What we examined

Our follow-up audit focused on three key areas that we found needed improvement in our 2009 audit of systems the Government of Alberta uses to monitor and enforce safety standards for commercial vehicles. We evaluated whether the departments of Justice and Solicitor General and Transportation:

  • strengthened their enforcement practices and improved the information they made available to inspectors
  • incorporated a risk-focused approach for selecting vehicles for inspection
  • used data more effectively when developing strategies and performance measures

What we found

We found that Transportation is not consistently complying with its policy to take disciplinary and enforcement action against non-compliant carriers. This is unsatisfactory as it could allow unsafe vehicles to continue operating on Alberta highways and could diminish the usefulness of inspection, enforcement and disciplinary action to improve carrier behaviour. We also found that Transportation does not have a reliable process to identify and follow up on carrier-related complaints received and entered into the system by Justice and Solicitor General. Thus, the benefit of having the public help identify potentially problematic carriers is reduced. We are therefore repeating our recommendation to strengthen enforcement processes, particularly for those carriers that persistently do not comply.

Using a regional planning process, Transportation has improved its identification of carriers that pose a higher risk. Also, a new inspection tool provides inspectors with real time access to inspection histories and the ability to quickly input and submit their inspection results. Justice and Solicitor General has also improved its data analysis of driver behaviours, through a more comprehensive approach to its analysis. Therefore, we have concluded that the remaining two recommendations from 2009 have been implemented.

What remains to be done

Transportation needs to follow its own policy by taking timely and appropriate disciplinary and enforcement action for carriers and drivers that do not meet Transportation’s deadlines for fixing problems. Also, Transportation, working with Justice and Solicitor General, should implement a systematic process to ensure all carrier-related complaints are followed up.

See Original Audit: October 2009

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