It was refreshing to hear about an MTO truck blitz focused on small commercial trucks yesterday. Too often, small commercial vehicles are overlooked when it comes to enforcing truck safety – and they are frequently the worst violators.
It seems anyone can buy a rickety old cube van and start hauling goods on our highways, with little regard to safety. Of course, I’m not saying all medium-duty operations should be painted with the same brush. Many local P&D companies heed the same attention to detail as the most reputable long-haul fleets. And of course, some long-haul tractor-trailer operators are as guilty of neglecting maintenance practices as the local landscaper with his 1977 cube van.
But the trucks that scare me the most out there are generally not the Class 8 tractors with 53-foot trailers behind them. It’s the 16-ft cube vans owned by Mom and Pop drycleaning shops with some yahoo with a G licence behind the wheel. These are the trucks that seem to have the most problems with wheel-separations and many of their owners seem to forget that basic maintenance is still a requirement on these vehicles.
Yet they can fly right on past the inspection stations and their drivers require no additional training beyond that of an everyday motorist. It’s nice to see these vehicles getting some attention from the truck cops. They’ve slipped through the cracks for far too long.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News and Truck West magazines. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies