Ontario starts spreading the word about motor carrier safety ratings

TORONTO (Feb. 22) — The Ontario Ministry of Transportation formally launched the educational component of its motor carrier safety rating program last week, releasing the first in a series of information bulletins about the initiative.

The awareness campaign will run through May, when the MTO plans to start assigning safety ratings to the “most non-compliant carriers” registered to operate in Ontario, provincial transport officials said in a release.

Carriers will be graded based on their Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) record combined with the results of facility audit conducted by provincially recognized inspectors.The assessment will produce a rating of “excellent,” “conditional,” “unsatisfactory,” the province said.

Carriers that have not had a facility audit may be rated as “satisfactory-unaudited” or “unsatisfactory.”

Audits will be required only when an operator’s rating reaches “conditional”; its collision record surpasses a pre-determined threshold; the operator is involved in highway safety-related incidents, such as collisions or criminal driving offences; it has had little exposure to enforcement; or the operator requests a facility audit to secure a “satisfactory” or “excellent” rating.

An audit may also be required if another jurisdiction requests one.

The province said it expects to shift its focus to assigning “conditional” ratings in August, when it begins using a new, automated CVOR system. At that time carriers may also volunteer for a facility audit to secure a “satisfactory” or “excellent” safety rating. Then, sometime in the fall, MTO will begin to assign a satisfactory-unaudited rating to operators with an acceptable performance record, but no facility audit.

The rating, which the province said is intended to provide “a clear indication of a carrier┬╣s overall safety performance,” will be available to the public and other jurisdictions.

The CVOR holder will be notified when the Registrar of Motor Vehicles proposes to assign a rating for the first time, or decides to change a carrier’s safety rating. The carrier may appeal the rating.

The ratings system is part of Ontario’s Road Safety Plan, a comprehensive strategy to improve road safety that arose from the Target ’97 government-industry task force.

The MTO said it is developing a manual outlining its facility audit procedures so truck and bus operators to assess their own compliance with Ontario┬╣s road safety legislation and regulations. Copies of the manual are expected to be available this spring.

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