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Enforcement important in decreasing OOS defects

I read with great interest the article in the March/April 2001 issue of Motortruck, regarding the impact of roadside inspection of commercial vehicles on collisions. I would like to comment on some as...


I read with great interest the article in the March/April 2001 issue of Motortruck, regarding the impact of roadside inspection of commercial vehicles on collisions. I would like to comment on some aspects of that article.

Mr. Nix is correct in stating that the relationship between inspections and highway safety is complex and difficult to measure. The 1997 study from the Ecole Polytechnique was one of few studies to demonstrate such a correlation.

As Mr. Nix notes toward the end of the article, the nature of this argument becomes very nebulous when you try to quantify the deterrent value of a commercial vehicle inspection program. The Illinois study found that vehicles with a significant number of out-of-service defects were the only ones that had a higher chance of collisions. This is precisely the point of having a roadside inspection program — the deterrent value of roadside inspection and higher fines encourage less responsible carriers to improve the condition of their vehicles, thereby lowering out-of-service rates and decreasing collisions involving unsafe commercial vehicles. I would be very concerned if commercial vehicle defects in Ontario were serious enough to be correlated significantly to collisions.

In Ontario, we have found that increasing our number of enforcement officers, operating truck inspection stations for longer hours, and increasing penalties for unsafe commercial vehicles have had a significant impact on the mechanical condition of trucks and buses on our highways. Out-of-service rates of commercial vehicles inspected at provincial inspection stations have fallen from 46 percent to 31 percent over the last three years, an improvement of 30 percent. At the same time, the vehicles that are being placed out-of-service have decreased the number of out-of-service defects per vehicle inspected by 37 percent over the last three years. Enforcement plays an important role in decreasing both frequency and severity of out-of-service defects.

Further, I would like to clarify two points made in the article. Ministry of Transportation (MTO) enforcement officers inspected almost 80,000 commercial vehicles last year, not 40,000. Secondly, there is no weight threshold for inspecting commercial vehicles in Ontario. Trucks over 4,500 kg are subject to the National Safety Code (NSC) requirements of Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR), trip inspection, hours of service and other programs, but any commercial vehicle may be subject to mechanical inspection by MTO officers.

And finally, while we may never scientifically define the causal and contributing roles that vehicle condition plays in accident involvement, the expectations of all road users sharing our highways must be taken into account. This remains an important responsibility of every compliance program.

Greig Beatty, Acting Director
Carrier Safety and Enforcement Branch
Ministry of Transportation

Price of inaction greater than the cost of a mistake

I just had the chance to read your Viewpoint editorial about the Internet and its value in our industry (March-April issue). As a person in both the transportation industry and the dot.com world I second your opinion.

You make some very valid points, including how the transportation industry, and others, have continued to expand and grow the uses of the Internet despite the recent “dot.com fallout”.

The fact is all industries, partially through attrition, are continuing to embrace the Internet as a new generation of personnel transition into them. E-commerce is here to stay. To cite the failure of the large number of dot.coms and consequently dismiss the value of this channel as a whole, would be a large mistake.

Things are not all doom and gloom for e-commerce.

I think most people agree e-commerce was over valued in the financial world early on. Venture capitalists watched a few early successes and jumped in with both feet. Unfortunately, in all of the excitement too many basic business principles were ignored which made failure imminent. Basic rule #1 — MAKE A PROFIT, should always be ahead of rule #2 – you must spend money to make money. Too many dot.coms were financed by VC’s who bought into an idea and looked past rule #1. Too many of these dot.coms were being run by people who often had good ideas but little experience in running a business and allowed rule #2 to be placed ahead of rule #1. Many of these people did not even understand the intricacies of the industries they were trying to capture.

Complementing the industries you are trying to serve is the key to the success of the new generation of e-commerce dot.coms. As mentioned in your editorial, to believe the Internet will replace all face-to-face selling is never going to happen. However, e-commerce can enhance and streamline many of today’s industries, including ours.

Our understanding of the transportation industry and our use of the Internet is one reason why we at PartsSystems.com continue to grow despite recent industry downturns. We are finding a growing number of owner-operators and fleets alike who are embracing e-commerce as a viable way to transact business. We are confident this trend will continue.

My advice to the people sitting in the stands and watching the game, GET IN! Find a way to realize the power and efficiencies of the Internet. Remember, the price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.

Keep up the good writing. We enjoy your publication.

Doug Gritzmacher
Business Development Manager
PartsSystems.com


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