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NDP/truckers continue to raise concern about road safety

By Randy Thoms Nov 23, 2023 | 4:05 PM

Courtesy Ontario Provincial Police - Northwest Region/Facebook, January 2023

Frustration is being expressed by the provincial NDP and truckers over the lack of a response from the Ministry of Transportation regarding their concerns about trucking and road safety.

Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Lise Vaugeois spoke to ministry officials in the spring about issues such as the lack of inspectors, rest stops and training.

Vaugeois says she was promised a response within three to six weeks.

But six months later, she has yet to hear from the ministry.

“What we are seeing is that there is no enforcement. There are tremendous problems that drivers are experiencing. And when drivers experience those problems and don’t have the training that they need, everybody who uses the highway is at risk,” says Vaugeois.

A truckers group also asked the Minister of Transportation to consider a ride-a-long during a planned visit to northwestern Ontario but has not received a response to the request, either.

Travis McDougall, one of the founders of the group Truckers for Safer Highways, says he recently travelled across Ontario to find no inspection station open until he reached Manitoba.

“Why are they not operating? These scale inspection stations can ensure when a truck goes by that if they have their lights that aren’t working properly, if they’re overweight. When a truck is overweight, many people don’t understand, but their braking systems cannot sustain the extra weight,” says McDougall.

There are plans to open a 24-hour inspection station on Highway 11-17 east of Thunder Bay, but there is concern whether the ministry can adequate staff it.

McDougall says his group has lobbied the government for three years in a call for more inspectors on the road and others to review driver training and the organizations delivering programs.

He says many new drivers are not properly trained and that makes it unsafe for all highway users.

“Many workforces should have the right, all workforces, for that matter, should have the right to work in safe environments. And right now, truck drivers do not have a safe work environment. Regular daily road users do not have safe roads to travel.”