Issuu on Google+

E DMO N TO N J O U R NA L e d m o n t o n j o u r n a l .c o m F R I D A Y, N O V E M B E R 3 0 , 2 0 1 2 E1 A VITAL INDUSTRY 6?D>CIK:CIJG:L>I=I=:6A7:GI6BDIDGIG6CHEDGI6HHD8>6I>DC 6aWZgiV¼higjX`^c\^cYjhign/ dci]ZgdVYl^i]ndj By Sandy Arndt Y ou know them by many names: semis, tractor-trailer units, 18-wheelers, halftons, one-tons and big rigs. They are the trucks and drivers hauling the goods that keep the wheels of Alberta’s economy rolling. Your breakfast cereal, the clothes on your back, your smartphone, your vehicle and even the building materials in your dwelling place; all of these and more were delivered at least partially by truck. “If you can touch it, a truck had to bring it,” said Carl Rosenau, president of Rosenau Transport Ltd. and past president of the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA). “Trucking has its hands on everything you touch, feel or smell in the course of a day.” Carl Rosenau is president of Rosenau Transport Ltd., and the pastpresident of the Alberta Motor Transport Association. While trucking has always been an essential player in the economy, experts say the industry has come a long way through the years. The vehicles are safer and run cleaner than ever before. Driver training is more stringent, and mandatory courses keep them on the leading edge. The AMTA’s working relationships with national and provincial governments are helping to move the industry steadily forward through safety initiatives and environmental awareness, paving the way toward a better future on Alberta’s roadways. transportation industry has come,” said Dan Duckering, third generation owner of Duckering’s Transport and president of the AMTA. “Safety is such a huge part of what we have to do. Historically, people have looked at truck drivers as an unruly bunch, and we’re working to change that stigma.” The AMTA, formerly known as the Alberta Trucking Association, is the not-for-profit organization that represents the highway transportation industry. Its membership includes trucking companies and their suppliers, and its key role is to help members succeed through training programs and safety initiatives. Online courses, workshops and seminars are offered as ongoing educational tools for drivers at all levels. At the same time, the association deals with regulatory issues at the provincial and national levels, including areas such as border crossings, taxation, safety, hours of service, the environment and the future of the industry. The AMTA is developing an initiative that would improve the level of training required to make commercial driving a trade occupation, complete with training, testing and ongoing education. Alberta’s Minister of Transport Rick McIver has requested further meetings to develop standards for the Professional Driver designation. “The minister is committed to this effort, and we have put together a committee to complete the proposal. We’re working hard to set the standard of training for commercial drivers.” H6;:IN8DB:H;>GHI “We are working hard to help people recognize how far the “There was a time,” said Rosenau, “if you quit school, you could be a trucker or a farmer. That was the mentality back then. If you could drive a truck, away you went. But today, the courses are mind-boggling. There’s defensive driving, criminal checks, drug and alcohol tests, WHMIS and more. Everything has changed today, and for the better.” But it is still a work in progress. “Truck drivers deserve to be recognized for the professionals they are,” he said. Increased training and a trade designation would go a long way toward that recognition. 9G>K>C<8=6C<:H Online driver training courses, onboard computers and more efficient communications are only a few of the ways technology has improved the trucking industry. “Even the trucks themselves have changed today,” said Rosenau, who has witnessed the industry’s evolution during his 45 years in the business. “The air that comes out of the stacks today is cleaner than the air that went in. The stainless steel stacks look like they just came out of the factory; they are so clean. NOx emissions have reduced 96 per cent on newer trucks. They also don’t smoke anymore, unless they’re older trucks.” Engine life is longer, reaching LZVgZldg`^c\]VgYid]ZaeeZdeaZgZXd\c^oZ ]dl[Vgi]ZigVchedgiVi^dc^cYjhign]VhXdbZ# upwards of a million kilometres, and onboard computers monitor the whole operation just as they do in new passenger vehicles. Prices have gone up accordingly, with new rigs going for as much as $150,000. “We’re always striving to reduce our carbon footprint,” says Rosenau. “For instance, super single tires, using one wider tire instead of two, reduce rolling resistance, reducing fuel consumption. And there’s lots of technology in the tractor and the trailer that cuts down emissions and increases fuel economy.” The association is currently working with the ministry of transport to regulate the use of super-single tires according to weight limits and road restrictions. Highways are also made safer by technology that helps identify problem vehicles before accidents can happen. “We have worked in partnership with the government to find poor performers on the highway,” said Duckering. “As you pass the sign for the scale (on Alberta’s highways), you’ll see all kinds of cameras and sensors. Now they can tell by radar before the truck even comes up to the scale if it is likely to have a safety issue. Two sets of light standards with cameras all the way down monitor the truck from top to bottom as it approaches the scale. The inspectors’ job is to find the unsafe ones, and now they can find them easier. It’s our own commitment to safety.” Continued on E6... AMTA 8C9<IK8DFKFIKI8EJGFIK8 JJF:@8K@FE <:INDJG6BI6C:LH6ILLL#6BI6#86 ON THE ROAD WITH YOU

Alberta Motor Transport Association / Edmonton Journal

Related publications