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1,480 Commercial Vehicles Placed Out of Service During CVSA Roadcheck

The Canadian results are in for the 2016 International Roadcheck—a roadside safety blitz that takes place across North America. The blitz, which took place from June 7-9, 2016, was coordinated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and led to the inspection of 8,117 commercial vehicles at 146 inspection sites throughout Canada.

Overall, Canada’s results were favourable, as nearly 82 per cent of the commercial vehicles that were inspected met the CVSA’s on-road criteria.

In terms of infractions, 1,480 vehicles were marked as out of service (OOS) for various violations including, but not limited to, wheel, tire, frame, steering and signal defects. Of those violations, nearly half were due to brake defects, an issue the CVSA says is the most common issue found during blitzes.

Alberta was the greatest OOS offender, as 36 per cent of its vehicles were marked for various violations. Overall, Canada’s OOS rate was 18.5 per cent, which is similar to the averages of previous years.

Industry officials hope that the recent blitz and similar inspections continue to improve commercial vehicle safety and awareness. For a continued commitment towards vehicle safety, carriers are encouraged to take part in the CVSA’s 2016 Brake Safety Week (Sept. 11-17) and Operation Safe Driver (OSD) Week (Oct. 16-22).

According to the CVSA, the U.S. results of Roadcheck will be released in early September. To view Canada’s Roadcheck results by province, click here.


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Ontario Introduces Mandatory Entry-level Training for Class A Drivers


On June 28, 2016, the province of Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce mandatory entry-level training for all new commercial Class A truck drivers.

Under the new training regime, individuals seeking a Class A licence—a commercial licence that authorizes the holder to drive heavy trucks and tractor-trailers weighing more than 4,600 kilograms—in Ontario on or after July 1, 2017, will be required to successfully complete mandatory entry-level training before attempting the Class A road test.

Individuals who already hold a Class A licence before that date will not be required to complete training.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, mandatory entry-level courses will take approximately four to six weeks to complete, and course fees will be set by individual training providers. Schools approved by the province have a year to develop curriculum using a consistent provincial training standard.

The new Commercial Truck Driver Training Standard for Class A drivers is expected to be available in early July 2016 and to include 100 hours of training for new drivers. Officials have suggested the standard will include 36.5 hours in the classroom, 17 hours in the yard, 18 hours behind the wheel and off the road, and 32 hours on the road. An additional 12 hours of air brake training is expected to be available, but not mandated. 


  • Individuals seeking to obtain a Class A licence in Ontario on or after July 1, 2017, will need to successfully complete mandatory entry-level training before attempting the Class A road test.
  • Individuals who already have a Class A licence before that date will not be required to take training.
  • A Class A licence is needed to drive a commercial motor vehicle towing a trailer that exceeds 4,600 kg.

Key Dates: July 1, 2017 

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Vehicle Safety for Emergency Responders

Emergency vehicle drivers are an essential component in saving the lives of others, as they are responsible for driving the truck that carries all equipment and personnel needed to assist others. If drivers cannot successfully get the vehicle to an emergency scene, personnel cannot help civilians or protect property.

In order to deliver both personnel and equipment, drivers must always have safety top of mind. In addition, emergency vehicle drivers must use a high standard of care for the general public who are also using the road by trying to reduce the risk of injury to others.

Inspecting Your Vehicle

Before entering the vehicle and starting it up, employees should walk around the truck to make sure that all equipment is secured, all compartment doors are securely shut and all obstructions are safely moved out of the way. They should also:

  • Inspect all four sides and the top of the vehicle.
  • Verify clearance on the right and rear of the vehicle with the person riding in the officer position. This check should be done before moving in both emergency and non-emergency situations.
  • Once in the vehicle, wear a safety belt.

Using Warning Devices

When responding to an emergency, employees should:

  • Turn on all audible and visual warning devices. Though these items are turned on, the general public may not give employees the clearance that they need quickly.
  • Recognize that warning devices are only a request for the right-of-way rather than a guarantee that they have the rule of the road.
  • Be aware of how close they are to other vehicles and pedestrians, and make sure to allow a safe following distance. Specifically, they should allow one second of following distance for every three metres of vehicle length for speeds less than 64 km/h (40 mph), and one additional second for speeds 16 km/h (10 mph) over 64 km/h (40 mph).
  • Drive as close to the posted speed limit as possible when responding to an emergency, and never exceed 16 km/h over the posted limit. There are also many conditions that warrant slower speeds:
  • Slippery roads
  • Inclement weather
  • Poor visibility
  • Heavy traffic
  • Sharp curves and uneven surfaces

Caution in Intersections

Many accidents occur within or near intersections, so as drivers approach one, they should exercise extreme caution.

Uncontrolled Intersections

Employees should do the following when approaching (1) intersections that do not have a control device in place (stop sign, yield sign or traffic signal) in the direction that you are travelling, or (2) a traffic control signal that is green as vehicle is approaching:

  • Conduct a full scan of the intersection, looking for potential dangers in all four directions. Some hazards may include drivers turning right on a red light, pedestrians, drivers travelling at excessive speeds, etc.
  • If they detect any dangers, they should slow down immediately.
  • If they need to change the siren speed, they should do so no more than 60 metres (about 200 feet) from the intersection.
  • Avoid using the opposite lane of traffic to pass other vehicles, if possible.
  • Always be prepared to stop, especially if another vehicle does not yield to them.

Controlled Intersections

Employees should come to a complete stop when approaching intersections controlled by a stop or yield sign or yellow or red traffic light. They should also remember the following:

  • Do not rely on sirens or lights to clear traffic.
  • Before entering the intersection, scan the area for potential hazards. Also scan for potential passing options.
  • Confirm that all vehicles around the area are stopped before proceeding.

Crossing Railway Tracks

When approaching a railway crossing, employees should:

  • Turn off sirens and air horns
  • Operate the vehicle at an idle speed
  • Open the windows and listen for a train

Responding to Non-Emergencies

When responding to a non-emergency, employees should follow all normal motor vehicle regulations without using audible or visible devices.

How to Back Up Safely

Backing is a difficult task, as drivers cannot see around the vehicle as easily as they can in a smaller personal vehicle. Whenever possible, drivers should avoid backing up an emergency vehicle. If they must back up, they should opt for one of the two following options:

  • Have a spotter go behind the vehicle in a position where the driver can see him or her at all times. Then, the spotter should direct the driver as he or she backs up. If the driver loses sight of the spotter at any time, he or she should stop the vehicle immediately.
  • If using a spotter is impossible, perform a complete vehicle inspection (as previously described) to ensure that no people or objects are in the way of the vehicle’s intended path. Then, back up slowly.

Preventing Rollovers

If employees were to run off the road in an emergency vehicle, they must exercise specific precautions to avoid a rollover:

  • Remove their foot from the gas pedal and allow the vehicle to slow.
  • Apply the brake slowly, allow the vehicle to slow naturally and downshift to bring it to a complete stop.
  • Use soft shoulder conditions to their advantage to maintain control.
  • Once they have successfully stopped the vehicle, they should slowly steer it back on the road in a lower gear and/or light acceleration.

Loading the Hose

Hose loading can be a dangerous task, especially if employees are unsure of where other personnel are located or not using sound judgment. Here are some recommendations to share with employees for safe hose loading:

  • Have a spotter stand in a position with an unobstructed view of the hose loading and within earshot of the person loading the hose.
  • Remove all non-emergency traffic from the area before loading the hose.
  • Drive the fire truck in a forward direction only and at no more than eight km/h.
  • Avoid standing in the hose bed while the vehicle is moving.

Assisting others is part of an employee’s job. If he or she is being unsafe, he or she cannot successfully help those who are in need.

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Defensive Driving

Considering the value of the cargo that drivers transport in their trailers, and their most precious cargo – themselves, driving defensively is arguably one of their most important responsibilities. Their lives – and the lives of those that find themselves near them on the highway – depends on it. Let’s take a look at the meaning of driving defensively and discuss techniques for staying safe.

What is defensive driving?

Defensive drivers anticipate dangerous situations by taking into account the actions of others and the presence of adverse driving conditions. Simply stated, in order to drive defensively, drivers should be ready for hazards on the road.

What does defensive driving require?

Defensive driving requires the knowledge and strict observance of all traffic rules and regulations applicable to the area in which the vehicle is being operated. A successful defensive driver will never be involved in a preventable accident. The following recommendations can be helpful in learning to drive with a defensive mentality. Share them with your drivers. Defensive driving requires:

  • A constant alertness for the illegal acts and driving errors of other drivers, and a willingness to make timely adjustments in your own driving so that these actions will not cause you to get into an accident.
  • An understanding and anticipation of any adjustments you may need to make for hazards presented by abnormal, unusual or changing conditions. Such conditions include the mechanical functioning of your vehicle, type of road surface, weather, light, amount of traffic, and your physical condition and state of mind.
  • A thorough knowledge of the rules of right of way and a willingness to yield the right of way to another driver whenever necessary to avoid an accident.
  • An attitude of confidence that you can drive without ever having a preventable accident.

Three Basic Steps to Driving Defensively

Strive to follow these three basic steps:

  1. See the hazard. When driving, think about what is going to happen or what may happen as far ahead of encountering a situation as possible.
  2. Understand the defence. Specific situations require specific ways of reacting. Become familiar with the unusual conditions that you may face and learn how to handle them.
  3. Act in time. Once you've noted a hazard and understand the defence against it, act as soon as possible! Never take a “wait and see what happens” attitude when driving.

By remembering these three steps and keeping good driving techniques in mind, drivers will learn to tailor their own driving behaviour to the unexpected actions of other drivers and pedestrians.

They’ll also be ready to adapt to the unpredictable and ever-changing factors of light, weather, road and traffic conditions, the mechanical conditions of their vehicles and their physical ability to concentrate and drive. 

By remembering these three steps and keeping good driving techniques in mind, drivers will learn to tailor their own driving behaviour to the unexpected actions of other drivers.

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Pre-trip Vehicle Safety Inspection

When driving a personal vehicle for everyday use, most drivers simply jump in and go. However, for commercial motor vehicles used to transporting cargo or passengers, extra consideration should be taken to ensure that they are safe and ready for the road.

Pre-trip vehicle inspections can catch potential problems before they have a chance to endanger drivers’ safety and that of others on the road. Drivers need to take care of problems right away to prevent future costs and delays.

Driving Compartment

Drivers should start their inspection in the driving compartment. They should:

  • Turn on the engine.
  • Check that all gauges and warning lights are functioning properly upon start-up.
  • Turn steering wheel back and forth, making sure there is not any excessive play.
  • Check that the horn is working and audible.
  • Check that windshield wipers are in good working condition.

Outside Check

Drivers should start their external check at the front of the vehicle and work their way to the back. Then, they should circle around to the opposite side and make their way back to the front.


Not only can a missing signal light lead to an accident, a burned-out bulb could lead to a costly ticket. Drivers should make sure all headlights, clearance lights, taillights, brake lights, side marker lights, licence plate lights, reflectors and turn signals are clean and operational.


Tire failure can be very dangerous and can be time consuming to repair. Drivers should:

  • Check that all lug nuts are securely fastened and that tires are at the proper pressure.
  • Check tread depth. Pay special attention to any balding or irregular wear.
  • Make sure a spare is available and that it is properly secured for travel.


For vehicles transporting cargo, it is extremely important that all loads are secured properly before departing. Drivers should:

  • Whether cargo is exposed or in a covered trailer, make sure that it cannot shift during transportation.
  • For covered trailers, make sure all compartment doors are closed and locked as required.
  • Check all restraining and tie-down straps for damage that could cause them to fail. Replace if necessary.
  • If transporting hazardous materials, make sure all placards and other warning materials are properly displayed.


If the vehicle is pulling a trailer, drivers should:

  • Ensure all hoses and lines running from the vehicle to the trailer are properly attached.
  • Check all couplings, including fifth wheels, tow bars and all safety locking devices.  

Performing a pre-trip safety inspection only takes a few minutes of a driver’s time and can save him or her a number of headaches.

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Avoiding the Most Common Transportation Claims

When you get into an accident with your car, the cost of damage is always high. But when an accident involves a tractor-trailer with 15,000 kilograms (33,069 pounds) of expensive cargo, the combined cost of repairs and claims can put you out of business. To prepare your drivers for taking on the dangers of the road, it is important to understand the most common transportation claims and how to help your drivers avoid them.

Sideswipe Collision

This type of collision occurs more frequently than any other type. One reason for sideswipe incidents is poorly adjusted mirrors. Upgrading to fender-mounted mirrors allows for a wider view of the neighbouring lanes. Drivers can even take advantage of systems that sound an alarm if a potential hazard has come into a driver’s blind spot.

Vehicle Rollover

The main cause of vehicle rollovers is distracted or inattentive driving. When drivers are tired and begin to drift to the side of the road, they often try to overcorrect themselves to get back onto the road quickly, and control of the vehicle is lost in the process. Speed is also sometimes a factor, especially on tightly winding on- or off-ramps. To avoid rollovers, make sure your drivers are following the regulations for hours of service and getting the rest they need to drive alertly and safely. You can also install electronic stability control systems in your vehicles to monitor how they are moving. If the system feels the vehicle is losing control, it will automatically take over and brake for the driver.

Rear-ending Other Vehicles

Heavier vehicles need more time to stop than smaller vehicles, and when a substantial load is in the back of a trailer, the larger vehicle needs even more space. The best protection from rear-end collisions is defensive driving. Make sure your drivers are properly trained on how to drive reactively. You can also install technology that keeps track of vehicle acceleration and deceleration. This will help you identify which drivers are prone to hard-braking when out on the road.

Your Vehicles are Rear-ended

These accidents occur when drivers behind the truck are tailgating. To remedy this, drivers can flip on the flashing hazard lights when they notice a vehicle is following too closely. This will alert the other driver that the truck will continue to move at a slower speed, and that the driver should pass you when he or she gets a chance.

Drivers can also make the vehicle more visible to inattentive drivers who may be approaching too quickly by putting extra reflective tape on the truck’s back end, adding more trailer lights and using other reflective signage.


Right Turn Collision

Drivers of tractor-trailers know that they need extra room to swing left before turning right, but others on the road may not know this. If a truck driver swings too far to the left, an aggressive driver may try to pull up into the small space on the right side of the truck. To prevent this, make sure your drivers are trained on making tight right turns with their larger vehicles. Encourage frequent mirror adjustments so that hazards, such as small cars on the right side of the vehicle, are seen before a collision occurs.

Left Turn Collision

Left turn collisions usually occur when a driver is in a rush to get the entire vehicle through an intersection before a light turns red, or before an oncoming car passes by. Educate your drivers on how to manage their time wisely so they never feel the need to rush from stop to stop, and encourage them to approach the intersection with caution when the light is stale green or yellow. Trying to gain an extra few minutes by making it through an intersection when space or time is limited could be extremely costly for your company.

Animal/Vehicle Collision

Thousands of animal/vehicle collisions occur every year. Due to the limited stopping ability of large, heavy trucks and the unpredictability of wildlife, these accidents can be difficult to prevent. One way to mitigate the risk is to install a reinforced bumper on the truck to minimize the damage the animal causes to the vehicle. It’s also important that drivers follow hours-of-service laws so that they can stay alert while driving at night.

Backing-up Incident

Backing up a 16.2-metre (53-foot) trailer is no easy feat. Doing so in tight spaces with hard-to-see obstacles can make it even more difficult. To make it easier for drivers to back up in your fleet yard, place reflective tape or lights on large objects that could pose a hazard to drivers. Remind drivers to closely observe and take a mental picture of their surroundings at other locations so that the next time they stop at that location, they are aware of potential dangers they noticed last time.

The cost of backing-up accidents can increase dramatically when another vehicle is involved. Require drivers to have a spotter or get out of the truck completely to check for potential risks before beginning the backing-up process.

Collision While Your Vehicle is Parked

Many incidents where vehicles hit, sideswipe or back up into a tractor-trailer happen because they were parked too close to a busy area in the parking lot. Encourage your drivers to park far away from busier areas in the lot to protect themselves from being hit.

Ruined Freight

A reefer that malfunctions can turn into a huge claim for your company. Avoiding this problem begins with regularly maintaining the trailer. When out on the road, drivers should check the load often for signs of spoiling. Consider installing technology that allows someone at your office to check the temperature of the reefer trucks via satellite.

When your drivers get into accidents, the combined cost of repairs and claims can put you out of business.

In the trucking business, preventing the types of accidents described above can save you a lot of time, stress and money. Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers  has additional resources on how to avoid these kinds of claims and how to react if they occur. Contact us today.

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Auto Lift Safety

No matter how many years of experience employees have working in the shop, auto lifts always present a chance for injury. Given the size and weight of the average vehicle, improper lift usage can have disastrous consequences. Using lifts safely not only reduces employees’ chance for injury but also helps protect those working around them.

Before Using

Responsible lift operation begins before a vehicle ever leaves the garage floor. Each day before use, employees should:

  • Inspect the lift for any problems. Watch for any worn out pieces that may need to be replaced or other damage that may compromise the lift’s integrity.
  • Check any cables or chains that bear weight for damage or corrosion.
  • Check oil and pressure levels if the lift is hydraulic.
  • If the lift fails any part of a pre-use test, notify a supervisor and remove the lift from service by marking it with the proper signage.
  • Never try to fix or alter a lift by themselves. Proper lift maintenance requires a trained and authorized professional.

Trial and error can be fatal. Employees should never use a lift if they have not been trained how to do so.

Operating Precautions

From the time the tires leave the ground until the time they return, there is always a certain amount of risk present. While the vehicle is on the lift, employees should remember to:

  • Make sure the vehicle is properly balanced on the lift. Raise the vehicle just off the ground and gently rock it to ensure stability.
  • Make sure that tires are properly chocked to prevent movement when using a drive-on lift. Always use the chocks supplied or recommended by the manufacturer. Makeshift devices are not reliable substitutes.
  • Never attempt to raise a vehicle that is over the weight capacity of a lift.
  • Never raise a vehicle with a person in it.
  • Engage the lift’s load locking devices before starting work. Do not use lifts that have no way of securing the load while raised.
  • Never override the safety features of the lift.
  • Use additional supports on the front and back of the vehicle when removing or installing heavy components such as transmissions.
  • Wear appropriate protective equipment such as a cap or hard hat, steel-toed boots, safety glasses and ear protection while working under a vehicle.
  • Never try to stabilize a falling vehicle. Clear the area immediately.
  • Make sure the area under the lift is clear of people, tools and other materials before lowering the vehicle.

Even if employees have years of experience under their belt, auto lifts always present a certain element of risk that they need to prepare for.

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Safety Tips for Dump Truck Drivers

Though trucking in general can be a dangerous business, dump truck drivers have even more exposure to hazards because of the nature of their vehicles. Safety should be one of drivers’ biggest concerns. Share with drivers the following dos and don’ts when it comes to working safely:

  • Do make sure the ground is stable before raising the truck bed. The truck becomes less stable as the bed rises, and the greater the bed’s length, the greater the chances of it tipping over, especially if the ground is not level. Unload on compacted soil or gravel when possible.
  • Do make sure the load’s centre of gravity stays between the frame rails of the bed as it rises. Even low tire pressure on one side or small ground depressions can throw off this balance. Learning to evenly distribute the load throughout the bed is a good way to mitigate this hazard.
  • Do ensure that the truck bed always has a liner to ensure the even, continuous flow of materials. This protects against an unbalanced load and is especially important when dealing with wet or frozen material that may stick to the bed.
  • Do make sure the tractor and trailer are in as straight a line as possible. Jack-knifed alignments can cause unsafe situations for the truck and surrounding workers if the trailer tips.
  • Do keep up with daily maintenance of the truck. Checking tire pressure, inspecting the suspension systems/hydraulic lift cylinders and regularly lubricating pins and pushings will ensure smooth operation, as well as the safety of you and your co-workers.
  • Do become trained in how to use hand signals or warning signs for two-person unloading operations.
  • Do not overload the dump bed. This is an unsafe practice and can cause problems in unloading, especially if the material flows poorly out of the bed.
  • Do not assume that a remote control device controlling the dump bed means it is OK to take safety risks. Drivers should still follow all safety guidelines even if a remote control makes it easier to manoeuvre the truck bed.
  • Do not allow any vehicles or people in the area when unloading the truck. Clear an area if necessary to ensure the conditions are proper for dumping the bed.
  • Do not drive with the bed raised. It is important to understand the dangers of this activity. For example, you could run into an overhead power line, which holds the possibility of electrocution.
  • Do not work between the bed and the frame without blocking the dump bed. Fatalities have occurred when the bed unexpectedly lowers onto an unsuspecting person below.

Proper loading, dumping and maintenance are key to hazard control.

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How to ensure the safety of a refrigerated load

Reefer trucks are essential for delivering temperature-sensitive products safely, and refrigerated products no longer include only food. Properly maintaining a reefer unit is the key to delivering an undamaged product, whether it is perishable food, sensitive electronic equipment or medical supplies.

Carrying refrigerated cargo can be especially dangerous because if the trailer’s temperature gets too high or dips too low, entire loads of product could be ruined, or worse, could make people sick. Bacteria can grow on perishable items if the temperature gets above 7.2° C (44.96° F). 

Safety Precautions

Use these tips to make sure your cargo reaches its destination safely and efficiently.

  • Use a data logger to track the temperature of the refrigerated trailer and ensure its accuracy during transit.
  • Check to make sure air channels in back of the reefer unit’s fan are not blocked. If the fan cannot discharge enough air, the load can easily get too warm.
  • Do not pack the load too high in the truck. Circulation from the air-delivery chute could become blocked, which means air will not be distributed properly toward the rear of the trailer.
  • In your pre-trip inspection, check that the truck body does not contain any dents, which could mean a break in insulation. Also inspect door seals for leaks.
  • Always have a service manual available while on the road. Any trouble with the reefer unit could not only be detrimental to the load, but to your safety and the safety of other drivers around you. Consult the manual if you find yourself questioning the truck’s functionality.



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Checklist Daily Vehicle Inspection


Inspector Name:      




Vehicle Number:      





Item to be Checked










Turn Signals



Brake Lights






Tires and Rims






Radiator & Hoses



Exhaust System






Fuel System



Oil/Water Leaks



Water Level






Instruments and Gauges











Windows and Windshield



Windshield Wipers and Washer









Brake System



Seat Belts












Safety Equipment



Accident Kit







Body Damage (Describe):















Inspector Signature: ____________________________________________________________________________

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