Road safety initiatives are everywhere…and that’s a good thing
Over the many years that I’ve been involved with road safety I’ve had the pleasure to observe and promote it on radio, television, write for many publications and be involved with many road safety events. Recently, I was asked to observe such an event; a Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Initiative held in the greater Toronto area. I’ve been to a number of these previously, but this was as unique as the previous ones were. Well, sort of.
During this event, a number of police officers were out on the roads bringing in commercial vehicles for inspections. Now, before you think, “Hey, that’s going to stop the commercial drivers from doing their job”, think again. Many of the drivers of these vehicles had properly working vehicles. That’s the way it should be. Some vehicles, vehicle owners and drivers weren’t so lucky.
Some of the vehicles that were brought in for inspection passed with flying colours. Others had minor offenses which could escalate into something bigger if they went undetected for a while. Many of the inspectors explained to the drivers what the issues were and were given an opportunity to correct the problem right there on the spot. That’s how this system is supposed to work. (https://www.thesafedriver.ca/2014/07/17/surprise-inspections-should-not-be-a-surprise/)
A pickup truck was brought in because the officer thought the load looked a little heavy. There were 5 people in the vehicle moving gravel to a work site. The problem was, the gravel in the back of the truck helped to cause the weight of the truck to exceed the 3000 kilogram weight it was registered for. It weighed 5600 kilograms. What if someone cut the driver off and they had to brake hard and quick? Would they have been able to stop in time? Yes the driver was ticketed, but instead of impounding the vehicle, the inspector allowed the driver to offload the load of gravel so the truck could stay within its weight class.
One of the things drivers and owners of commercial vehicles have to realize is that the officers and inspectors want you to succeed. They want the vehicles to pass inspections. They also want the drivers to learn something so they can keep a safe vehicle. I spoke with another driver who was ticketed with having worn safety chains and a breakaway cable not attached to the towing vehicle. If the trailer gets loose from the towing vehicle, the breakaway cable will automatically stop the trailer. That won’t happen if the breakaway cable isn’t attached to the vehicle.
Yes, the driver and owner of the vehicle received tickets, but the inspector taught, explained and showed the driver what it does and how it should be attached. I call that teamwork. The driver was a bit annoyed they had the ticket, but not because they got caught. It was more because they felt they should have known. They told me they were thankful the inspector took the time to show and explain things to them.
That seemed to be the way it was with each inspection this day. It seemed like a coach explaining to their player how to improve their game, even though they may have just made an error. It was to help them avoid making the same mistake next time. These officers and inspectors cared and that benefits more than the driver and the vehicle owner. It benefits everyone on the road. It will help reduce traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries on our streets. So if you’re brought in for a surprise inspection, be sure you thank them for keeping you safe on the roads.
**Special thanks to Toronto Police Service, RCMP, Peel, Halton, Waterloo, Durham and York Regional Police Services, Ontario Provincial Police, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment, Ontario College of Trades and the City of Toronto Bylaw Enforcement. These are the partners that help keep the roads safe.