TORONTO, Ont. - The Ontario Ministry of Transportation impounded one truck and ordered 76 rigs out of service following 232 inspections of commercial vehicles conducted during Operation Corridor, the ...
TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Ministry of Transportation impounded one truck and ordered 76 rigs out of service following 232 inspections of commercial vehicles conducted during Operation Corridor, the province’s largest-ever highway blitz that was spearheaded by the Ontario Provincial Police.
The ministry’s part of Corridor was conducted in two phases, said Ministry of Transport spokesman Bob Nichols. Operation Airbrake, focusing on the braking systems, was undertaken on Sept. 6. Full Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspections were undertaken on Sept. 7.
The ministry handed out a total of 112 charges following 30- to 45-minute inspections that were carried out by its doubled-up force on the operation’s second day. Normally 30 enforcement officers works the highway’s length. (Operation Airbrake numbers were unavailable at press time.)
One vehicle was impounded for 15 days because of “critical” defects, but the majority of the 76 trucks placed out of service were for brake-related problems, Nichols said.
Contingents from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s Smog Patrol, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were also involved.
According to OPP Sgt. Cam Woolley, the RCMP was on hand to learn more about the ins and outs of commercial vehicle standards, as well as provide back up in the event that inspections uncovered contraband. None was discovered during the checks, Woolley said.
Ministry of Environment enforcement officers inspected 121 vehicles of all kinds, and laid 24 charges for tampered and defective exhaust systems or excessive levels of emissions.
Finance inspectors handed out four fines, of $440 each, for violating the International Fuel Tax Agreement, and one trucker was charged for using colored fuel, said Brad Lawrance, a Ministry of Finance spokesman. Ticketed commercial vehicle drivers also undergo an audit by the ministry’s Motor Fuels and Tobacco Branch – a search as far back as four years for any cheating on fuel taxes. In the case of out-of-province truckers, finance investigators hand the audit mandate over to their equivalent in the driver’s home province or state.
During the operation, traffic officers stopped 4,234 vehicles and laid 3,619 charges. The vast majority, or 2,371 motorists, were ticketed for speeding. Seatbelt violations totaled 272, while four were charged with drinking and driving.
Woolley said Operation Corridor was timed to meet the seasonal return of massive volumes of traffic to the highway. After the three-day weekend that traditionally marks the end of summer in Canada, everyone is in a rush migrating back to work and school, resulting in heavy congestion in the Toronto area and sometimes bad accidents, notably along the road’s Windsor-to-London length. That stretch has the unfortunate distinction of being dubbed Carnage Alley.
“That first day back was terrible,” Wooley said. The force decided to start the safety program on Wednesday – instead of the Tuesday immediately after the Monday holiday – so inspections and police stops wouldn’t contribute to the post-holiday mess.
“The whole operation was mostly targeted at the nutty four wheelers,” Woolley added.
He said another operation similar to Corridor is in the works, but declined to elaborate. n