The Road Explorer - Summer 2010 - (Page 9)

ISSUES Update Longer Border Crossing Times as U.S. Homeland Security Tightens Bus Passenger Screening Procedures C oach and tour operators are noticing it’s taking longer to clear passengers at some of the major U.S. land ports of entry. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reaffirmed that DHS is implementing procedures being handed down from Washington that will see more and more bus passengers screened individually in the same manner as passengers are processed at airports. As they ramp up this procedure, operators will see an increase in the number of passengers whose documents are scanned and asked questions about their citizenship as part of the “primary inspection” process. However, many of the ports of entry are not equipped to process passengers individually like they are at airports. This is why sometimes the officer will allow passengers to remain on the coach while the documents are taken inside and scanned. At other times, some passengers are selected at random to leave the coach for processing inside. This is the case at the Ambassador Bridge between Winsdor, ON, and Detroit, MI, where facilities are limited so only a percentage (approximately 10%) of passengers are selected at random to get off the coach for processing. MCC has raised concerns about unreasonable delays with U.S. authorities. While we don’t have a problem with bus passengers being individually screened as part of the primary inspection process, the government needs to have the facilities and staffing in place to do this in an efficient manner so that bus passengers are not subjected to a lower level of service than that of car passengers or air passengers. AWCBC drafted a proposal that would give passenger carriers similar status to trucking companies. The draft is being sent to each provincial and territorial board for review, and provided all provinces support the concept, we will move forward to implement this alternative assessment approach for passenger carriers. MCC URGES PROVINCES AND TERRITORIES TO UPDATE SEAT BELT USE LAWS Current provincial and territorial seat belt laws were written at a time when seat belts on buses were never contemplated. These laws are appropriate for drivers and car passengers; however, the laws can be totally impractical and unreasonable when applied to a motor coach that has been voluntarily equipped with seat belts. For example, in many provinces and territories, the law requires a passenger to wear a seat belt if one is provided. While this makes a lot of sense in smaller vehicles, in the case of a motor coach, a passenger who leaves his or her seat to retrieve an item from the overhead compartments or to use the lavatory is deemed a violator and subject to prosecution. Also, in many jurisdictions, the law makes the driver responsible for ensuring passengers under a certain age are buckled up if seat belts are provided. While this is reasonable for a car or truck, it isn’t reasonable in the case of motor coaches that typically seat 56 passengers and double-decker motor coaches that seat up to 81 passengers. Having to monitor seat belt usage is a distraction to a coach driver whose focus should always be on the road ahead. In some jurisdictions, a conviction against a driver for not ensuring a child passenger is buckled carries demerit points that can affect the driver’s livelihood and personal auto insurance rates. MCC has written to every provincial and territorial Minister of Transportation as well as the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators urging them to modernize seat belt regulations in appreciation of the growing number of coaches that are equipped with belts. CCMTA REVISES UNDER-BODY INSPECTION SCHEDULE 4 FOR DD-3 TYPE BRAKES Operators with coaches equipped with DD-3 type brake chambers will be glad to know that MCC has convinced ANOTHER STEP CLOSER TO A SIMPLIFIED WORKER COMPENSATION SYSTEM FOR EXTRA-PROVINCIAL CARRIERS Extra-provincial carriers should be registered with the workers’ compensation boards for each province or territory that they operate in or through, in addition to their home province. To complicate life even further for coach operators, some provinces require employers from out-of-province to pay workers comp premiums on the basis of miles traveled in their province. In 2008, MCC asked the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC) for coach operators to be granted the same privileges as the trucking industry, whereby interjurisdictional truckers remit premiums to one (home) province only instead of pro-rating. MCC was advised in April 2010 that The Road Explorer 9 Summer 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2010

The Road Explorer - Summer 2010
Industry Voice
Issues Update
The Road to Gold
Vancouver: The City that Reviews Itself
The Road to Wonder - Niagra Falls
Seaside Rendezvous
Jonview Canada Takes You There
List of Advertisers

The Road Explorer - Summer 2010