Watch for the details written on all tickets

by Blair Gough

Looking through my files and a few recent cases, it quickly became apparent to me that it was time for another question-and-answer column. So without further ado…

Q. I was stopped at the scales by an enforcement officer who asked to see my logbook. I only keep pages from my previous seven days. He told me that logs cannot be removed from the book and gave me a warning rather that a ticket.

A. I’m not sure why you would remove the copies from the log, but the only requirement is that the previous seven days’ worth need be produced for inspection. There is no regulation preventing a driver from removing logs prior to this time frame, nor from ripping them from the logbook. The reason he gave you a “warning” is probably that there is no offence in law.

Q. On occasion, my drivers take advantage of the once-in-seven-day reduction of off-duty time. An officer informed me that, when this occurs, the reduction must be in a sleeper berth and not found on the off-duty line. Is this true?

A. No. The regulation does not require the reduction to be in a sleeper berth. In other words, you could drive 13 hours, take four hours off-duty however you see fit (hopefully you’ll sleep), and then go for another 13-hour drive.

Q. The same officer told me that, once the reduction is made, the time must be made up during the next off-duty period – even if it’s for a half-hour coffee break. I thought it was when the driver was going to take his next eight-hour break.

A. There’s a bit of a quirk in the regulation. I have no doubt that the government intended for the time to be made up when the driver took his next eight-hour rest period. The problem, however, is that the wording of the regulation indicates that the time must be made up during the next off-duty period.

The way to get around this is to have drivers record their off-duty coffee breaks on the on-duty line.

Q. I was told that speeding convictions of less than 15 kmh over the posted limit did not attract points on Ontario’s Commercial Vehicle Operator Record (CVOR). I pulled a recent CVOR and these convictions now show as two points. What gives?

A. I thought the same thing. In the CVOR point tables there is one entry, “speeding”, that shows two points. However, there is a coding in the number beside the entry that contains an “R”, meaning “regulation”. But I don’t know of any regulation that deals with speeding charges.

In a following section of the tables, there is only reference to speeding by more than 15 kmh over the posted limit, and it was on this basis that many of us in the business thought that slower infractions didn’t lead to points.

A check with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation indicates that speeding convictions of 1-15 kmh over the legal limit do attract two CVOR points. But the R in the tables? That’s simply a typo.

Q. My driver received a ticket for “fail to conduct a trip inspection”. The officer’s name is printed on the ticket but he has not signed it. Should I go to court?

A. Absolutely. The lack of a signature by a provincial offences officer is a fatal defect and will render the certificate of offence a nullity. In other words, “it’s a toss”. Other defects that can result in an offence certificate being quashed include: no date of offence, no name of defendant, no location of offence, improper or wrong set fine amount, and returnable to the wrong court. It should be noted that most other errors are considered minor and can be amended.

Q. I am an Ontario-based carrier and was informed by a young officer that, as such, my equipment must be inspected in Ontario. Is this true?

A. Not so. As long as the vehicle is inspected in a jurisdiction that has an annual inspection requirement, that’s all that’s needed – along with proof of inspection, a decal and/or paperwork. It must be noted, however, that unlike situations in the U.S., a current CVSA decal is not considered equal to an annual inspection sticker.

This is clearly cited in the legislation.

Q. I have been running Western Canada for many years and have yet to see a cattle hauler have the undercarriage of his trailer inspected for such things as brake adjustment. Are they being given a break?

A. Let me put it this way: I know what it’s like to truck 200 miles down the road with four kids, and the number of required pee breaks. I can imagine that the rolling load of live beef has similar needs, and frankly I’d be loath to crawl under the trailer without knowing when they had their last break. n

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

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