Road safety is a very serious concern and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has taken steps to make sure all drivers get to their intended destination unharmed. Commercial motor vehicles operating in Ontario are no different so here are the safety requirements that commercial truck drivers and operators should be aware of. A commercial motor vehicle is defined as either a truck or highway tractor with a gross weight or registered gross weight of more than 4,500 kilograms (kg) or a bus with a seating capacity for ten or more passengers.
Compliance with commercial vehicle regulations is enforced on-road by enforcement officers and the police, as well as through facility audits. If a commercial motor vehicle or trailer is found to be in such an unsafe condition that it poses a danger to other people on the highway, the vehicle may be prohibited from operating until required repairs are made. Commercial vehicle drivers and companies that fail to comply with many of these requirements may be fined up to $20,000.
A critically defective commercial vehicle can be impounded for a minimum of 15 days. If there are one or more critical defects found, the plates and inspection stickers will be removed from the vehicle and it will be impounded.
Another issue that can affect commercial vehicle safety is wheel separation. Measures have been introduced to reduce wheel separation or wheel-offs for commercial vehicles such as daily inspection requirements for drivers and operators, an absolute liability law for wheel separations, specialized training for technicians involved with wheel installations, increased on-road inspections from ministry enforcement officers and specially trained police officers. Fines for wheel separations could range from $2,000-$50,000.
Electronic Speed Limiters
One safety measure mandated by Ontario and Quebec to all commercial trucks is the use of electronic speed limiters that cap their speed at 105 km/h. This applies to commercial motor vehicles that were built after December 31, 1994 which come equipped with an electronic control module and vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 11,794 kg or more.
Types of Safety Inspections
Periodic inspections are required for commercial motor vehicles, trailers and converter dollies. There are three types of safety inspections: annual, semi-annual, and the safety standard certificates. Safety standards certificates are required for either registering a rebuilt motor vehicle, transferring a used motor vehicle to a new owner, registering a motor vehicle in Ontario that was previously registered in another province or country, and changing the status of a vehicle from unfit to fit. The safety standard certificate is issued If a vehicle meets all the requirements of the safety standards inspection and is deemed fit.
Buses, school purpose vehicles used for transporting six or more persons, and accessible vehicles require annual and semi-annual inspections. A vehicle with a seating capacity for 10 or more passengers (not including the driver) is considered a bus and this includes large passenger vans and limousines. A bus with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating of 4500 kg or less and utilized for personal use is exempt from the annual and semi-annual inspection requirement.
Components of the Inspection
During an inspection, the following components are thoroughly checked to see if they comply with the National Safety Standard: power train, suspension hydraulic brake system, brakes, steering, instruments and auxiliary equipment, lamps, electrical system, body, tires and wheels, and couplers and hitches. If your vehicle fails an inspection, you will be required to repair it and have it re-inspected. You can request a free re-inspection within 10 days if you return the repaired vehicle to the same inspection station.
A daily pre-trip vehicle inspection is likewise recommended before the vehicle is operated on the highway. This ensures that any potential or actual problem be identified prior to operation. It also keeps a record of any issues that a vehicle may have and how swiftly any repairs were performed. Any defects found must be recorded and the operator must be notified about them. You must carry and produce an inspection schedule based on your vehicle, as well as a corresponding valid inspection report. The operator is required to repair any defects that do not meet the performance standards. The inspection is valid for 24 hours. Any vehicle with a major defect cannot be operated and must be repaired prior to being driven.
For more information, download the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Commercial Vehicle Operators’ Safety Manual here.
As a vehicle operator, even if you require a truck rental, you may also need to have a valid Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration or CVOR.
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