More than 550 individuals representing law enforcement, the motor carrier industry, transportation safety companies, and commercial motor vehicle associations and organizations attended the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Wilmington, Delaware. This was the Alliance’s first in-person annual conference in two years.
The annual conference took place from Sunday, Aug. 29, to Thursday, Sept. 2, with board meetings held on the first and last days of the conference. CVSA members and non-members gather at this conference each year to work together to improve commercial motor vehicle safety, eliminate roadway crashes, and improve inspection and enforcement uniformity, consistency and reciprocity throughout North America.
The annual conference was held in the home state of the Alliance’s outgoing president, in accordance with CVSA Bylaws. CVSA President Sgt. John Samis, with the Delaware State Police, will serve until Oct. 1, at which point, he will become past president. Sgt. John Broers, with the South Dakota Highway Patrol, will become president and Maj. Chris Nordloh, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, will become vice president.
The conference kicked off with the general session on Aug. 30. Updates were provided from each country of the North American alliance. Salvador Monroy Andrade, director of international matters for the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (Ministry of Communications and Transportation) provided an update on behalf of Mexico. Joel Turner, chair of the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators Committee on Compliance and Regulatory Affairs provided a video update from Canada. And Jack Van Steenburg, executive director and chief safety officer for the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, also provided a video update.
Attendees also heard from Thomas B. Chapman, board member with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), who spoke about NTSB’s Safe System approach which aims to eliminate fatalities and serious injuries for all road users through a holistic view of the road system.
The week included region, committee and program meetings. CVSA has 10 committees which all met at the conference: 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. CVSA’s programs also met: Cooperative Hazardous Materials Enforcement Development, Human Trafficking Enforcement, International Roadcheck, Level VI Inspections, Operation Airbrake, Operation Safe Driver and North American Inspectors Championship. There was also a meeting of jurisdictions that use performance-based brake testers (PBBTs).
At the annual conference, CVSA’s membership voted for the next CVSA secretary. The secretary position is a direct path to the presidency. The person elected into the secretary position will serve one year in that position, one year as vice president, one year as president, then three years as past president. CVSA membership voted Col. Russ Christoferson, with the Montana Department of Transportation, into the position of CVSA secretary on Sept. 1. He will begin his secretary term on Oct. 1.
This year’s secretary vote was the first time in the Alliance’s history that Class II Local Members voted for the secretary. In the past, only Class I Members were permitted to vote for CVSA secretary; however, the CVSA Board of Directors voted this spring to amend the bylaws to grant Class I Members a vote for secretary. The Class II Local membership class may now vote as one membership block, as stated in the updated bylaws.
CVSA also held an awards luncheon, its first in more than a decade. The luncheon started with remarks from FMCSA Deputy Administrator Meera Joshi, along with the announcement of FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Leadership Awards. In addition, Kylla Lanier, deputy director for the organization Truckers Against Trafficking presented the TAT Champion Award to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
CVSA President Sgt. Samis presented recognition plaques to members of the Alliance who were leaving their leadership roles – Lt. Allen England with Tennessee Highway Patrol; Buzzy France with Maryland State Police; Sgt. Eric Bergquist with Maine State Police; Adrian Kelleher with Louisiana State Police; David Lorenzen with Iowa Department of Transportation; Scott Maguire with Massachusetts State Police; Sean Mustatia with Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure; Terry Renfrow with Reliance Steel and Aluminum Co.; and Capt. Daniel Wyrick with Wyoming Highway Patrol.
Choosing and announcing the recipients of the President’s Award is one of the special honors granted to each CVSA president. The President’s Award is reserved for individuals who have made significant contributions to CVSA. Sgt. Samis presented the President’s Awards to four deserving individuals – Tim Adams with International Registration Plan Inc.; David Lorenzen with Iowa Department of Transportation; FMCSA’s Thomas Keane; and Richard Roberts with the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. The four new President’s Award recipients join an exclusive and distinguished group of honorees from past years.
The final award of the luncheon was the International Driver Excellence Award (IDEA) which was presented to Allen Parker with Werner Enterprises Inc. CVSA recognizes the exceptional careers of professional commercial motor vehicle drivers and their commitment to public safety through its driver excellence award. At the awards luncheon, Parker received a crystal trophy and a check for $2,500.
Each year, at the annual conference, the proceeds from conference raffles are donated to a charity selected by the current president. This year, CVSA President Sgt. Samis selected Special Olympics Delaware. The Alliance raised more than $3,500, all of which will go to Special Olympics Delaware to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the Delaware area.
The 2021 CVSA Annual Conference and Exhibition marks the reintroduction of CVSA’s in-person events. View CVSA’s in-person conference and training course schedule. And mark your calendar for next year’s annual conference, scheduled for Sept. 18-22, 2022, in Rapid City, South Dakota.