The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its annual conference, providing the opportunity for government officials, law enforcement personnel and industry members to work together to address the topics and issues affecting the commercial motor vehicle community in an effort to improve commercial motor vehicle inspections, enforcement and safety throughout North America. Nearly 800 individuals attended this year’s CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibition, which took place Sept. 22-26, 2019, in Biloxi, Mississippi.
CVSA’s annual conference consists of open meetings of its 10 standing committees: Crash Data and Investigation Standards, Driver-Traffic Enforcement, Enforcement and Industry Modernization, Hazardous Materials, Information Systems, Passenger Carrier, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Size and Weight, Training and Vehicle. These committee meetings are open to everyone in attendance – law enforcement, government agency and industry members.
CVSA’s five regions, which consist of states, provinces and territories of Canada, Mexico and the U.S., also meet at the annual conference. Law enforcement and industry members meet separately to discuss issues and topics specific to each community. Then, industry and law enforcement come together to have open discussions, sharing each community’s perspectives to solve issues and discuss important topics affecting transportation safety.
The annual conference is also an opportunity for programs and their members to go over achievements since the last meeting and to plan upcoming enforcement and outreach initiatives. The following programs met: International Roadcheck, Operation Airbrake, Operation Safe Driver, the North American Inspectors Championship and Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development.
The general session kicked off the conference and included regulatory updates from the chair of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), Compliance and Regulatory Affairs (CRA) Committee, Mexico’s general director of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Transportation General Directorate of the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT), and the deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
CCMTA’s CRA Chair Krista Cull provided an update on Canada’s National Safety Code safety fitness framework and mechanical fitness standards, national standards for entry-level training, International Roadcheck results for Canada, and the nation’s legalization of cannabis.
There was also a separate information session during the annual conference on Canada’s electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. Transport Canada, the department within the government of Canada responsible for developing regulations, policies and services for interprovincial transportation in Canada, led the information session and provided updates to session attendees on Canada’s recently adopted amendments to hours-of service regulations, including application of the rule, regulatory and statutory exemptions, technical specifications, third-party testing and certification, and implementation timing.
General Director Salomón Elnecavé Korish of Mexico’s SCT also spoke at the general session.
“The work of CVSA, dedicated to the harmonization of regulations for the supervision of motor transport in North America, has allowed the SCT, as a member jurisdiction of Region IV, to recognize and implement best practices in order to improve road safety of carriers on our roads, as well as harmonizing our inspection programs with those of Canada and the United States, as in the case of Official Mexican Standard NOM-068 SCT-2-2014, for the supervision of the physical and mechanical conditions of federal motor transport vehicles that circulate on federal highways,” said General Director Elnecavé Korish.
This year’s annual conference was FMCSA Deputy Administrator Alan Hanson first CVSA meeting. He provided an update during the general session on the agency’s grant awards; its proposed rulemaking to change hours-of-service regulations; the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule and Jan. 9, 2020, effective date; and the under 21 military commercial driver’s license pilot program. FMCSA Deputy Administrator Hanson also provided an updated on the Dec. 18, 2017, ELD mandate and reminded everyone that on Dec. 16, 2019, all commercial motor vehicles must use an ELD-compliant device.
In addition, FMCSA Deputy Administrator Hanson announced the jurisdictions that received Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) Awards in the categories of safety enforcement, safety enforcement improvement, comprehensive investigation, comprehensive investigation improvement, data quality and data quality improvement, commercial motor vehicle fatality rate and commercial motor vehicle fatality rate improvement.
As one of his last duties as CVSA president, Chief Jay Thompson of Arkansas Highway Police presented the coveted CVSA President’s Award to three individuals – Renee Hill, SafetyNet/ASPEN coordinator for the Arkansas Highway Police; Chief Derek Barrs with the Florida Highway Patrol; and CVSA Deputy Executive Director Adrienne Gildea. The President’s Award is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to CVSA. The three award winners have joined an exclusive and distinguished group of honorees from past years.
Hosted by the CVSA Size and Weight Committee and organized in cooperation with the International Society for Weigh in Motion, a Weigh-in-Motion Enforcement Symposium was held on Sept. 24. CVSA previously held a similar one-day WIM workshop in 2015; however, since then, advances have occurred in WIM technology, and safety enforcement agencies in North America and abroad have gained additional experience using WIM for enforcement. Lessons learned were presented and there were discussions about WIM enforcement implementation issues. WIM technology was also on display in the exhibit hall for further exploration.
In addition, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Safety Division provided interested annual conference attendees with a tour of the NASA Commercial Vehicle Inspection Station.
Each year, at the annual conference, a raffle is held and the proceeds are donated to a charity selected by the current CVSA president. With guidance from the Mississippi Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Safety Division, CVSA President Chief Jay Thompson selected the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence as the recipient of funds raised from the conference auction. CVSA membership raised nearly $3,500, which will be used by the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence to provide comprehensive services to victims impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault and homicide.
On Sept. 25, 2019, CVSA transitioned to its new leadership for 2019-2020. Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police is the new president of the Alliance. Capt. John Broers with the South Dakota Highway Patrol is CVSA’s vice president. Maj. Chris Nordloh with the Texas Department of Public Safety was elected by the membership to the position of secretary. Chief Jay Thompson will resume his term as past president.
Next year’s CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibition will take place Sept. 20-24, 2020, in Wilmington, Delaware.