TORONTO, Ont. – The province is proposing a two-year plan to make Ontario highways safer for truckers.
Last week, senior government officials discussed the plan with leaders of Ontario’s trucking industry.
A key component of the plan will be tougher action against non-compliant carriers, including Driver Inc. operators. The move comes as a small contingent of unsafe, non-compliant operators are expanding throughout the industry.
As a first step, the government will initiate a consultative process that the Ontario Trucking Association says will conclude in the creation of a truck safety program.
“This is a visionary, holistic approach toward improving truck safety which goes beyond just focusing on vehicle maintenance exclusively,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski.
“The root causes of non-compliance and poor performance in our sector will be addressed by this consultative process. As a result, we believe at the conclusion of this process, Ontario’s roads will be safer.”
The OTA has been at the forefront of a campaign against Driver Inc., a controversial business model that classifies fleet employees as independent contractors. The drivers are incorporated and receive their pay without any source deductions.
OTA chairman David Carruth praised the initiative, saying all provinces and federal departments need to follow suit.
The association said the following measures are also part of the propose plan:
Adjust Ontario’s pointing and infraction system to harmonize, address high-risk activity, and reduce burden;
Enforce high risk activities through targeted measures and align provincial enforcement efforts;
Explore Expansion of Insurance Validation Program to Heavy Commercial Vehicles
Review and evaluate MELT;
Review CVOR program to place greater focus on operators and drivers that pose the highest risk to safety;
Implement electronic logging devices in Ontario;
Improve use of data regarding distracted and impaired driving and continue to research high-risk areas;
Strategically deploy Ontario’s commercial enforcement program towards high-risk activities.
“Each of these standalone measures offer the industry tremendous benefits,” said OTA’s Geoff Wood.
“Combined, they represent a substantial opportunity that will transform the trucking industry for the advancement of road safety, carrier competitiveness and the environment.”
The plan will complement measures announced in October such as the introduction of an integrated vehicle safety and emissions inspection program, and long combination vehicle enhancements.