OTTAWA, Ont. — Commercial drivers caught driving with a suspended license in Ontario will not be subject to the same seven-day impound as automobile drivers if a new proposal from the Ministry of Transportation is successful.
Last summer, the Ontario Government passed legislation giving itself the power to immediately – at roadside – impound for seven days any vehicle being driven by a driver whose licence was suspended.
As a result of lobbying by the Ontario Trucking Association, the MTO has agreed that commercial vehicles, particularly those that are owned by the carrier and driven by an employee, are different than automobiles and that they need to be handled differently. The government agreed to provide, through regulation, a different policy for handling commercial vehicles as opposed to cars.
Last week, MTO released their draft regulation regarding how commercial vehicles will be dealt with when a driver is found to be operating a commercial vehicle while their licence is under suspension. The government is proposing that:
-All commercial vehicles would be allowed to complete the trip with a properly licensed driver;
-Carriers would have 48 hours to produce evidence of a quarterly license record check to law enforcement in order to avoid any impoundment; and
-If, after 48 hours, the carrier does not provide evidence of a “due diligence” defence based on quarterly checks, the carrier would be required to “self-impound” the commercial vehicle at their facility for seven days. MTO would enforce this self-impoundment by suspending the plate and vehicle identification number for the seven days.
The OTA says it pushed hard for this “due diligence defence” and, in anticipation of this policy, it has established a program for carriers to conduct quarterly status checks as well as obtain drivers’ abstracts. For $5 a year per driver, the OTA’s Truck Driver Licence Status Check allows carriers to ensure that their drivers hold valid licences of the proper class and endorsement. In addition, carriers have the ability to order an MTO detailed (three-year) driver abstract through this service, with overnight electronic ability, for a $10 fee per driver – $2 less than the MTO’s $12 abstract fee.
Once the company logs onto OTA’s secure Web site and submits a list of drivers’ licence numbers, OTA will submit the data to MTO on a quarterly basis for a status check on every driver. Discrepancies are immediately identified and carriers will be instantly notified by e-mail if a driver has been flagged for a licence status discrepancy.
For more information, click the Driver Licence Status Check and Abstract Program button at www.ontruck.org.
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