OTTAWA, Ont. — The Owner-Operators’ Business Association of Canada (OBAC) says it’s alarmed by a recent Auditor General’s report which found that the Ontario Ministry of Transportation is doing a poor job of maintaining highway safety.
The report said the MTO has inadequate facilities, slipshod monitoring and outdated enforcement systems and procedures. OBAC is seizing the opportunity to suggest the MTO focus on getting its house in order rather than diverting resources to needless speed limiter enforcement.
“How can (Transport) Minister (Jim) Bradley be prepared to divert obviously scarce enforcement resources to verifying speed limiter settings when the Auditor General can point to more than 20,000 operators who were involved in collisions – and who knows how many more who haven’t hit the radar screen in some way – running around without CVORs, with no way for the Ministry to track them?” asked OBAC’s executive director, Joanne Ritchie. “This report demonstrates Ontario’s Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement Program is a mess; the Ministry has a badly skewed set of priorities. Enforcement is down because they lack resources, yet they’re prepared to add an enforcement initiative with no proven safety benefit to already overburdened roadside inspectors? Unbelievable.”
Ritchie referred to the report’s findings that MTO spent more than $39 million on commercial vehicle enforcement in 07/08, however the number of roadside inspections decreased 34% since 03/04. The Auditor General found that only three out of every 1,000 commercial vehicles was subject to a roadside inspection in 2007. It also found that 20,600 or so operators that have been involved in a collision or inspected roadside have never applied for the required CVOR, with little follow-up.
The report also found that: 65% of roadside inspections are conducted between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., even though 21% of commercial vehicle trips are made at night; impoundments rarely occur due to a lack of MTO facilities; MTO inspectors frequently were unable to access CVOR information from the database quickly enough to determine whether a truck warranted a roadside inspection; and the number of interventions against high-risk operators is on the decline.
“Clearly, the Ministry has a lot of work to do in getting its enforcement house in order,” concluded Ritchie. “All carriers and operators in Ontario should be alarmed that MTO is willing to allow these inequities to continue while playing politics with a regulation that Transport Canada had already determined will compromise the safety of all road users. Minister Bradley should be truly ashamed of the performance of his Ministry.”
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