Recently the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have been involved in a safety blitz named Operation Corridor. This has resulted in hundreds of commercial motor vehicle charges being issued. For professional truck drivers their driving record not only impacts their personal driving record and insurance costs, but it also directly impacts their employability. Let’s take a look at two recent articles in the news about this recent safety blitz.
The first article is from Orillia Matters and looks at the June 14, 2018 component of Operation Corridor that happened in Midland:
MIDLAND – Members of the Southern Georgian Bay Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) participated in a Province wide commercial vehicle initiative named Operation Corridor held in Midland on June 14, 2018.
Officers were also joined by members from the OPP Central Region Traffic Unit, and Anishinabek Police Service (APS) as they spent the day locating and directing commercial motor vehicles at random into a designated safety lane.
The vehicles were inspected for mechanical fitness by qualified commercial motor vehicle inspectors as was the vehicle registration, insurance and the drivers licensing and Commercial Vehicle Operators Registration (CVOR) status.
The officers checked 39 commercial motor vehicles and 22 of those vehicles were taken out of service for mechanical reasons.
A total of 94 charges were issued under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario and the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act along with 17 warnings were issued to vehicle drivers and owners during this one day initiative in an effort to improve public safety on our roadways.
For more information on Commercial Motor Vehicle safety practices, please view the following link.
Police remind motorists that an essential part of the enforcement job is to save lives and reduce injuries on our trails, roadways and waterways. Educating the public about safe driving practices is a priority.
The second article is from CBC News dealing with the overall operation:
The Ontario Provincial Police laid 697 charges against commercial drivers and took 63 transport trucks out of service during Operation Corridor, a 24-hour safety blitz conducted last week.
In partnership with the Ministry of Transportation, police stopped 1,692 trucks from June 13 to 14.
Speeding topped the list of offences, with 226 charges laid. Defective equipment ranked second at 176 charges.
Other alleged offences included:
- Seatbelt charges: 107
- Speed limiter charges: 38
- Hours of Service charges: 31
- Distracted driving charges: 28
- Hazardous moving violations: 30
- Following too close: 18
The blitz is part of the OPP’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Collision Mitigation Strategy. Its goal is to save lives on Ontario’s roads.
There have been 3,047 truck-related collisions reported in 2018, including 25 that were fatal.
The Ontario Trucking Association has said it supports tougher rules for drivers to emphasize the cost of making a mistake on the road.
President Stephen Laskowski said the association believes it’s too easy to gain entry to the industry and hiring protocols should change.
Certainly one number that jumps out from the first article is that 22 of the 39 inspected vehicles were taken out of service due to mechanical reasons. That means 56% of the vehicles stopped had serious enough mechanical issues that the police prevented them from driving further until the mechanical issues could be corrected. Considering the thousands of commercial motor vehicles that travel our highways, that’s a concerning statistic.
The second number that jumps out from the first article is that of the 39 inspected vehicles, 94 charges and 17 warnings were issued. On average, each commercial motor vehicle had enough serious problems with paperwork or mechanics to warrant the police issuing an average of 3 charges or warnings. That’s certainly something to consider as you’re driving along highway 400 or 401 surrounded by transport trucks. To what degree do those vehicles have improper documentation or mechanical defects?
The second article breaks down some of the charges that were issued against commercial motor vehicles across Ontario during the blitz. The number one offence turned out to be speeding. For regular non-commercial vehicle drivers, speeding charges are broken down as follows:
Speeding Demerit Points in Ontario.
|Km/h Over the Posted Speed Limit||Demerit Points|
|+1 to +15||0|
|+16 to +29||3|
|+30 to +49||4|
|+50 or greater||6|
However, what many commercial motor vehicle drivers are unaware of is that CVOR points follow a much more aggressive schedule of penalization:
|Km/h Over the Posted Speed Limit||CVOR Points|
|+1 to +10||2|
|+11 to +20||3|
|+21 or greater||5|
To give some context, a transport truck driver could hit a car, roll over into the ditch, and be charged with Careless Driving for the equivalent 5 CVOR point penalty of exceeding the posted speed limit by 21 km/h or more. That could be a career ending conviction.
Follow Too Closely under section 158 of the Highway Traffic Act is another offence that many commercial motor vehicle drivers do not understand the severity of:
“Headway for commercial motor vehicles
(2) The driver of a commercial motor vehicle when driving on a highway at a speed exceeding 60 kilometres per hour shall not follow within 60 metres of another motor vehicle, but this shall not be construed to prevent a commercial motor vehicle overtaking and passing another motor vehicle. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 158 (2).”
That’s roughly 3 transport truck lengths in distance that any commercial motor vehicle should be following the vehicle ahead of it. How many times have you looked up into your rearview mirror while driving on the highway to see a transport truck significantly closer than that distance? These charges also carry a 5 CVOR point penalty that could potentially end that driver’s career in the transportation industry.
Prohibited Use of Left Lane falls under Ontario Regulation 608 s.1(1):
“1. (1) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall operate a commercial motor vehicle or any combination of a commercial motor vehicle and a towed vehicle that exceeds 6.5 metres in length, except a bus, an ambulance or a fire apparatus, in the left lane or, where the left lane has been designated as a high occupancy vehicle lane, in the lane adjacent to the high occupancy vehicle lane of those portions of a highway described in the Schedules. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 608, s. 1 (1); O. Reg. 619/05, s. 1 (1); O. Reg. 201/16, s. 1.”
How many times have you seen an impatient transport truck driver pull into the inside lane of the 400 or 401? Again, this is a 5 CVOR point offence that could end their career in the industry and has the same CVOR point penalty as having jackknifed their truck into the ditch under a Careless Driving offence.
For regular drivers, we all have the basic concerns about court penalties, demerit points, driving record, and the impact to insurance costs that a conviction at court can bring. Commercial motor vehicle charges not only bring these same concerns to the driver with their personal driving record, but they also bring a record of conviction and potential CVOR points to their company and could result in the loss of employability in the transportation industry. This places an extra importance on CMV drivers in seeking to avoid or mitigate any charges from the police at court. A single serious offence or multiple minor convictions can have enormous, life altering consequences.
If you are charged by the police, the time to seek out information on the pending penalties and your legal options is immediately after you have been charged. There will be a limited window of time to have your case filed with the court and in serious offences there may be a mandatory first appearance hearing listed on your offence notice. OTD Legal Services provides a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation to understand your case, as well as provide you with basic information and a quote for legal services. A few minutes on the phone can help orient you in how you wish to best proceed in protecting your personal interests and help to avoid any potential consequences. Our friendly staff can be reached via our toll-free number 1-844-647-6869 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.