WINDSOR, Ont. - Just fine or unjust fines, this is the question swirling around the westbound Windsor Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) inspection station of late.Bill Greenwood, an owner/opera...
WINDSOR, Ont. – Just fine or unjust fines, this is the question swirling around the westbound Windsor Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) inspection station of late.
Bill Greenwood, an owner/operator with International Freight based in Tilbury, Ont., says he thinks there is something funny going on with the inspectors in this location and it has cost him dearly.
“They weighed my truck and the load of steel I was hauling and it came up to more than 85,000lb,” he says. “They obviously fined me, but when I got to Chicago and weighed the whole thing again on an accurate scale it came out 5,000lb lighter.”
He says there has been a noticeable change in the behavior of the Windsor westbound inspectors since the province allocated more staff in the region.
“For years they always left the shutters open so the truck drivers could look in the window and see the exact reading,” claims the frustrated O/O. “Now, every time I go through there, they have them closed.”
Like many owner/ops, Greenwood explains fighting the ticket is not in his budget right now.
There are, however, a number of folks who are fighting against tickets they’ve been saddled with coming through the facility and lawyer Randall Burch is representing several. One of his clients is an O/O who, “was told his brakes were out of adjustment by a young female officer.”
Burch explains the trucker asked to see the allegedly faulty brake re-measured since they had all been recently checked and verified to be in proper working condition.
“She said to him, ‘You stay in the truck or I’ll have you charged with interfering with an investigation,'” relays the attorney. “So he gave all his documentation over and she backed off on the brakes charge.”
An hour and a half into the inspection, the officer got a call about a truck accident in Windsor and left to deliver equipment to the scene. The unfortunate O/O was detained for an additional hour and a half while she was gone.
“When she got back, she gave him back his paperwork and was still humming-and-hawing about what she wanted to do,” says Burch. “Then she says, ‘I want to see your paperwork again.’ She was looking for an excuse to write him a ticket and hadn’t found anything concrete yet.”
The trucker refused, telling her, “You had the damn paperwork for three hours … You had lots of time to do everything you needed to do to it. This is just harassment and I’m not giving you the paperwork again.”
Burch says she then wrote him a ticket for failing to surrender documents.
This isn’t the only business the controversial coop has generated for Burch.
“In one case an officer turned the lights on at the last second as my client was going by,” he contends.
“He had to make an emergency stop to avoid going by … when he down-shifted quickly it made a roaring sound,” adds Burch.
The inexperienced officer, who had only three or four months on the job at the time of the incident, heard the noise and issued the driver a ticket for not having a muffler.
“We’re going to make a formal complaint to the ministry,” promises Burch.
And that’s something welcomed by Bob Nichols, a spokesman for the MTO, who says, “If there are any particulars brought to our attention, we always investigate those.”
At this time, however, he says he is not aware of any wrongdoings.
“They are simply enforcing the law, we made a commitment in this province to truck safety and have made tremendous progress,” Nichols insists. “Carriers who are safe, don’t have anything to worry about.”
Burch maintains there is a bad attitude that has infected the facility making life hell for the majority of professional drivers forced to pass through on a regular basis.
“This is totally a crock,” says Burch. “They like to write tickets and they don’t care how frivolous they are.” n