Truck fleets and drivers who operate in Quebec are being told to prepare for delays in government services leading up to the Feb. 15 launch of a new online portal developed by Societe de ‘lassurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ).
They’ll have to wait until that date to see changes to the province’s safety ratings system, too. Both were originally scheduled to launch on Jan. 1.
The SAAQclic online portal will gradually roll out online access to everything from vehicle registrations, driver licensing, driver medicals, driving records, and road tests.
“This digital transformation represents a major improvement in the SAAQ’s service offering,” SAAQ president and CEO Denis Marsolais said in a written response to questions from Transport Routier. But SAAQ said in a press release that service delays are to be expected as call center and service center staff familiarize themselves with the new system.
“We are aware of the repercussions that the slowdown in our service delivery will have on our customers, but it is a necessary step in order to offer them services that are even better adapted to today’s reality,” Marsolais said.
The transition involves converting more than 10 billion pieces of data and updating some computer hardware that has been in service since the 1980s, according to SAAQ.
The Quebec Trucking Association (QTA) is recommending that carriers access the SAAQ website to see if services are available before visiting a service point, and to submit requests regarding safety ratings before Jan. 30.
Changes to Quebec safety ratings
Upcoming changes to the safety ratings system will affect the way different trucking violations are weighed. Related discussions and consultations for those began in 2015, but the process was delayed during Covid-19.
Among the changes, six points will be assigned for critical events other than fatal collisions, and totals will be weighed according to fleet size before being transferred to the Commission des transports du Quebec. The weight of many violations will also be cut in half after one year.
Truck drivers, meanwhile, will carry more of the responsibility for driving-related violations like licence status, seat belt use, and distracted driving.