WATERLOO, Ont. – Professional truck drivers who roll through the Waterloo stretch of the 401 should be on the lookout for a pick up truck on duty that is patrolling all commercial vehicles.
Last week, the Waterloo Regional Police Service officially rolled out its first commercial vehicle enforcement unit out on the roads. The unit consists of five officers who have been trained to a Ministry of Transportation level and a pick up truck with portable weigh scales in the back.
On its first day, staff sergeant of the traffic unit, Jim Strand says the team of five officers and its special vehicle laid 14 charges.
“This is the first time we’ve put an concerted effort forward in terms of commercial motor vehicle inspections,” Strand said, adding that the traffic unit got started after some wheel-off incidents in the area generated many worried and angry calls from members of the community.
“We started this to just address a community concern and a provincial concern to ensure that the commercial motor vehicles that hit the highways do so safely,” he said. “We’ve had two tire-off incidents in our region that people do not take lightly. They were asking for us to do something, and so this unit works now to ensure the vehicles out there are safe.”
Mostly, the Waterloo unit is looking out for things the MTO would – because they are working with the MTO on this project, Strand clarified.
“We’re looking for any mechanical defects,” he said. “And anything like issues with requirement for CVOR permits…if their inspection reports are filled out. But our primary concern is the mechanical worthiness of the vehicle.”
So far the unit has been catching a lot of issues with brakes and wheels.
“We caught one truck where there was only one lug nut still holding one of the wheels in place,” Strand said. “We’ve seen a lot of issues so far.”
To help show the community its commitment to safety, the unit posted photos of the truck on its Facebook page. Instead, it received some concerned comments from drivers and concerned patrons questioning the officers’ qualifications and the scale’s accuracy.
“The officers have all the equipment and tools they need to do a full mechanical inspection,” Strand assured in an interview with Truck News. “And most of the guys in my unit are former truck drivers. So they drove rigs for years and they understand what’s involved and what’s required for a full and proper inspection.”