File for a trial date

by Blair Gough

Q: My driver was zapped for a charge “fail to stop on direction”. The lights at the scale were not on and he proceeded to the centre lane to pass trucks at which point the entry lights were activated. He was pulled over down the road. What do you think I should do?

A: File for a trial date. This is a 5-point CVOR offence. We have been involved with these matters in similar circumstances and it comes down to making a reasonable argument there was no intention to bypass the scales. Let’s get real here. How many drivers intentionally blow the scales? It’s kind of like running a red light when a police officer is sitting at the cross street. But more serious apparently. Running a red will get you 3 CVOR points.

Q: I was convicted in court of an axle overweight. The amount of weight over was only 1200 kgs. I received a recent abstract and 2 points were noted for this conviction. I thought overweight offences of less than 2000 kgs carried no CVOR points. Has this changed?

A: No. There are no CVOR points for vehicle or axle weight conditions for offences under 2000 kgs. I suspect that the information entered by the court into “the system” did not indicate the amount of weight and the CVOR system automatically defaults to a 2-point offence. Contact the Ministry in your area and cite the offence number. They will get the information from the court and if under the 2000 kgs threshold, the CVOR points will be removed.

Q: I have team drivers. They were inspected at the weight scales, and one of the drivers was warned by the inspector that he must note vehicle inspections daily. His co-driver did the inspections over the prior several days. Isn’t that acceptable?

A: Sure is. The requirement is that the vehicle be inspected once every 24 hours if in operation. It doesn’t matter who undertakes the inspection, as long as the paperwork showing such is produced. One small operator I am familiar with has his mechanic inspect each vehicle every morning, and a copy of the inspection is left with the truck.

Q: I have several owner-operators, and am advised that each of them can have their own preventive maintenance program, apart from the policy we have in place. Is this the case?

A: Well, sort of. But what I would suggest is that you set the minimum standard of preventive maintenance for owner-operator vehicles in your company maintenance statement. The best route to go to achieve a level of consistency is to use a prescribed form of inspection items and have it completed on a monthly basis along with receipts etc. and submitted by the owner-operator.

Q: My local drivers do not maintain a log or any record of duty. Instead they are on a time clock noting time in and time out. There are plenty of off-duty periods during the day waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Is this sufficient?

A: Yes in the sense the time card will serve as a record of the number of hours worked. But what you may wish to consider is that since the time card is not capturing off-duty periods and no other record of such, a Ministry auditor would likely consider the entire period to be on-duty time. Better that the driver note the specific time and duration of off-duty time during the course of the day, and note the reason for such status.

Q: I was charged with a brake offence, and at court was able to amend the charge to a 3-point CVOR offence. But when I pulled a recent abstract, the 6-point violation was noted. What should I do?

A: This is probably an administrative error. You should contact the court first of all, citing the PON number on the ticket and the date in court. The court record should reflect the amended charge which should then be passed along to the Carrier Sanctions unit at MTO in St. Catharines. Failing this you would require a transcript in order to demonstrate the change.

Q: We were charged along with my driver as the result of a vehicle inspection where defects were found. He was charged for failing to conduct a trip inspection and us for failing to instruct the driver. We sure as heck do train our drivers, and discipline them as well for these types of incidents. What do you think I should do here?

A: I can understand how irritating these types of charges can be, where there is no way the company allows or permits such occurrences. The charge received by your company is somewhat unusual. The first thing is to file for Crown disclosure. The reason I emphasize it in this instance is because with a similar matter I am aware of, the driver made a comment to the officer, something to the effect that the load had to move according to his dispatcher. In other words, you don’t want to be blindsided in court. But even if this were the case, I’d have the dispatcher testify in your defence that he clearly violated company policy. mt

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