Dump trucks take to Toronto highways, protesting insurance costs

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Protesters from OATA are focusing their attention on insurance rates. (Photo by OATA)

BRAMPTON, Ont. – A group identifying itself as the Ontario Aggregate Trucking Association (OATA) took to Toronto-area highways on Wednesday in a rolling protest against rising insurance costs — and they plan to return.

Dozens of their dump trucks formed convoys and choked traffic on routes including the Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway, and Highway 427 as commuters headed to work.

Owner-operator Jagroop Singh, OATA’s president and founder, confirms that the protesters have applied for a permit to gather in front of the provincial legislature next week.

Insurance rates have increased by double digits in recent years, while several insurers have suddenly dropped coverage for aggregate haulers, he told trucknews.com. Compounding matters, truck drivers who want to begin hauling sand and gravel are facing requirements for three years of experience – essentially blocking new drivers from the sector, he said.

The protesters also cited concerns about high licensing fees.

“Rates have Doubled or Policies Denied,” protester Binder Singh posted on his facebook page last night, referring to what he called unfair commercial insurance hikes and manipulated rates. “All Trucking companies and Industry is at a breaking Cricis [SIC] Point for Survival.”

Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek criticized the protesters when providing comments to Toronto-area media. “I wouldn’t support anyone protesting by stopping on our 400-Series highways at all. I think that’s wrong,” he said, according to CityNews.

The gravel haulers made headlines during protests in September 2016, when they occupied Ontario Ministry of Transportation inspection stations in Milton, just west of Toronto. That protest focused on a crackdown on rules governing axle weights.

Jagroop Singh, OATA’s president and founder, made headlines in 2016 while protesting a crackdown on axle weights.
  • An earlier version of this article has been updated to correct the spelling of Jagroop Singh’s name.
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John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • You see !

    I just mentioned last night that through the creation of a Truck Drivers Federation(TDF) that this sort of problem would be resolved in one of my posted comments in the ,”Must-have technologies, ELDs, and government regulations” article on this website , by creating a subsidiary insurance co……………

    Welcome frustration ! The precise ingredient needed to create a change !

    How come I could see and predict these sorts of reactions coming before they occur ?

    Truck drivers are slowly but surely approaching their inevitable breaking point !

    It’s a calling to UNITE !

  • As an innocent motorist caught behind this protest convey,,,, they sure gained my sympathy for their plight NOT. Hassling motorist is not endearing truckers to their plight, I agree with the Minister.

  • It’s cause of these guys our rates have gone up… they want to complain about it but they don’t want to correct their driving habits…

  • Quit hitting things and scamming the insurance companies and your rates won’t go up. Biggest maniacs on the highway around GTA are these hard done by gravel haulers. You’re reaping the benefits of your mayhem. Kudos to the insurance companies for recognizing the problem.

    • And how about other people in the industry?
      Im in Qc , running long haul transportation and my insurance costs tripled, how is this fair?

  • This is the sort of chaos we want to prevent as wise innovative activists !


    There is no need to protest in such a way to bring change !

    In this day and age it takes an organized wise course of action to achieve a particular goal without chaos . And this goal can be achieved by learning from actions in the past that were flawed .

    We don’t want chaos ! We want to avoid it !

    People have suffered enough ! We can do things differently and have a huge impact quicker than ever before by doing things intelligently !

    Social media gets the word out , however, you need a wise organised structured plan ! You don’t just go protest in the street , annoy citizens and rendering yourselves vulnerable when authorities respite !

    This is primitive thinking and from the dinosaur era ! It’s old school ! We the wise have learned from the past and strongly recommend not to repeat the past !

    We understand that desperate measures can bring desperate actions .

    Never act out of emotion !

    Use emotion as a tool to think ,organize and plan . Then act logically . It’s like a game of chess . You don’t want to provoke , you want to outsmart and win . Once you outsmart and obtain your result , people will listen and feel the pressure to reason from within because there is nothing to fight outside !.

    Pressure from the outside always attracts resistance . Your “physical” protest is an emotional(illogical) reaction to outer pressure due to your uncontrolled inner pressure(emotion) which causes another form of physical outer pressure .

    We suggest to bypass resistance by creating pressure to come from within without “physical” outer pressure . This sort of pressure nobody can resist and fight . Pressure from within propels people to create change because they cannot react to “invisible” pressure from the outside !

    If outer pressure is “invisible” but still can be felt within , it will create inner pressure that cannot resist outside pressure . Thus create the change that you desire without resistance .

    Example : When you protest in the street and create outer pressure , you create inner pressure in government to resist to your outer physical pressure . So they send authority to disperse your outer physical pressure/protest .

    You lose ! We on the other hand want you to win and avoid pain in your attempt to gain pleasure !

  • You guys are going to love this !


    ““The ELD, in and of itself, is not going to improve driver safety, but will enforce the rules that need to be followed.”

    Ok so that point is very clear coming from the Americans who have ELD experience and data !

    ELD’s do not and will not improve safety , of which I have been emphasizing for quite awhile .

    But read the quote below !

    “The rise of ELD systems and telematics is slowly disrupting the way insurance is priced and sold. Insurance companies can now look at risk profiles of fleets on an individual level, and structure their insurance plans based on the number of risk-related events that a driver or a truck was part of historically.

    ROTFLMAO ! They already have information via driver profiles in their data base ! And they charge premiums based on those PROFILES ! So stop trying to find ways to enforce your BS ELD’s on the industry to control people !

    But the final quote below is the one that freakin’ takes the cake !

    “Five years down the road, I don’t think you will be able to get insurance without this data,” said Evans. ”


    In other words , you won’t be able to get insurance if you don’t comply with ELD enforcement ! They are manipulating their way into insurance policies !!!

    And insurance companies are discriminatory !!! Which in of itself is AGAINST THE LAW . And they are opening a huge can of worms for truck drivers to start a class action lawsuit against them , LOL !

    Ignorance is bliss !

    I mentioned and predicted that this is where they were going with this ELD BS numerous times !

    A Truck Drivers Federation(TDF) would bypass this BS by creating its own insurance company as a subsidiary in its co-op !

    And the TDF insurance subsidiary wouldn’t oblige members to comply with ELD regulations ! In fact the ELD regulation would be abolished and obsolete !

    It would become a figment of their imaginations !

    How ? I guess you would have to join the TDF to find out ………

    Eventually they will impose those ELD’s and or a variation of it on all vehicles . You’ll see . For now the trucking industry is being used as a lab rat(as a subject for experimentation) .

    Now how does that feel ? To be used and forced to bend to their will ? It’s all about control . Taking away your freedom and rights through the guise of BS safety propaganda . That’s what it’s all about .

    Wake up , these people(trucking associations,corporations & government) are using basic old school primitive manipulative tactics .

    Rather than offer attractive innovative solutions that would instill ethics and develop the mind , they want to control it !

    Evolution is created from freedom of the mind !

  • Hi- Vancouver or Toronto, sadly most always East Indians complaining regarding rates for hauling,now insurance! These are the people who “undercut” Canadian truckers over the past 30 years and now they require everything to be in there favour? The Humbolt accident is just one story of unskilled commercial drivers today, mostly from India! This is truth and politically everyone is afraid to speak due to political challenges. Hopefully the loss of 16 young Canadian hockey players will change Commercial driver training ,upgrading to other TRADE levels

  • I hear them on the insurance hikes, but aside from that some of these morons are a hindrance on highways and roads by the way they go drive in middle lanes or teo abreast sometimes clogging traffic.
    It may not be the tractor trailer type but the single tridem dump operators.

  • Dump truck drivers should understand the rules are there for a reason…

    All they(dump truck drivers) are thinking of is saving money…

    When safety should be the reason they should abide by the guide lines….

    Stopped on the 401 is also the dumbest thing to do…

  • Then stay off your cell phones !!!!!!!!
    I see at least 8 dump trucks a day drifting all over the road. When I pass them theirs heads are down on their phones! Wake up! Your driving a weapon!

  • First you guys undercut the rates so that you get the work , then you over load your trucks so you can make more money but then you get caught so you protest the scales Now you want to hire new drivers that dont have experience that will endanger every one on the roads and you cant get insurance so you protest that…
    In short you like to live in this Country but you dont want to live by our laws so you protest….go back to your home country and protest there

  • In my opinion blocking highways is the worst thing you can do for your cause. Making everybody angry at you
    does not make people feel sorry for you. I find a lot of GTA dump truck drivers are the worst ones the road and are always driving very aggressively, it’s no wonder their insurance is up because I am guessing they have a lot of claims. So if their cost goes up to do buisness just charge more for the work you do, not form protests because you can’t make money in the field you chose to do.

  • All insurance rates suck! Drivers who have had insurance claims need to be charged more and drivers who driver claim should be awarded discounts.

  • Hey trucknews….how about you do some research. Take, say, the last 200 collisions involving commercial vehicles in Ontario, search the cvor database for city of registration, then compare that to ‘not at fault’ and ‘at fault’?
    It would either disprove a widely believed theory, or prove where the problem lies.

  • This protest was needed in Ontario Canada insurance is very expensive. I agree that new drivers or new drivers to Canada need to be put with a more experienced truck driver with 2 or more years experience . This training should last at least 3 months. I was hit from behind 4 years ago and Ryder still has not paid the claim. 6 years ago my farm was hit by a wind storm and it is still waiting on a jury trial. 7168005814

  • How about taking a look at this side of Dump Truck operators?……
    Speeding,Tailgating, texting,using merge lanes to pass, using left lanes (where prohibited) to pass, poorly maintained equipment (Brakes,Tires,Wheel Hubs, etc).