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.
Ontario extends 60-foot trailer trial
TORONTO, ON – The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is extending a trial of 60-foot trailers beyond the retail sector. Permits are now based on Commercial Vehicle Operator Record (CVOR) rather than a semitrailer’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), the Ontario Trucking Association reports. But the permits – one for each semitrailer -- will list all VINs included in the trial. Participating carriers are limited to eight permits, and just four in the first year of a trial.
New transportation Minister in Ontario
TORONTO, ON - Ontario is getting a new Minister of Transportation. In a cabinet shuffle happening today, Premier Kathleen Wynne is moving Minister Steven Del Duca from the transportation portfolio to Economic Development, and has tapped Minister Kathryn McGarry to replace him.
Final touches on green rebate program unveiled
TORONTO, ON - The final details on Ontario's Green Commercial Vehicle Program (GCVP) are now available from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. GCVP provides rebates to fleets and owners for the purchase of environmentally-friendly and fuel-saving vehicles and technologies purchased after Sept. 1, 2017, including up to 50% of the incremental cost of a new electric truck, or an electric auxiliary power unit (APU). The program championed by groups like the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) aims to make it more affordable for businesses reduce their carbon footprint while helping the province meet its goals under the Climate Change Action Plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 37% below 1990 levels by 2030. OTA president Stephen Laskowski says after two years working on the project the group is delighted to see GCVP implemented. "[Ontario Transportation] Minister Del Duca has once again shown leadership by reinvesting carbon fees paid by our industry back into our sector, so that our industry can continue on the path of environmental advancement in Ontario," he said.
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."
New auto carrier regs come to Ontario
TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) have announced a "made-in-Canada" approach to harmonizing regulations for Stinger-Steer auto carriers. Earlier this week MTO launched the Extended Stinger-Steer Auto Carrier (ESSAC) Special Vehicle Configuration Permit Program. Carriers and other industry groups have been asking for an overhaul to the Ontario regulations surrounding the auto carriers since the passage of the FAST act in the U.S. in 2015 changed regulations to things like length, and front and rear load overhang limits south of the border.