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Questions & answers

Q. One of my US-based drivers was stopped recently, and warned that she must have the new inspection report that came into effect in Ontario as part of the revised vehicle inspection regulations, and ...

Q. One of my US-based drivers was stopped recently, and warned that she must have the new inspection report that came into effect in Ontario as part of the revised vehicle inspection regulations, and that the company and drivers would be charged in the future unless they were in compliance with the Ontario regulations.

A. There are several things I would note with respect to this question. The first is that at time of writing, Ontario has made it clear that there is a phase-in enforcement period for the new regulations from the effective date of July 1, 2006 until Dec. 31, 2007. During this period, officers would accept any trip inspection report that is in compliance with the regulations in the licence plate jurisdiction of the carrier. Your driver being from the US, Ontario will continue to accept the US trip inspection format (e.g. post-trip report). I would note, however, that while the Ministry continues for now to recognize the US report, there have been many US carriers who have mentioned instances where their drivers have received warnings, and I have seen roadside CVOR reports that have noted “improper inspection report.”

As a general comment, it would be my view that so long as a jurisdiction has a similar program of any sort in place, that the effort must at least be made to recognize its acceptability, similar for example to annual vehicle inspection requirements. To find a common denominator where one form suits all is next to impossible in this industry.

Q. We have a situation where one of our drivers is charged with “blowing the scale.” The fact of the matter is that given the positioning of the driver in the middle lane as he was passing other slower moving trucks, the lights were activated at a moment where he was unable to see them. Our safety manager was able to verify his account by way of a “test run” and where the trucks would have been positioned. Is it worth contesting this matter, particularly since the driver is apprehensive about attending court?

A. I’ll deal with the last part first. If the driver is apprehensive about court generally, unfortunately it’s something that has to be overcome in a situation where he would be required to take the stand. That he did not, in his mind, run the scale is certainly positive, made better in a sense or at least verified by your safety manager who accepts his explanation. So long as the driver can convince the court as he did with your company that he did not run the scale intentionally, then it strikes me that he has a legitimate defense to this charge. It’s all in presentation and getting the court to accept his position that he did not commit an offense.

Q. We had a driver that entered Ontario, and had on board a legally registered handgun. He declared it to the Canadian authorities upon entry. The officer gave him a choice to either turn the gun over or return to the US. He decided to hand it over, his reasoning being it was a cheap “Saturday night special,” that was worth less than he’d earn on the trip portion of his Canada run. What are the rules with handguns?

A. In a nutshell, in Canada, handguns are restricted weapons and save and except for a few rare exceptions, they will not be allowed across the border. The first thing I would say is that in this case, I’m glad your driver declared the gun, because if he didn’t, he would likely have faced criminal prosecution. I can’t comment on the discretionary position taken by the particular officer in this instance and frankly, I don’t want to follow up since this driver had traversed New York state. It is illegal in N.Y. to have a handgun in a motor vehicle, which clearly would have allowed the Canadian Customs officer to bar the driver because an offense was committed in the state of New York that, if committed in Canada, could be tried by way of indictment. Your driver got off lucky.

Q. One of my drivers received a speeding ticket. I note that the CVOR number is not printed in the box provided. Am I right in assuming that any associated conviction will not appear on our CVOR abstract?

A. Good chance it will not. But there are many times where the data entry personnel will catch the fact that it is a commercial plate. If this is the case and the vehicle is registered in Ontario, then the points may very well be assigned.

Blair Gough is a consultant to the trucking industry and can be reached at 905-689-2727.

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