Sticker Shock: Let’s set a balanced price for towing
Some of my earliest work experience came at the benches of a shop that repaired small appliances and vacuum cleaners. And a fond experience it was. Even when off the clock, I loved hanging around the area behind the counter. It’s where the owner’s aging friends would gather to chew the fat over some chewable coffee, and I was welcomed as one of them.
Highway Robbery: The push is on to tackle clearance practices, excessive tow fees
TORONTO, Ont. -- Guy Broderick couldn’t believe the towing invoice that appeared in front of him. The task seemed so simple. An APPS Transport truck only had to be towed a single exit down Highway 401. The clean-up involved nothing more than a bit of coolant that had spilled through a failing lower rad hose. The tow alone cost $2,531 – and that’s after Broderick negotiated a $1,000 discount. The coolant cleanup was billed at another $2,260, which included a $2,000 flat-rated “environmental” fee.
The Social Sergeant: Kerry Schmidt
TORONTO, ON -- Sgt. Kerry Schmidt has become one of the most visible faces of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). The media relations officer for the Highway Safety Division logs near-daily reports on rush-hour pileups in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) through his social media feeds, receiving attention from as far away as the United Kingdom. There are also appearances on Discovery’s Heavy Rescue: 401.
OPP: number of at-fault CMV drivers is “disturbing”
TORONTO, ON – Commercial motor vehicle drivers are considered at-fault in about 65% of the collisions they are involved in, according to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). In a broadcast from his Periscope Tuesday night, OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt from the Highway Safety Division (HSD) wanted to “talk heavy trucks” while promoting the second season of his Discovery channel show Heavy Rescue: 401.
OPP week-long blitz puts officers in trucks
TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are conducting a blitz this week on the province's highways, paying special attention to heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and they're doing it from a new angle. OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair said the group is using the two OPP Class 8 tractors - normally reserved for hauling police vehicles around Ontario - during the week to give them a better view of distracted drivers in the Greater Toronto Area. "Starting with this initiative, we are enhancing our observational investigative abilities on the road. Officers will now be conducting patrols in transport trucks," said Blair. "By giving our officers an enhanced vantage point they will be better positioned to detect transport truck drivers that are distracted, or engaging in other dangerous behaviors behind the wheel." Officers across the province, along with aerial patrols, will also be participating in the blitz the OPP is calling Operation Safe Trucking. Blair said the Highway Safety Division of the OPP has responded to more than 6,200 collisions involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on provincially patrolled roads since the beginning of 2017. Of those 72 were fatal, causing the deaths of 87 people. More than 1,000 others involved personal injury. More than 5,000 of the crashes involved property damage. Blair says collisions have real social and economic impacts even for those not involved in them directly, with everything from the loss of life, to medical treatment costs, loss of productivity, and the disruption in the movement of goods and people due to highway backups costing business and individuals. "The vast majority of [collisions] are attributed to poor driving behaviors, and they are completely preventable," said Blair.
OTA releases five-point safety action plan
TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) released a five-point action plan for improving truck safety this morning. The plan aims to work with law enforcement officials to assure the public that safety on the roads is the top priority of fleets owners, drivers, and other members of the industry, after a recent string of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles on Ontario highways had Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Vince Hawkes calling trucks "missiles."
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.
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.