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The CVOR and you

I would like to share with readers some questions about CVOR that have come up over the past two months.Q. Our subsidiary company in Ontario recently underwent a facility audit. It failed on the drive...

I would like to share with readers some questions about CVOR that have come up over the past two months.

Q. Our subsidiary company in Ontario recently underwent a facility audit. It failed on the driver profile. As a result it was assigned a conditional safety rating, but so were we on our CVOR. The fact is that we don’t even operate our trucks into Ontario.

A. The Registrar at MTO has a number of options associated with the issuance of safety ratings. And one is that related companies are also assigned the downgraded rating. The one option you have in these circumstances is to cancel your CVOR given that you don’t use it in any event.

Q. Our company received a very good audit score of nearly 90%. But when I pulled a recent CVOR, our overall rating remains conditional even though our audit result is on the record. When does this get changed?

A. The problem here is that your CVOR overall percent of threshold remains higher than 65%, in this case primarily the result of your accident numbers. This is a problem area for many carriers, and personally I understand the frustration. My own feeling is that while the CVOR record can serve as a good indicator of an operator’s overall safety performance, the detailed audit is a much better one. Looking at it from a different perspective, I have seen plenty of carrier operations that have a very positive CVOR that would fail an MTO audit. Granted, they too would receive a conditional safety rating.

Q. My company is mid-sized and provides dedicated services to a large manufacturer. They are “skittish” because of our CVOR threshold that is approaching 50%. What’s to prevent me from setting up a different company and getting a new CVOR?

A. The Ministry is vigilant on preventing these types of transfers or other means designed to skirt the system. For starters, if you are at that percent of threshold, it’s likely that you have been flagged on the system with some sort of intervention such as warning letters or perhaps an interview. Setting up a new company with the same ownership will not work. Information such as shareholders and directors are cross-referenced, and the Ministry also looks for relationships considered to be non-arms length. No doubt some maneuvers have slipped under the radar, particularly those set up as “sales”.

Q. I know how the CVOR system works in terms of MTO established fleet sizes, but simply don’t understand why trailers are not part of the calculation when trailers can account for CVOR points.

A. You’re not alone on this issue. I share this concern with many in the industry that when a tractor and trailer are going down the road, they indeed constitute two vehicles. And further, I’d bet that when it comes to CVOR points assigned as the result of a vehicle inspection, that trailers are the problem more often than tractors.

Q. During the course of a recent inspection, the only defect found was a turn signal lamp. Our drivers all carry bulbs with them, and it was replaced on-site by the driver. We still wound up with an out-of-service defect and one CVOR point. A bit heavy handed wouldn’t you say?

A. The rules are the rules as they say. A defective turn signal is an out-of-service defect, and consequently carries the dreaded “X” mark. But I’d like to think there are some officers out there who upon finding this type of a defect might advise the driver that by the time they get around to the rear again, they would like to see that signal working.

Q. I was in court recently, and watched a J.P chew out a driver prior to conviction on an unsafe vehicle charge. Fair enough. But just how bad can such an offence be considered when there are no driver demerit points for doing so?

A. Good point. Such a conviction carries 6 CVOR points and none associated with the driver demerit point system. Yet clearly such is a moving violation. So I have the same question of the Ministry, and with tongue somewhat in cheek, ask if the charge is so serious, how come there are no demerit points?

Q. My driver was recently charged with “drive under suspension”. His licence had been suspended the week prior for failing to pay required support payments through the Ontario Family Support Program. What burned my ass was that we were charged as well for “permitting” him to drive suspended. What rubbish. We run our driver abstracts semi-annually and in addition have a signed statement from each driver acknowledging that we will be informed of any licence status change.

A. I probably get more complaints about “did permit” charges than any other. Clearly in the matter cited here, the Company has an excellent defence to its charge, given your abstract access and change of status forms.As an aside, I truly feel there should be a process whereby operators can appeal the assignment of CVOR points as the result of driver actions reasonably and clearly outside of their control.

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