Unions should not use wheel-off incident to suit own agenda

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Dear Editor:

I was dismayed to see the letter from Joe Daniel, president OPSEU Local 506 so prominently displayed in your November edition. It would seem to me that rather than spend his time writing letters that appear to be nothing more than another ‘scare tactic’ in the union’s campaign for more officers, he could spend some time with truckers trying to find out why they might not report a wheel-off incident that results in damage or injury.

For instance, the fact that the province has made this charge an “absolute liability” situation whereby the operator is considered to be at fault regardless of the circumstances. Or could it be that they hear of the carriers who, despite having done everything they possibly can to avoid it, still have a wheel come off.

Perhaps a better idea would be to use a higher quality, better designed fastener which would help to prevent a number of wheel off incidents.

The Disc Lock fastener for instance (www.disc-lock.com) would be one that should be considered. No matter what is done, there is always a possibility of part failure, regardless of the quality. Yet who is deemed liable for these incidents? The trucker.

It doesn’t matter how often they check and recheck their equipment, or how much they spend on maintenance, the trucker is always at fault, or so it seems. Perhaps the government should put more emphasis on the fact that trucks are the safest vehicles on our roads, not just in Ontario, but across North America, Great Britain, and all over Europe.

Instead of spending money on the additional 65 officers, take that money and commission a study of exactly what the causes are in all accidents involving trucks. Oh wait, I’ve seen a study of that before and hey, amazingly enough in most cases it’s not the truck that causes the accident!

Now, I’m not stupid, I know that there are definitely cases where the truck is at fault.

Despite the fact that he’s been inspected at every scale, at every port, and even sometimes on the side of the road, sometimes the trucker makes a wrong, or even bad driving decision and causes an accident. That doesn’t make truckers criminals. I wonder that if four-wheelers were inspected as often, or as vigorously as trucks are, how many of them would be found to be ‘Out of Service’! Come on people, let’s get smart here and look at the number of trucks on the road, the number of kilometres per year that they travel, and the number of accidents they might actually cause, and compare it to the four-wheeled traveller.

There would be no comparison, and perhaps a number of people out there would become more like me, and be watching the other cars around me, concerned about what they might do, rather than the truck that generally is going slower than 98% of the other traffic, and usually keeps to himself in the far right-hand lane.

Quit trying to use trucks and the trucking industry as a cause to promote something else, such as more hirings so your union can collect more union dues, or give your executive more bargaining power!

Joe Pollard

Risk Manager-Transportation

Cowan Insurance Brokers

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