Driver controls were nothing new

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Dear Editor,

Re: Blair Gough’s Industry Insight, “Deregulation didn’t mean unsafe trucks.”

I am writing in response to Blair Gough’s comment in the July issue of Truck News.

In his second-last paragraph, he says there were limited controls over drivers in the days of regulation.

The company I worked for from 1955 to 1990 held four safety meetings per annum in all 37 terminals in Ontario and Quebec. Trucks were governed at the speed limit, tachographs were installed in all highway units and tampering with this safety equipment meant immediate dismissal.

Mr. Gough also said there were no trip inspection requirements. In reality, all outbound units were taken through the garage where licensed mechanics, not drivers, inspected, adjusted or repaired lights, brakes and tires.

Further, he suggests less maintenance because there was no annual vehicle inspection requirement.

Highway tractors in our fleet were never more than three years old. And A and C inspections were carried out at regular mileage intervals on all equipment. The C inspection meant a complete overhaul.

As for the workforce, city drivers worked days within city limits. Highway drivers ran nights only between terminals and were not allowed to deliver or pick up loads. A 12-hour on-duty restriction and 2,100-mile weekly limit meant that all road drivers would have completed their week by Friday morning at the latest, and remained off duty until Sunday night. This division of the labor force resulted in a 45-hour work week for day men and 55 hours for highway drivers with no exceptions.

Deregulation was a move in the wrong direction, and re-regulation should have been considered first.

Deregulation is now and always will be the biggest threat to highway safety we will ever see. n

Cleve Baumhauer

Kingston, Ont.

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