Report blasts ministry over truck inspections

Abdul Latheef
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk

TORONTO, Ont. – Ontario’s auditor general has sharply criticized the Ministry of Transportation over falling roadside commercial vehicle inspections, saying not enough is being done to ensure road safety.

The rebuke came in the Annual Report released on Wednesday by Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk.

The audit found that there are many opportunities for the ministry to improve overall safety through its Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Program.

The report said one of the most important activities the ministry performs to ensure safety is its roadside inspections of commercial vehicles.

Roadside commercial vehicle inspections“However, we found that between 2014 and 2018, the number of inspections the ministry conducted decreased by 22%, from over 113,000 in 2014 to fewer than 89,000 in 2018, because the ministry was unable to fill enforcement officer vacancies, and because the majority of enforcement officers did not meet their individual annual productivity targets for the number of inspections to complete.”

It said, as a result, the ministry missed the opportunity to remove thousands of additional unsafe commercial vehicles and drivers from Ontario’s roads.

The report also said that the ministry had estimated that Ontario’s truck traffic increased 10% from 2009 to 2018.

In the 10 years from 2008 to 2017, commercial vehicles (large trucks and buses) were involved in over 182,000 collisions in Ontario, it said.

The collisions resulted in almost 44,000 injuries and 1,180 fatalities.

Commercial vehicles were at-fault in 46% of these collisions, including 33% of collisions that resulted in a fatality, whether due to the driver’s actions or the vehicle’s condition, the report said.

“According to the ministry, the direct social cost of large truck collisions in Ontario for the five-year period from 2011 to 2015 (the most recent data available) was $2 billion,” the report added.

That includes costs related to property damage, healthcare, police, courts, fire and ambulance services, tow trucks and traffic delays.

Auditor generalThe report noted that Ontario consistently ranks among the safest provinces in Canada and compares favorably to the U.S. for overall road safety.

“However, Ontario maintained higher fatality and injury rates than Canada as a whole and the United States in the majority of years between 2008 and 2017 when evaluating only commercial vehicles,” the report said.

From 2014/15 to 2018/19, the ministry spent over $200 million on commercial vehicle enforcement, including $39.4 million in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

In 2018, about 60,000 carriers were registered to operate in the province and there were over 290,000 registered commercial vehicles.

The report also criticized Ontario’s driver training standards.

“We also found that driver training is not mandatory for some of the highest risk commercial driver’s licence classes, and that Ontario allows commercial vehicle driver licensing practices that are uncommon in other jurisdictions, such as allowing commercial vehicle carriers (businesses that operate commercial vehicles) with a poor collision history to test their own drivers for commercial vehicle driver’s licenses.”

It also accused the ministry of not effectively monitoring and taking action to address high-risk Motor Vehicle Inspection Station (MVIS) garages, which issue safety certificates for commercial vehicles.

Annual ReportThe report also said:

  • More unsafe commercial vehicles and drivers could have been removed from the roads with more inspections.
  • Roadside inspection enforcement is not consistent across the province, impacting the effectiveness of roadside inspections in preventing collisions.
  • The majority of carriers have not had a vehicle inspected in the past two years, including carriers with a poor collision history.
  • Most roadside inspections are performed on provincial highways, allowing “local haulers” to avoid inspection.
  • Despite a high risk of collisions, the ministry does not sanction municipalities.
  • The ministry does not assess the reasonableness of kilometers traveled reported by carriers that are used to calculate safety ratings.
  • Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) has not been extended to other commercial class driver’s licenses.
  • The ministry allows some carriers with a poor history of collisions to test their own employees for commercial vehicle driver licenses.
  • There is no mandatory drug and alcohol testing for commercial vehicle drivers.

The audit concluded that the ministry does not have fully effective and efficient processes and systems to consistently carry out safety programs that promote and enforce the operation of commercial vehicles.

The full report is available here.

Ministry response

In its response, the ministry said it appreciates the work of the auditor general and welcomes the recommendations on how to improve the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Program.

“We agree with all the recommendations and are committed to implementing them as quickly as possible and will report back regularly on our progress,” it said.

 

 

Abdul Latheef

Abdul Latheef is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking and trucknews.com. He has extensive international experience as a reporter and editor. Reach him at abdul@newcom.ca

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  • In my 35 years in Transportation I have never seen such a poorly educated group. As an owner of 30 transports this is only getting worse MANY more love ones will DIE at the hands of uneducated drivers. STOP THIS NOW it’s not that HARD GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER remove the High risk drivers NOW take there AZ license away I’m DAMN well positive many drivers purchased there AZ with never have taken the drive TEST !!!!
    ITS NOT THE MTO job to enforce safety ITS OURS owners drivers

    Now Go to all the families that lost love ones at the hands of BS drivers GO A HEAD tell them you should of done a better job to protect the public BURN IN HELL all of you it’s been horrible out there on the roads THE PROFESSIONAL driver is no longer well 80% The other 20%PLEASE hang in there keep the love of the job ALIVE as a team we can ELIMINATE THE TRASH

    Shit this really upset me

    I LOVE TRUCKING
    It’s in our blood

  • First of all I agree in part but the bigger problem here in ontario is you can write your license in what ever language you come from the you can do your class room and road test with an instructor who speaks your language then we turn them loose in Canada with road Signs in English flashing signs in English that they can’t read there for they going flying down the road with no clue of what’s ahead and what’s going on we need to teach them how to read and write English first then teach them how to drive trucks

  • Possibly if the government reinstated the only two major roads in Northern Ontario as essential Highways so that they would be ploughed all the time a lot of accidents could be prevented! I have run western Canada since 1975 . Winter conditions get progressively worse each year. Do they not realize this is the east west corridor for the country or is that not important?

    • They need to slow some of these guys down, I just did a trip to Cochrane & the tailgating & unsafe passing is ridiculous. Some of these idiots have no idea how to handle a truck & have no idea how the truck will respond to their stupid maneuvers. The new speed seems to be as fast as they can get the truck to go whatever the road conditions. You cannot teach common sense. Hwy 11 especially is like a suicide mission at times, they need to get the bad drivers off the road, this will likely not happen until they kill a politicans family & then they will cry Wolf. Something has to be done, this has gotten way out of control. The general public used to respect the truck driver as some of the safest & best drivers out there, not so anymore.

  • This is ridiculous! Thevscales in milton have been closed, yet no inspection areas have replaced these. Also, the amount of tailgating and careless driving from all of these new drivers is alarming. There are no policing on the 400 series highways. Its getting scarier to drive nowadays…..

    • I guess you have not been on steels Ave, there’s a new inspection station at 5th line, and I have seen it being used quite a bit

  • So basically if you don’t meet the number of inspections that they set out, you lose your job saying you aren’t productive enough? No wonder why they only inspect the newer equipment and let the junk pass. It takes too much time! What a joke. Let the inspectors do a quality job instead of a quantity job!

    • 100% agreement from this Alberta driver. The MTO doesn’t understand the doctrine of unintended consequences. This is theirs to wear not ours.

  • Truckers aren’t criminals
    You know the minority giving the
    Industry a bad name
    Concentrate on the problem at hand & your fatalities will go done
    ELOG has made many a good & honest driver into speeding maniacs Thank the dumb officials for ruining an industry

    • Why did the ELOG do that? No one changed the HOS rules. So other than a newer, updated method of recording a driver’s HOS (that doesn’t allow cheating) what has changed?
      I think what you are saying is that “good & honest” drivers cheated their logs so they didn’t have to speed. That brings up the question if they were good & honest, why were they cheating their logs?
      The one simple fact that drivers consistently fail to understand is that by cheating the log book, they are cheating themselves. The only ones that make money off cheated log books are the shipper & receivers.
      If you are a driver, ask yourself this … If you have to break the law to get your job done, is that really the job for you?

      • I agree with you but when my truck gets towed from Walmart warehouse 3 times in 2 months. When they send 4 police and 3 cars to get me to leave a warehouse after taking 6 hours and 47 minutes to to take off 4 skids. When drivers are not provided with bathrooms at the receivers and the only spot to park is in a part of the city that has a large number of murders and robbery. Pay us a fair wage for total hours worked. Provide parking with bathrooms both at shipper and receivers. Allow to extend our hours when needed but anything over 14 hours per day at 3.8 times the minimum wage for that state or province. Stop all foreign language testing. Limit all companies to one foreign truck per 6 months until all outstanding claims for back wages and injuries are dealt with. 519 523 9586

    • Yes a tired driver has to keep going to make delivery but shipping and receiving do not care they make you sit hours than you are up 20 hours but driving 13 than some thing tomorrow not all companies have trailers to have a spare at every stage of the route

  • It’s hard to believe they are doing less inspections … we get inspected all the time … but then again, we run new equipment so it’s much easier to inspect. Less effort and less paperwork required on the part of the inspector.

  • So what is being done to get the majority of unsafe vehicles and drivers off the road. The article states:

    “Commercial vehicles were at-fault in 46% of these collisions, including 33% of collisions that resulted in a fatality, whether due to the driver’s actions or the vehicle’s condition, the report said.”

    This tells me that 54% of the collisions and 67% of the fatalities result from the actions of non-commercial vehicles and drivers. Why is the focus on the commercial trucking industry when it’s apparent that others need to take better care of their vehicles and driving.

    Should the industry improve? Absolutely.

    We should be striving for zero at fault collisions. But focusing on making changes on the back of our industry, while not addressing those who create a majority of the statistics that they reference is not good either.

  • I have to agree with Stephen on the lack of experience, lack of proper training, it is true that more men and women die on the hwy than people do driving there own personal vehicle. I’ve had my AZ license for almost 8 years and what I have seen in the last 7.5 years on the highway is B.S. You come and do our jobs and see what all TRUCKERS see day in and day out. I’ll do your job LYING to Canadians.