Truck News


Everyone loves a good tip, so here’s some for your next audit

As I've said before and will say again, safety audits don't need to make you feel like your world is coming to an end.Providing you learn the system and remember the key tips mentioned in this and pre...

As I’ve said before and will say again, safety audits don’t need to make you feel like your world is coming to an end.

Providing you learn the system and remember the key tips mentioned in this and previous articles I’ve penned for Truck News, you’ll do fine.

Here are a few more tips to keep you in the know and operating.

Vehicle maintenance

One of the key audit components is vehicle maintenance. The key elements examined are vehicle defects, pre-trip inspections, maintenance records, and annual inspection requirements.

All of these are critical, and since I’ve written a great deal on these in the past I’ll delve a little deeper into some of the requirements.

The maintenance statement

Part of the maintenance records audit is a review of your company’s preventive maintenance statement.

Remember that having one is a requirement under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

It need not be elaborate and detailed.

In fact, in my view the simpler it is the better – providing of course it’s effective.

This review of what amounts to your shop’s mission statement is followed by an audit of the actual maintenance and repair work done on the vehicles.

After all, the statement isn’t worth much if you aren’t meeting your own standards. So, think carefully.

I have seen it on occasion, where the statement is one that notes that all vehicles will be inspected on an annual basis in accordance with the legal requirements under the HTA.

While this is technically acceptable, and easy to meet, it’s also one that may serve to get the back up of the auditor.

If they get mad and start to dig in, how many things might they find I wonder?

I’ve also seen statements that, while meaningful and well-intentioned, are far too onerous.

Give some thought to what it is you regularly do to maintain your trucks and trailers.

If you undertake routine inspections, for example, every 10,000 kilometres, make the number 12,000 in order to give yourself some room.

And perhaps put in a time frame as well to make it an either/or situation.

Having the flexibility is important and it can earn you audit points. I have seen situations where the operator has had a 30-day inspection criterion, and at day 30 the truck is en-route from California or has sat idle for the last week.

There are valid reasons why the threshold was not met, but oops, the fleet is on the hook for not meeting its own rule. Do yourself a favor and build an out into your maintenance statement.

Owner/operator records

The repair records of your owner/operators are often the source of problems in an audit.

The reality is, a large majority of this group keep their trucks in top shape.

Hell, they can’t afford not to. But there are often problems with the bookkeeping.

First, O/O records must follow a maintenance program as well.

In many instances, the carrier requires that a monthly statement be filed in a given format.

This is fine, but copies of the records of repair along with odometer readings must also be on file or at the very least, available during the course of an audit.

Second, take a look at the monthly statements.

You might find that far too many statements look like driver trip inspection reports often do, in that everything is marked as okay, when in reality routine and regular repairs and service is being conducted.

The maintenance is being done but the statements don’t reflect it – that’s not going to get you very far in an audit.

I thought I’d seen it all

Some readers may recall that, a few years back in conducting an hours-of-work review, I came across New York Thruway toll receipts that were as false as the driver’s logs they were designed to match.

The receipts were perfect, except for the fact that “toll” was spelled “tool.”

Scanners are great things aren’t they?

Well, I recently came across another beauty.

An Ontario driver’s licence abstract, showing “no criminal record,” was submitted along with an application for employment.

An excellent work history – except for a gap in driving employment – along with the abstract got that driver a new and exciting job.

But six months down the road, when the fleet had occasion to pull the abstract, it was grounds for an instant termination.

Not only was there a recent criminal conviction for impaired driving, the trucker had seven points against him.

The driver had submitted a false abstract done up on a computer.

The only screw-up, which nobody noticed at first, was that the date format was not consistent with the one used by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.

You can’t even trust an abstract anymore. So, beware.

Question and Answer

And now for some related odds and ends.

Q: I was told that Ontario has an agreement to recognize annual inspections done in other jurisdictions. In the U.S., a CVSA decal is considered evidence of this. But I got a ticket in Ontario for “fail to display” anyway.

So what’s with that?

A: You’re right on a couple of points. Yes, there is an agreement in the sense that the Highway Traffic Act recognizes inspections done in other jurisdictions. And yes, the U.S. accepts a CVSA decal as equivalent to an annual inspection. But in the Regulation, Ontario specifically does not recognize a CVSA decal as evidence of an annual inspection.

Q: On my daily inspection report, do I have to check off each of the inside and outside inspection items as OK or not OK?

A: No. The listing of items must appear on the form, but there is no requirement that they be checked with a mark – only that each of the items be inspected.

Q: I went to court for a ticket where the payout fine amount was $390. I was convicted, and the judge raised it to $500 at the urging of the prosecutor. I’ve never heard of that!

A: I have, but it’s rare, and in my opinion, a scuzzy little move to keep people from going to court. It is in fact possible to have the penalty goosed to the $500 maximum for an offence notice under the Provincial Offences Act. n

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