SHERBROOKE, Que. - A huge highway blitz in the Sherbrooke region in southeast Quebec, and the last of its type till the worst of the winter passes, netted 262 trucks with minor defects and 103 with ma...
SHERBROOKE, Que. – A huge highway blitz in the Sherbrooke region in southeast Quebec, and the last of its type till the worst of the winter passes, netted 262 trucks with minor defects and 103 with major defects that required they be temporarily taken out of service. Control officers stopped a total of 1,156 trucks, according to a November announcement by the Socit de l’assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ).
Only those with signs of defects were pulled over: 26 per cent had mechanical infractions, 12 per cent came up short on their pre-departure checks, nine per cent were overweight and eight per cent had violated their hours of service. Despite these figures, trucks and their drivers are looking rosier than in the past.
“Not only has the mechanical quality of the trucks improved, since 2001 the highway safety record of accidents involving heavy trucks has gone down by 20 per cent. We are making improvements. They are due to Law 430, better monitoring services, more officers and more public information,” says Pierre Mercier, the SAAQ official responsible for heavy vehicles.
He also points out that truckers are not solely responsible for highway safety, that cars have a responsibility to drive carefully around trucks. “In two-thirds of the accidents involving heavy trucks, the other vehicle is responsible.”
Now that winter has come, SAAQ control officers will be mostly monitoring truck conditions as they roll through weigh stations, and carrying out on-site inspections at trucking companies’ places of business; for example, checking inspection and repair records.
Mercier did mention though that a roadside blitz on trucks carrying dangerous goods is planned for the Montreal area.
There is also an issue of snow and ice on the roofs of truck trailers that control officers have been requesting be looked into. “One of the subjects we are looking at is to have truckers clean off the tops of their trailers. We don’t have any polls saying that there are major problems, but our control officers are saying they would like to see a campaign for cleaning off the tops of trailers.”
The SAAQ has also been making a blitz of companies to get them to buy reflective strips for their trailers, according to Mercier.
Lest truckers think that the SAAQ expends its efforts only on heavy vehicle blitzes, in late November the SAAQ stopped nearly 70,000 drivers in a campaign to smoke out drinking drivers.