Failing trucker questions Drive Clean testing

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TORONTO, Ont. – Peter Gerjol is a trucker who has beaten the odds. But the owner/operator doesn’t feel that lucky.

While about 93 per cent of trucks are passing Ontario’s Drive Clean emissions tests on their first attempt, Gerjol’s 1985 Kenworth cabover was one of those grounded this month. And that’s put him out of business.

While the truck passed its Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection at Christmas, it failed miserably when tested for emissions – an annual test now required to register trucks more than three years old.

“It blew the opacity test out of the water,” Gerjol says of the 90.2 score in a test where high numbers mean failures. With thin operating margins and an outstanding judgement against a carrier for $3,000, he says he can’t afford the $2,000 repair.

The truck is now parked in the fleet yard.

Gerjol admits he had altered the 400-hp mechanical Cummins engine to help him pull 140,000-lb. trains between Michigan and Ontario. “I always liked having that extra power there,” he says. “It saved my life a number of times.”

But the lifetime trucker is questioning the snap-idle test procedures that involve revving the engine up to its maximum 2,700 rpm – a speed at which he says he would never think of operating his engine.

“But when it’s idling, you can’t see if it’s running or not.”

The only solution he foresees is moving the truck to Winnipeg, and renewing life as an owner/operator there.

“I’m at the point I can’t make a living in this province,” he says of Ontario. n

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