Carriers in Regina met with safety blitz

REGINA, Sask. – A recent inspection blitz within the city of Regina resulted in 22 of 42 commercial vehicles being placed out-of-service, with even more failing the examination.

The Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) said it supports these types of inspections and wishes they would occur more in the province, citing a lack of enforcement as a major issue in Saskatchewan and a concern raised by its membership on multiple occasions.

To help educate carriers that haul within a 160 km-radius a weigh less than 11,794 kg, the STA has created a membership category for vocational vehicles, such as gravel haulers, refuse companies, and courier trucks, which until this year were unable to gain membership status with the association.

“We have now opened up the membership to those companies with the goal of increasing compliance, training, and education,” said STA executive director Susan Ewart, pointing out that it is up to each individual company to be in compliance. “The reality is that the while the STA is the voice of truck transport in Saskatchewan, we work for the members. Companies that chose to operate outside of the membership do so without the guidance and benefit of membership and we have no control over that.”

The September safety blitz in Regina was conducted by the Regina Police Service and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and focused on several aspects, including weight, dimensions, proper permits, and safety certificates. The two organizations will collaborate to conduct additional inspections within the city starting today (Oct. 30) and continue sporadically over the next year.

The STA said a provincial committee called the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) is a five-year program that was created to help reduce traffic deaths and injuries. The program identified targeted enforcement within Regina was needed, which resulted in the commercial vehicle blitz.

Because the majority of trucks targeted were below the 11,794 kg mark and remained within a 160 km-radius of their home base, the STA said they did not require a Safety Fitness Certificate, which includes a National Safety Code (NSC) number, and were not subject to the NSC Standard 11 – Maintenance and Periodic Inspection Standards.

“The STA membership is well educated on their safety responsibilities as trucking companies,” Ewart said. “Commercial, non-NSC number holding companies with trucks weighing less than 11,794 kg may not be as aware of those requirements.”

To support its efforts to increase commercial vehicle enforcement in the province, the STA recently submitted a letter to the Ministry of Justice addressing the proposed use of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (CVE) officers as first responders in rural areas.

“Companies invest hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to recruit, train, and educate safe, professional drivers and maintain fleets of safe vehicles that meet regulatory standards,” Ewart said. “Less enforcement on Saskatchewan highways takes the benefit of doing so away from law-abiding transport companies and gives unsafe, non-compliant companies the upper hand and contributes to the more rapid disintegration of Saskatchewan’s roadways.”

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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