Truck News


Q & A time

I frequently receive mail from readers with questions about problems that are likely faced by many others in the industry. To that end I am providing my responses to four important questions so that a...

I frequently receive mail from readers with questions about problems that are likely faced by many others in the industry. To that end I am providing my responses to four important questions so that all in the industry may share in the solutions.

Q. Some time back you commented on written MTO enforcement policy about brake stroke measurement. I asked an officer for a copy of such and was told this was internal and confidential. I could not obtain a copy.

A. We’ve run into this problem numerous times. The bottom line is that such materials are not confidential and are not protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Under the above legislation, generally applied enforcement measures are clearly to be made available, but I know the problem you will face. It has been my experience both when I was with government (MTO) and in the years since, there is a prevailing attitude by some or a misconception they cannot share this kind of information. There are several detailed manuals maintained by the Ministry that include enforcement policy, carrier policy, and overweight/over dimensional policy.

It is my belief that manuals available on disk should be made readily available to the very industry they are designed to regulate and control. Where for example a carrier requires specific information with respect to an aspect of their business, what possible rationale is there to keep the information “secret”? For a long time, CVOR related information, point levels etc. was kept close to the vest. Carriers were unable to get clear and concise information on the very system that served to sanction them. The same goes for how facility audits were conducted.

For what it’s worth, I’ll say this: The current manuals distributed by the Ministry on the CVOR and facility audits are among the best and most informative MTO publications I have ever seen. They have been of great assistance to the industry. The vanguards of the enforcement manuals should consider this factor and loosen the reins on these publications rather that have an FOI request almost certainly assure their release.

Q. I’m a Canadian working for a US-based carrier. I’m told that I need to maintain Ontario-style logs and vehicle trip inspection reports. I was given a warning by an officer but told I’d be charged the next time around.

A. There are many examples now of Canadian drivers operating for US carriers. We provide a good driver base for many of their dedicated international moves for example. In a nutshell the answer to your question is you are free to use the US compliant logs and trip inspection reports even though you are a Canadian based driver, providing you are dispatched from the US facility. Looked at the other way, if you are based out of an Ontario operating facility and controlled from such facility, you would be required to comply with Ontario’s requirements. As a note, I have a written response from MTO on these very issues. And if you’d like a copy of that correspondence, give me a call.

Q. Your last article referenced a court decision that essentially blew out those restrictions on tractor wheelbases associated with running 53′ semi-trailers. Over the past several years I have paid approximately $2000 in fines for running a 53′ with an “overlength” tractor. Can I get my money back for the fines paid?

A. Good question and I don’t have a definitive answer for you at this time. But I did make some inquiries of several lawyers on this one. The effect of the London decision is that a 53′ semi trailer is in fact designed for the carriage of vehicles and therefore exempt from the particular section of the Highway Traffic Act. At first blush according to the lawyers, this means that the law, now effectively displaced, never should have applied to these vehicles since its beginning. Therefore there is no offence and never was. No fines should therefore ever have been paid. While it is apparent there is no definitive mechanism to recover fines paid, I expect to have an answer soon as to the possibilities of getting your monies back.

Q. I was warned about not having the time of vehicle inspection on my daily trip inspection report. The time is noted on my log when I do my inspection. Isn’t this good enough?

A. While that makes sense to me, technically it’s not good enough. There should be the space for the time on the report itself. I’m told that some officers will not get bent out of shape where the time is clear, but I’d suggest doing it right and having space for the time on the trip inspection report.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how I, like all Canadians, found the wanton and despicable violence on the NY skyline unbearable. I was in Oklahoma City in 1995 the day of the blast. I naively thought that the Oklahoma attack would never be repeated and certainly never exceeded. How wrong I was.

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