When the government introduced the intersection camera ticket program and expanded it to include speeding tickets as well as red light tickets, they suggested that this was a fair because as a compromise the tickets would attract no penalty points. The tickets would not go on the driving record of the owner or driver, and it would just be the fine. This was their trade-off for governing people by robots.
But this is not the case for tickets where the vehicle has an associated NSC registration. Allow me to explain.
A typical freight carrier
A business that wants to operate a commercial vehicle with B.C. licence plates, must have a B.C. National Safety Code safety certificate. This includes a single person using a pick-up truck (with a licenced gross vehicle weight exceeding 5,000 kg) up to an incorporated trucking company with 100 big rigs, as well as vehicles providing transportation services. As soon as the business wants to operate a commercial vehicle, we call it a “carrier.”
Once an NSC-registered plate received a violation, there are NSC points associated to it. The points determine what is known as a “non-compliant percentile” and trigger interventions for the carrier. Interventions range from a warning letter to a full audit. Interventions begin at a 70 percent non-compliant percentile. The non-compliant percentile is determined by comparing fleet size of the carrier against contraventions, CVSA inspections, and accident records of the carrier. More serious accidents and violations factor more heavily into the calculation.
This means that smaller carriers – the less wealthy and less affluent companies – face a greater likelihood of suspension or intervention action. In some respects, this disadvantages competition in an already competitive but also under-served industry.
Fleet size is determined by looking at the average number of vehicles that are licensed for the carrier during a 12-month period.
NSC Certificate and violation tickets
An NSC certificate can be cancelled if, following an audit, the necessary improvements are not made by the carrier. The NSC certificate may also be suspended pending improvement or suspended for failure to provide records during an audit. It may also be triggered by CVSE out-of-service inspections.
The way that contraventions – traffic tickets, including as owner – apply is as follows:
The number and types of violation tickets that have been deemed guilty are divided by the average fleet size. NSC points are only assigned to violations where the carrier or driver has been deemed guilty, such as a Registered Owner ticket issued to the carrier company. These points stay on the carrier’s profile for 12 months from the disposition date, not the violation date.
When the point threshold (non-compliant percentile) in any of the four categories is exceeded, the NSC system may “trigger” a series of escalating interventions: Warning Letter, Self-Directed Safety Plan Review, Compliance Review, or Quantifiable Audit. NSC points affect the company/carrier by creating obligations based on the level of non-compliance.
An audit is a review of your records and safety practices to determine if you are complying with NSC requirements (as defined in the Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations). An audit evaluates how well you are meeting your NSC requirements.
Once a carrier safety inspector completes an audit of your safety records, you will be given an audit status. Your audit status helps determine your carrier safety rating (that rating that appears on your carrier profile).
Audits can be random—they are not always a result of a request based on a poor safety record. Random audits are done to get a broad understanding of how well carriers are meeting their obligations. Carriers who are selected for these random audits will be told about them in advance. This is another reason to always have your safety plan in place, and keep good records. Audits can also be requested because of an accident or a complaint from the public. Also, the NSC program office may request an audit if they believe that a carrier is associated with another carrier that is being investigated or has been cancelled.
Because the audits can be random, even a few points may inform how an auditor rates the safety profile of the carrier and thus the carrier’s status.
The Carrier Profile is a measurement of a carrier’s on-road performance and is comprised of a carrier’s demographic information, accident records, contraventions, and vehicle inspections.
Losing your NSC Safety Certificate
The NSC program office monitors the NSC certificates. Points accrue on the “profile” for a certificate if infractions occur. If the point scores reach certain thresholds, the NSC Program office will notify the carrier and help them to come into compliance with the regulations. There are levels of intervention to help the carrier.
If the carrier refuses or is unable to comply with the regulations despite the help offered by Commercial Vehicle Safety & Enforcement staff, the NSC certificate may be cancelled. A carrier cannot insure or operate commercial vehicles using a suspended or cancelled NSC certificate.
If a carrier’s NSC Safety Certificate has been cancelled, the Safety Rating will be Unsatisfactory. A carrier with a cancelled safety certificate cannot insure or operate commercial motor vehicles.
Typical Violations and NSC Points
Red light tickets – even from an intersection camera – come with NSC points. All speeding comes with NSC points. Speed camera tickets are not specifically mentioned. However, general speeding includes speed camera tickets.
Both red light and speed camera tickets carry four NSC points.ƒCVS
In the case of a registered owner ticket, the NSC points apply to the carrier’s NSC certificate UNLESS the registered owner has an NSC certificate AND the vehicle involved is registered under their NSC certificate.
BC NSC points transfer to other provinces. The provinces and territories have an agreement, through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, which allows equivalency codes to equate the NSC points between provinces. This means that although the tickets in BC may result in different NSC Carrier points than in other provinces, they will be treated as equivalent by the driver’s home jurisdiction.
Thus, there are significant consequences to an effectively innocent carrier as a result of the driver’s actions in this case.
Get Help with your NSC Point Violations
It is not clear whether this was an oversight on behalf of the provincial government when they put this legislation into place, or whether this was an intended consequence. But either way, if you have a red light or speed enforcement camera ticket as a carrier or a professional driver, you should absolutely dispute the ticket.