinces, territories and industry on rules and regulations governing the safe operation of commercial vehicles, drivers and operators.

Road safety in Canada is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial/territorial governments. The federal government is responsible for the regulations that govern the construction and importation of new motor vehicles under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and for limited operational matters for commercial motor vehicles (bus and truck) under the Motor Vehicle Transport Act. The provinces and territories are responsible for the enforcement of safety on Canada's roads and highways, including the enforcement of the federal Hours of Service Regulations.

Safety oversight is accomplished through the National Safety Code (NSC), which was developed in 1987 as a response to impending economic deregulation of the trucking industry. Its goal is to improve motor carrier safety in Canada through the consistent implementation of safety standards. The federal, provincial and territorial governments developed the NSC as a comprehensive set of 15 standards to address motor carrier operations in Canada, covering all aspects of commercial vehicle, driver and motor carrier safety.

Much of the Division's work falls under the Safety Management Systems approach to motor carrier safety. Safety Management System (SMS) is a proactive approach to safety that prescribes a specific culture within an organization to manage transportation risks. Transport Canada is using this approach to oversee other modes (e.g. air, marine and rail industries) and it has legitimate application in the road sector as well. Through the SMS approach, the motor carrier industry can assume greater accountable for systematically and proactively managing safety risks.

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