OPP stage Toronto area CMV blitz

MILTON, ON - Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are cracking down on unsafe truck drivers in an enforcement blitz in the Greater Toronto Area, starting today. Setting up camp at a weigh station off Ontario Highway 401 between Milton and Oakville, the OPP's Highway Safety (HSD) Division say they are looking to raise awareness about safe driving practices for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, while also conducting inspections to look for unsafe operators. As part of the safety awareness campaign, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt from the HSD participated in a ride-along with the OPP transport truck to get a look at morning road conditions and point unsafe driving practices from all drivers.

Ontario investing in autonomous vehicle research

VAUGHAN, ON - The Government of Ontario has signaled it's serious about ushering self-driving vehicles, including those in commercial fleets, into the province. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca were with the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) last week to announce an $80 million government investment in the development of the vehicles through the launch of the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN).

OTA, officials to meet on road safety

TORONTO, ON - With several truck collisions this month shutting down major Ontario highways for hours at a time, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), and well as the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), are working together to create safer roads, and clear them faster after a crash. The groups announced the formation of two committees this week to address highway clearance procedures and strategic truck safety enforcement. OTA President Stephen Laskowski said by working together the groups could develop joint goals and strategies on these issues and more effectively execute them to improve highway safety.

Charges laid, OPP talking vehicle seizure

TORONTO, ON - Charges have been laid and changes are coming to the way police officers investigate and enforce dangerous driving behaviors involving commercial vehicle drivers in Ontario. In a morning press conference Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Vince Hawkes announced charges against commercial vehicle drivers in three separate incidents that occurred this year on Ontario 400 series highways. A Brampton, Ontario, man is charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death in the Aug. 3 crash that took the lives of Todd Gardiner, 26, and Michael Glazier, 35, cousins who were driving in a pickup truck on Highway 401 near Port Hope, Ontario. A second Brampton driver is charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death, two counts of dangerous driving causing injury, and one count of dangerous driving following a July 30 collision that took the lives of a 45-year-old woman and her 14-year-old son, while injuring her husband and 10-year-old son, as they returned from a camping trip. A third collision on July 27 on Highway 48 in the town of Georgina resulted in similar charges after the deaths of two and injuries to three more people, including a 10-year-old boy who was a passenger in an SUV.

Truckers committed to road safety: OTA

TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) is reassuring the public of their commitment to road safety. In a statement released today the OTA says despite the recent media coverage about fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles, trucks are the safest vehicles on the road. The statement comes as a fatal collision involving two tractor-trailers shut down eastbound lanes on Ontario Highway 401, and day after the Ontario Provincial Police charged three more commercial vehicle drivers in 10 deaths on Ontario's highways this summer.

Ontario WSIB rates to climb for trucking

TORONTO, ON - Some Ontario fleets will see a bump in their Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums for 2018. The rise in rates were announced at the group's annual general meeting Set. 20, while WSIB also announced a drop in rates for other industries, totaling about $760 million combined for 2017 and 2018. Warehousing is among those seeing a cut, with a 7.5% decrease in premium rates from $2.95 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2017, to $2.73 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2018. The rates for general trucking, couriers, and waste materials recycling, however, will go up.

DUI will mean stricter penalties in Ontario

TORONTO, ON - Stricter penalties for young, novice, and commercial divers caught operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol are coming to Ontario. Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced the new measures Sept. 18 ahead of the legalization of marijuana nation-wide next July. The government says it will have zero tolerance for those caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol for those drivers under the age of 21, those without a full "G" or "M" class license under Ontario's graduated licensing system, and commercial drivers.

Ontario government seeks feedback on proposed rebates

TORONTO, ON - The Government of Ontario is seeking input on a proposed program that will provide rebates to fleets towards the purchase of alternative-fuel trucks and fuel-saving technologies. The Green Commercial Vehicle program (GCVP), a part of the Ontario Climate Change Action Plan introduced in 2016, would provide up to $170 million for electric and natural gas-powered commercial vehicles, infrastructure and temperature controlled trailer technology - as well as tractor-trailer aerodynamic devices and anti-idling devices.

FedEx Canada joins the Amber Alert program

TORONTO, ON - FedEx Express Canada will add nearly 3,000 pairs of eyes looking for missing children. The Canadian courier announced this week that it is partnering with the Ontario Amber Alert program, and will rebroadcast amber alerts to its 6,500 Canadian employees, including nearly 3,000 couriers, so they can aid in finding missing children. President Lisa Lisson says with the increase in e-commerce, the courier company is in more places around the country, making them good candidates for helping to locate missing children when needed. "As loving parents and proud Canadians, our employees want to be of service to the community and help keep our children safe from harm," says Lisson.

SPECIAL REPORT: The early days of mandatory training

TORONTO, ON -- Darryl Robitaille belongs to a rare graduating class, one of the first future truck drivers to study under Ontario's new Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) regime. That means he had to complete at least 103.5 hours of approved training before the Ontario Ministry of Transportation would allow him to take the road test for an AZ licence to drive tractor-trailers. He failed on the first attempt. "The road test I did fine on," says the resident of Caledonia, Ontario, referring to actions like steering and backing. His challenge was with new questions linked to pre-trip inspections. "I was extremely nervous," Robitaille adds. This despite the fact that he personally completed a 200-hour training program, well above the mandated minimum introduced on July 1. But with a little extra studying he passed the test on his second attempt. Now he is looking to secure his first job behind the wheel. Robitaille can take comfort in knowing he wasn't alone.

Driver exam crush ahead of mandatory training

TORONTO, ON -- An increasing number of would-be truck drivers are lining up for licensing tests at Ontario DriveTest centers as the province approaches a July 1 deadline to introduce Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT). The number of appointments has increased since the beginning of 2017 and was up 20% last March when compared to the same month in 2016, an Ontario Ministry of Transportation spokesman confirms. The surge was not unexpected, either. Extra examiners were trained, and more classified test slots had been allocated to respond to an increase in demand.

Ontario reviewing Class D requirements

TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is revisiting the medical, vision and knowledge requirements for Class D licence holders -- and the potential of aligning them with other commercial vehicle classes, the Ontario Trucking Association reports. A Class D is needed to operate straight trucks with gross weights above 24,000 pounds, and combinations above that weight which include towed vehicles with gross weights below 10,000 pounds. The proposed alignment would subject Class D drivers up to the age of 64 to complete knowledge and vision tests every five years, those under 46 to submit a medical every five years, those 46-64 to submit a medical report every three years, and those 65 and over to submit an annual medical, the association says.