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Ontario finds three factors in Nipigon Bridge malfunction
First was the design of the bridge's shoe plate and its flexibility;
second — a lack of rotation in the constructed bearing; and third was
improperly tightened bolts attaching the girder to the shoe plate.
NIPIGON, ON — New information released by the Ontario government
shows that three factors played a combined role in the malfunction of
the cable-stayed Nipigon Bridge on Jan. 10, which resulted in Canada’s
only cross-country route being shut down to traffic.
While initially thought to be a cold weather failure that caused a
portion of the bridge to lift, engineering reports have now found three
factors that led to some 1,300 trucks a day having to detour for several
weeks. First was the design of the bridge's shoe plate and its
flexibility; second — a lack of rotation in the constructed bearing; and
third was improperly tightened bolts attaching the girder to the shoe
“When combined, these three factors produced the malfunction,” read a
joint statement Thursday from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation
and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.
Cold weather and wind were not found to have contributed to the unexpected lifting of the bridge.
Following the initial closure, two firms were contracted to test the bolts from the bridge. The testing confirmed that the bolts broke due to overloading and not due to any flaw in the bolts themselves.
The joint statement indicated that a new permanent retrofit design has been developed to address the issues identified by the engineering reviews.
Preliminary estimates for the initial repair work and the final repair to be implemented are between $8 and $12 million.
Lastly, the Ontario government said it intends to conduct a formal
route planning study and Environmental Assessment during fall 2016 for
an emergency detour route. The province expects it will take
approximately 18 months to complete.
Crash on Highway 401 in Puslinch sends 7 to hospital
Toronto-bound traffic from Waterloo Region snarled for hours as police investigate wreckage
An overnight crash between a car and a produce truck in
the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 at Highway 6 North in Puslinch
Township sent seven people to hospital and caused extensive delays for
Toronto-bound commuters. (Sgt Kerry Schmidt/Ontario Provincial Police)
A car driver is in critical condition and six other people were
hurt in an overnight crash in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 in
Puslinch Township that snarled the morning commute for hours.
The OPP said the collision happened at 3 a.m. Thursday, when a car
ran into the back of a produce truck in the middle lane of eastbound
lanes of Highway 401 at Highway 6 North.
"One of the passengers, a female, was actually ejected from the
vehicle. We'll be looking into whether or not she was wearing a seatbelt
at all," OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt said Thursday. She is hospitalized
in serious condition, police told CBC News.
Emergency crews had to slice off the doors and roof of the wrecked
car in order to free the four other passengers who had become trapped
inside the twisted remains of the vehicle.
Schmidt said investigators believe speed was a factor in the crash,
but they'll also be looking at whether alcohol or distraction played a
role as well.
What's left of a car that collided with a
produce truck in the Toronto-bound lanes of Highway 401 on Thursday
morning at Highway 6 North in Puslinch Township. The collision sent
seven people to hospital and snarled traffic for hours. (Ontario
"Obviously driving into the back of a truck on the highway,
distraction or inattention may have been a consideration as well," he
Police closed the two right lanes of the eastbound Highway 401 for a
total of seven hours, setting off a chain of delays on the morning
At 9 a.m., the backup in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 stretched
15 kilometres, from Highway 6 North Puslinch Township to Hespeler Road
in Cambridge, which left thousands of frustrated commuters scrambling to
find alternate routes or stewing in their cars for hours.
Emergency workers had to cut into the twisted
metal of this car in order to free people from the wreck. (Ontario
AYR Motor Express sues Ottawa over foreign worker ban
Woodstock-based trucking company says it was unfairly banned from using foreign workers
AYR Motor Express said it couldn't find workers to drive
its full fleet of trucks after the federal government banned the
Woodstock company from the temporary foreign worker program. (CBC)
AYR Motor Express is suing the federal government for banning
the Woodstock-based trucking company from the temporary foreign worker
program over what it considers a grossly unfair decision that has cost
the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Minister of Employment and Workforce Development, Maryann Mihychuk,
barred the company in July from using temporary foreign workers to fill
She alleged AYR Motor Express did not pay transportation costs for
foreign workers and deducted money from workers' wages without written
In a letter to the company on July 21, Mihychuk wrote "I have
concluded that you gave the department false, misleading or inaccurate
information," when requesting to employ more foreign workers.
AYR Motor Express had been using the program, which helps companies
fill short-term labour gaps with foreign nationals, for trucking
vacancies since 1999.
Chronic worker shortage
The company claims it provided the government with all necessary
documents to show it wasn't breaking the rules after the department
started its investigation in November 2014.
In its lawsuit filed with the Court of Queens Bench on Sept. 12, AYR
Motor Express said the government didn't tell the trucking company why
it was initially being investigated.
AYR Motor Express alleges it essentially hasn't been able to employ
new temporary foreign workers since the investigation started.
The company said the government's poor handling of the situation has
eroded AYR Motor Express's reputation and the lack of temporary foreign
workers has led to a chronic worker shortage.
The Employment department's investigation into the company started
after reforms to the program by then employment minister Jason Kenney,
following media reports of widespread abuse to the program from
companies across the country.
The changes included barring employers from hiring low-wage temporary
foreign workers in areas the unemployment rate was above six per cent.
'Stand by my decision'
In a statement to CBC News, Mihychuk defends the ban on AYR Motor Express.
"I took a decision based on facts and evidence, and I stand by my decision," said Mihychuk.
"I take the integrity of the temporary foreign worker program very seriously."
It's not the first time AYR Motor Express has resorted to the courts
to fight the federal government over the temporary foreign worker
In federal court, the company filed for a judicial review in April
2015 after the Employment and Workforce Development Department revoked
three of its labour market assessments to employ temporary foreign
workers and listed AYR Motor Express on its web site as one of the
companies that had broken the rules.
The Woodstock company was taken off the web site in Oct. 2015, but
the judicial review was eventually dismissed several months later in
About 80 per cent of trucking companies in Atlantic Canada use the
temporary foreign worker program to fill labour shortages, according to
the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association.
UPS begins testing drone deliveries in remote areas
[Courtesy of UPS]
ATLANTA, GA — UPS has begun testing the use of drones to make commercial deliveries of packages to remote or difficult-to-access locations.
Delivery testing began on Thursday
when the companies staged a mock delivery of urgently needed medicine
from Beverly, Mass. to Children’s Island, which is about three miles off
the Atlantic coast. In the mock scenario, the drone successfully
carried an asthma inhaler to a child at a camp on the island, which is
not reachable by automobile.
The international delivery service is now working with with drone manufacturer CyPhy Works.
“Our focus is on real-world applications that benefit our customers,”
said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president of global engineering and
sustainability. “We think drones offer a great solution to deliver to
hard-to-reach locations in urgent situations where other modes of
transportation are not readily available.”
Last month, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), issued
new rules that expanded the uses of drones in commercial applications.
The CyPhy drone used in Thursday’s test is the Persistent Aerial
Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) system. The battery-powered
drone flies itself, so very little user training is required. It is
extremely durable, has night vision and features secure communications
that cannot be intercepted or disrupted.
Transwestern Truck Centres to hold open house in Calgary
CALGARY, Alta. – Transwestern Truck Centres will hold a pair of
open houses Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 to showcase what the Mack Trucks parts
dealership has to offer.
Selling and finding parts for light-, medium- and heavy-duty Mack
trucks, Transwestern helps truck owners get what they need to service
their vehicle on their own.
Their staff aim to help Mack truck owners find the right component
for the work that needs to be done on their vehicle and take away the
‘headache’ of ordering the wrong part and get it right the first time.
The open house will take place at 5555 80th Ave. S.E. in Calgary,
Alta., and those who are looking to buy any stock used truck or select
stock new truck during the event will save $5,000 on their purchase.
Saskatchewan rolling out enhanced drivers' licences
[Courtesy of SGI]
SK — Enhanced drivers’ licences using facial recognition points are
finally rolling out in the province of Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan Government Insurance, or SGI, began the transition to
the enhanced licences on Aug. 24, joining early adopters of the
technology in provinces like Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Manitoba.
The licences are most notable for their holographic headshot, but
includes three new layers of advanced security features. These features
help to prevent identity theft, the creation and distribution of fake ID
cards, and stop people obtaining more than one licence.
Only drivers getting a new licence for the first time, or renewing an
expired licence will get a new card initially. SGI expects it will take
five years to fully roll out the new high-tech cards.
Home Hardware's Winfield is grand champ at driving nationals
BRANTFORD, ON — Less than two months after placing first in the
single tandem division of the Ontario finals, and despite Saturday's
heavy rain, Home Hardware driver Bryon Winfield has earned the title of
Grand Champion at the National Truck Driving Championship.
Winfield previously won the single-tandem class at the Ontario level in 2014, 2012 and 2008.
Not only did Home Hardware produce the 2016 Grand Champion, the
drivers of the famed yellow trucks also combined to win the 2016 team
"I could not be more proud of our professional drivers," said Dennis
Shantz, director of Fleet Services for Home Hardware Stores Limited,
following the team’s Ontario victory. "Great results do not happen by
accident. Our drivers spend numerous hours practicing in the yard during
the week and on weekends leading up to the competition.”
[Courtesy: Home Hardware]
Drivers from provinces across Canada competed in the event at the
municipal airfield in Brantford, Ontario, which hosted drivers in the
nationals for the first time ever.
Rookie of the year at the championship went to Alberta's Robert Smith.
In 2017, the national championship is set to be held in Manitoba.
AL – Linda Coffee has been named president of Trucker Buddy
International, to replace the retiring KC Brau, while three new members
have also been added to the association’s board of directors.
The group establishes teacher-supervised pen pal relationships between drivers and students from kindergarten to Grade 8.
Henry Albert, Scott Grenerth and Andrew Mitrisin replace Elisabeth
Barna, KC Brau, Mark Reddig and Steve Sichterman on the board, as their
eight-year terms expire. Albert is an owner-operator, while Grenerth is
director of regulatory affairs for OOIDA, and Mitrisin worked at
Brand Williamson has been elected vice president and Kate Miller is treasurer.
“We want to thank KC, Mark, Elisabeth and Steve for eight tremendous
years of service to Trucker Buddy,” said Randy Schwartzenburg, executive
director. “KC was such a tremendous president, working tirelessly
behind the scenes promoting Trucker Buddy and conducting Trucker Buddy
Trucker Buddy International has since 1992 connected more than a
million school children to truck drivers. The work is funded entirely by
sponsorships and donations.
It is fair to say that attracting youth to the trucking industry has
been a long-standing problem. How do we make it sexy? How do we
communicate what is good about the trucking industry? Or more
importantly, how do we dispel any misconceptions that might exist? It is
a challenge for everyone in the industry, and it’s no different for
Unfortunately, everyone can recognize it’s a challenge, however we all
struggle with what the next steps to resolving it should be.
With the re-launch of our Young Leaders Group (YLG), the PMTC is
taking a step in that direction. The YLG’s mandate is to assist in the
development of young leaders in the industry. It seeks to provide
opportunities for education, networking, business development and
personal growth for those seen as the next wave of leadership in
trucking. By extension, it will use media and tactics targeted at youth.
As the network grows, so will the level of attention for youth both
already in the industry, and those who we hope to attract to come into
it. The long-term goal is to help create an environment that brings to
the forefront what is great about the trucking industry.
The key for the YLG is to keep its presence in the news and on social
media, and to target not only those already in the industry, but to get
their messages out to those outside of the industry who we need to
attract into it. A steady trickle of information and events to keep them
in the forefront of peoples’ minds, through the use of different
channels of social media, as well as traditional media. Who better to
know how to get the message out to the youth, but the youth itself? The
YLG already has multiple events and sessions planned.
The first of these is an information and brainstorming session at
Sleeman Brewery in Guelph. The event is for YLG members only, and is a
first in a series of events hosted by the YLG in the coming months.
After the session at Sleeman, the YLG is sponsoring a “Biz and
Breakfast” seminar. This event is being held in Milton, Ont. and will
cover topics such as fatigue management, sleep apnea and will also
present new research which shows correlations between driver-related
human errors and personality traits.
After this, the YLG is sponsoring a session on effective social media
on Oct. 20. The idea is to help all understand not only how to
effectively use social media, but to also understand some of the
pitfalls. If we can all become better marketers of the industry, it will
go a long way towards ensuring we attract more youth to it.
These are only the first three events planned. The YLG is looking to
target its demographic with fun networking and development opportunities
moving forward. The goal will be to create a sustainable model of both
attracting youth to the industry and helping them grow as well. Another
great benefit to being a YLG member is the access that is gained to the
PMTC Board of Directors, as young leaders are always invited as guests
to our board meetings and invited to attend our conference and seminars.
Let’s also remember the YLG Education Bursary, which awards two young
leaders with more than $1,500 in funding to complete courses that count
towards the PMTC Logistics Management Graduate Program.
Mike Colwell, the PMTC’s new Young Leaders Group chairman, and his
executive team of Matt Richardson, Elias Demangos and Mathew Mares, have
been working hard over the last year and have done a tremendous job
setting forth the vision and mission of the group.
I have complete faith that this group is going to do an amazing job
of attracting youth to our industry, and getting the youth that is
already in our industry more involved.
If you are interested in learning more about the PMTC Young Leaders
Group, or any of the seminars or programs mentioned above, contact our
office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 905-827-0587.
People in Regina must now register their vehicles to use the snow storage site. (Dean Gutheil/CBC)
Using the snow dump in Regina will cost you this winter.
Starting Nov. 1, the city is charging a user fee at the facility on the southwest corner of Fleet Street and MacDonald Street.
All trucks bringing snow to the snow storage site will need to pay
$10 for a special radio tag to monitor their activity. According to the
city, the tag will be installed on the vehicle's windshield and "users
will then be charged on a cost-per-load basis, depending on the category
of their truck."
On the city's website, a quarter-ton or half-ton vehicle will be charged $5 per load. Semi-trucks will be charged $35 per load.
The change was made after the city heard feedback during public consultations last year.
People can start registering their vehicles today. The city says
people will not be able to register to make payments on-site at the snow
The beige sludge in the pan is a little chunkier than your average tahini.
"This is John's special recipe I've never made before, but I hear
tahini has garbanzo beans and sesame seeds, uh, lemon," said the
68-year-old. "I made it yesterday and I didn't eat it. I had something
else to eat yesterday."
Burn's home turns heads in the neighbourhood around Grandview Park.
John Burn leans on his shingle-sided truck house. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
It's a stylish shingle-sided shack built onto the back of a classic
green 1946 International two-ton truck. The vehicle, with Saskatchewan
licence plates, is parked on the street next to the park.
"I would think that about 90 or 95 per cent of the people who pass by
like to see the truck in the neighbourhood; it adds a little
something," he said.
The classic truck attracts attention, but
John Burn said if he were to make a new truck-house, he would use a
modern truck and chassis as his foundation. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
"There are a few people — some of my neighbours object to noise and
sometimes there's gatherings of people around near the truck, and we can
get a little rowdy."
Burn built the truck-house about 15 years ago in Saskatoon. There's a
little sketch of a strikingly similar vehicle he claims to have drawn
30 years earlier when he was in jail on a drunk driving charge.
Burn says he's been to jail a few times — he was once charged with
uttering a death threat. The mellow retiree chalks up all of his run-ins
with the law to his alcoholism, but he says he's been sober for a
John Burn sits in the driver's seat of his 1946 International truck. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Some of his art pasted to the truck-house's ceiling was inspired by
acid trips, though he says he mostly put LSD. behind him in the 1980s.
Burn was born in Vancouver and grew up in the neighbourhood around
Gladstone Secondary School. He had planned to become a doctor but
couldn't get into medical school.
"I kept getting thwarted, so eventually found myself making
artificial arms and legs, which suited my talents pretty well," said
Burn. "I was a prosthetist, a fitter."
John Burn's artwork covers the ceiling of his shack-on-wheels. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
He settled in Saskatoon. He recently separated from his wife and says
he isn't especially close with his son, 18, and daughter, 21.
"Long term frustration isn't good for anybody. That's the simplest
terms, plus I'm also an alcoholic, so I never really did learn how to
associate with people in a good way ... communications skills," he said.
"But I'm not the only dysfunctional person out there."
"That's the first good starter this thing has had," Burn says of the 70-year-old truck. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Despite his challenges, Burn has many skills. He's a talented craftsman and a constant tinkerer.
His charming truck-house is well built and features all sorts of
amenities he's put together — there's an electric pump for the running
water, a rudimentary recording studio and the entire back wall of the
shack is designed to lower by cables at the flip of a switch.
Though bearing a beat-up guitar case, the
back wall of the shack is designed to lower down and turn into a stage
for performing music at the flip of a switch. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Burn is a musician. At 68, he's trying to complete his first album, a
collection of country-folk songs he's written over the course of his
"It's called a Season for Dreaming, and this is definitely a season
for dreaming, another one of many I've taken in my career," said Burn,
who explains the back of his house lowers, so he can use it as a stage
to perform music on the road.
"If I ever happen to find a group of musicians I can play with, maybe we'll go on the road and sell some CDs and have fun."
The house features a sound board and PA
system, along with Burn's other musical instruments and recording
equipment. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
Slow on the road
Burn said the vintage truck-house is roadworthy. He's installed a new starter and smiles when the engine smoothly turns over.
"That's the first good starter this thing has had," he said of the 70-year-old truck.
"Oh, this is a great little truck, and I've driven it back and forth
[to Saskatoon] about three times, so far, and well it's really slow. I'm
sure I've really annoyed a lot of people," said Burn. "I try to pull
over when I'm holding up people on a hill because it's not the most
John Burn keeps his 1946 International two-ton truck in great shape. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
"So far, so good. I'm really grateful that I'm still on the road. Let's just say that."
Burn is living off an inheritance and a pension but balks at the the
idea of affording rent in Vancouver's hyper-charged housing market.
"A person can live incredibly cheap in one of these things," he said.
"I don't think the whole under-housed population of Vancouver could
live in one of these. It would clog up the street."
"I have a wood stove here. It’s way too big
for this house, but it’s good for the morning," said John Burn of his
wood stove. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
"You see a lot of vans and stuff around. But you don't have a
mortgage payment, and there are facilities in the community. You can
have a shower. You can go to a gym, then you can afford to spend your
money on yoga and weed if you want to."
Burn dreams of getting his album polished up and finding a cheap rural property to permanently park his shack on.
The bed is no wider than two feet and as hard as a board, but John Burn finds it comfortable. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)
He's comfortable in his cozy truck-house with its toasty wood stove,
and he doesn't seem to mind the narrow, hard bed he's built. But Burn
does lament the lack of a bathroom.
"I feel a lot like a bowerbird," he said.
"It's a little bird that creates this little fantasy home, and he
collects little rocks and pebbles and he decorates it ... Then these
females come along, and she snoops and snoops. The bowerbirds around
here like toilets and showers, so if you're going be effective in
attracting anyone, then you've got to have toilets and showers."
Ontario Will Reissue Moratoriums on Axle Weight Penalties
Ontario, Canada’s most populous province announced on Sept. 24 that it will reissue moratoriums on axle weight penalties and only enforce gross vehicle weight violations while a final agreement on those in the excavation/aggregate hauling sector is being negotiated.
Every Canadian province restricts different truck configurations to a certain gross vehicle weight limit and also requires the weight to be distributed in a specific manner across the vehicle configuration to mitigate the impact on road infrastructure.
“The Ontario Trucking Association wants the province to implement an enforcement system that will hold all members in the supply chain accountable for the overloading of vehicles, including those loading the vehicles and those owning and operating them,” said Stephen Laskowski, president of the Ontario Trucking Association.
OTA claimed that Ontario has the most productive and safety-focused truck configuration laws in North America.
“The Province of Ontario must move quickly to ensure that all trucking companies and businesses that own or control the movement of dirt and gravel will have the capability to comply with Ontario weight laws,” Laskowski said. “Most carriers are compliant members of the business community and most shippers are committed to following the rules."
DC -- The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has
identified its latest vehicle recalls, some of which include commercial
Among them are selected:
2013 Peterbilt 367s made between April 18 and June 29, 2012 may
be labeled with the incorrect Gross Axle Weight Rating and Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating information. New labels will be replaced free of charge.
2014-2017 Freightliner M2 Business Class 108 SD, 114 SD, Cascadia,
Coronado, Western Star 4700, 4800 and 5700 XE trucks made between March
15, 2013 and July 29, 2016, and equipped with Conmet aluminum non-high
capacity hubs, may specify a front axle weight limit above the actual
hub capacity. That recall is to begin October 27.
2014-2015 Groupe Cambli beverage trailers manufactured between
January 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015, and equipped with selected
Bendix SR5 spring brake valves. The valves may be improperly machined.
Cambli will notify owners and Bendix dealers will make the repairs.
2013-2017 Freightliner Cascadias made between September 24, 2012 and
May 27, 2015, and equipped with Compressed Natural Gas engines. The
Power Distribution Modules mounted near the fuel tank might be exposed
to water and road contaminants, causing a potential short circuit.
Daimler dealers will relocate the modules free of charge.
2016-2017 Freightliner M2 Business Class and 114 SD trucks made
March 10, 2015 to July 11, 2016, may have brake caliper mounting bolts
that were incorrectly torqued. Dealers will inspect and tighten them as
2015-2016 Con-Gear Converter Dolly Trailers made March 31, 2014 to
August 6, 2015 have frames that may crack on the counterbalance leg weld
seam or the top plate. Dealers will inspect the dollies and add welds
and weld plugs on the inboard side of the counterbalance legs. If the
welding does not resolve the issue, the dolly frame will be replaced.
Owners of selected vehicles may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hotline at 1-888-327-4236, or visit www.safercar.gov for more information.
TORONTO, Ont. – Canadian ground transportation rates increased by just 0.15% in July, according to the latest Canadian General Freight Index.
The base rate was almost flat, up just 0.06% from June. Average fuel surcharges increased, comprising 12.44% of the base rate in July compared to 12.19% in June.
“Overall, total freight costs continued to be flat over the past few months. This is a similar pattern to the same period in the previous year, although overall costs are down by 7.7% from last July,” said Doug Payne, president and COO of Nulogx. “Year-over-year, domestic freight costs are above last year’s level, while the cross-border segments are below last year’s costs.”
New ONroute Service Centres website shows truck parking info
ON — Ontario’s ONroute Service Centres have a new mobile-responsive
website that shows the number of truck parking spots at each location,
and even allows drivers to sort locations by food brands.
The website offers a location finder map with directions to the 20
plus ONroute Service Centres, where drivers can find operating hours
with the nearest food, fuel, and amenity options.
“Whether on travel for business or leisure, ONroute.ca
provides an enhanced experience for travellers and guests at our
ONroute Service Centre locations and is the go-to website for travellers
along Ontario’s Highways 400 and 401,” said HMSHost president and CEO
Through the addition of a customer comment form to the website,
guests can also quickly and easily provide feedback on their recent
ONroute Service Centre experience. Site visitors can now translate and
view the website content in both English and French.
Lawyer suggests $10M liability if driving in "hellholes"
ON — Runaway jury verdicts over the last five years are hitting even
the safest motor carriers, warns a New England transportation lawyer.
Brian Del Gatto, co-chair of Wilson Elser’s transportation, cargo and
logistics practice, says that over the last five years he’s seen an
average of six verdicts per year in excess of $10 million. Of the 100
largest awards given in U.S. courts last year, 12 were against trucking
companies. In most of these cases, the plaintiff’s lawyer has nearly
everything to gain, and almost nothing to lose, Del Gatto told guests at
a customer appreciation day for Northbridge Insurance on Thursday.
Brian Del Gatto
“If he loses the case, he doesn’t pay anything at all,” Del Gatto explained.
These types of massive verdicts often occur in what Del Gatto calls
judicial “hotspots.” For instance, he says a jury’s monetary verdict
surrounding a trucking case could end up five times higher in a state
like Louisiana versus New Jersey, despite there being very similar facts
in the case. Detroit, Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and
Buffalo are some examples of cities with sky-high numbers surrounding
the findings of damages in a lawsuit, he says, noting that political
climate, economic climate and the impartiality of the jury all play
roles in a region’s lawsuits.
But it’s not always about the jury, noted Del Gatto, who said there
can be a whole range of factors that can go into making a jurisdiction a
so called “hotspot”, or “hellhole”, as these regions are sometime
called. Some judges can tend to make decisions based on expediency
instead of fairness. Meanwhile, some jurisdictions can be
plaintiff-friendly, or its laws are simply applied against defendants in
unbalanced ways, said Del Gatto.
The biggest piece of advice Del Gattos says he can give is to
lawyer-up immediately after a collision. If a carrier doesn't seek legal
help, they run the risk of all sorts of documentation becoming
discoverable to a plaintiff.
Another known judicial hotspot in Texas, Dimmit County, resulted in a
massive financial verdict against Heckmann Water Resources in early
2014. The jury awarded the verdict of $281 million to the family of
Carlos Aguilar, who was killed in May 2012, when the drive shaft broke
off the water company’s truck and struck Aguilar’s windshield, killing
him instantly. Some $100 million of the verdict was directed towards
In another hotpot, this time in Los Angeles County, Del Gatto
described how a jury came to a $178 million verdict in 2009. It was
contended by the plaintiff that a driver for Bhandal Bros. Trucking,
Rudolph Ortiz, had parked illegally on the shoulder of the highway.
Ortiz, 73, claimed to have had a disabling headache. Tragically, a
family’s SUV veered off the highway and slammed into the back of the
18-wheeler. The mother, father and one child died. Two children
In the Los Angeles County case, a new trial was granted in 2014,
citing inconsistent jury findings and a verdict contrary to law that was
given to punish the plaintiff. The case was later settled for an
All of this leads to the fact that carriers need to re-evaluate their
minimum liability insurance level if they’re transporting good through
judicial hotspots. Del Gatto’s advice? A minimum liability level of at
least $10 million.
“You can drive for less, but you can get caught,” said Del Gatto. “And when you get caught, it can bring down a company.”
Added Del Gatto: “You’ve got to spend money somewhere, other than dashcams.”
Jagroop Singh Bangli, a two-truck owner-operator, calls on the crowd to expand the protest.
OAKVILLE, ON – A longstanding dispute around allowable axle weights
has boiled to the surface, with dozens of aggregate haulers protesting
at Ontario Ministry of Transportation scales just west of Toronto.
The protesters began parking their equipment at 2 a.m. on September
20 in the facility adjacent to the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 near
Trafalgar Road in Oakville, Ontario. They were still on site late in the
afternoon, and pledged to return, potentially expanding the protest at
nearby quarries. Some had already been protesting around quarries in
Aberfoyle and Dundas, Ontario.
“We just want a solution,” said Jagroop Singh Bangli, a two-truck
owner-operator who was involved in organizing the fight, as he divided
his peers into teams for the next stage of the protest. “We don’t want
to take any more tickets.”
The issue can be traced to a harder line on axle weight tolerances
that began on September 1, after several years of soft enforcement and
education programs relating to the province’s Safe, Productive and
Infrastructure-Friendly (SPIF) rules for weights and dimensions.
“When we go to the pits and get loaded, we don’t know how much
they’re loading, how they are loading us,” says Manny Singh, a driver
based in Brampton, Ontario. While the quarry operators escape unscathed,
those who run the trucks face tickets, fines and unwanted points on
Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration (CVOR) records, he stressed.
Many of the troubles involve those who are repurposing used highway
tractors to haul gravel. Steer axles can’t take enough weight.
Mismatched fifth wheel heights won’t allow the loads to equalize, and
self-steering axles are often undersized. To compound matters, the
Ontario Ministry of Labor is called if drivers attempt to redistribute
the loads with shovels.
Ontario Ministry of Transportation enforcement teams have reportedly
been allowing those with axle weight violations to pull behind the scale
and try to equalize the loads by adjusting equipment or calling
The education programs included meetings at the Trafalgar scales in
2012 to show operators what they had to do to ensure trucks complied
with the latest rules. Posters were also attached to the fence at the
time to explain how maximum gross weights had to be distributed.
Ongoing meetings have yet to find common ground, with many of the
truck operators insisting that they should enjoy more leeway in axle
“It’s not realistic because we have no control over it,” Singh says
of the focus on axle weights. “We have control over gross weight. If we
The federal government has pledged to introduce legislation to
legalize the recreational use of marijuana (it’s already available by
permit for medical use) sometime in 2017.
This is a much more complicated issue than meets the eye and perhaps
more than the government bargained for. So, it’s not surprising, I
guess, that the cast of people in Ottawa looking into how to accomplish
legalization of pot is growing. There are at least three ministers
involved. Former Toronto police chief, Bill Blair, now parliamentary
assistant to the Minister of Justice, has been appointed to be the
government’s “point man” on the file. More recently, Anne McClellan, a
former cabinet minister in the Chretien and Martin governments, was
appointed to lead a nine-member task force to advise the federal
government on the forthcoming legislation. (CTA appeared before the task
force in August).
I am not going to debate whether or not legalization is the right
thing to do. That’s for society to decide and that horse, as they say,
is out of the barn. However, CTA can and should comment on and seek
answers to the implications legalization will have with respect to
impaired drivers and the rights and obligations of employers of – and
employees in – safety-sensitive occupations such as truck drivers, in
order that these issues receive due attention during the development of
If legalization proceeds as expected, the status of marijuana in our
society will change. It will retain characteristics similar to
prescription medication, used under a medical document, but will also
achieve a status similar to alcohol. And, like alcohol, the consumption
of marijuana has certain short-term effects that may decrease
concentration and reaction times. In short, the use of marijuana,
similar to the consumption of alcohol, is not conducive to the safe
operation of a motor vehicle.
The problem with marijuana, compared to alcohol, is that the current
state of the law would leave law enforcement agencies in the same
position they were in with alcohol prior to the introduction of the
breathalyzer in 1952 and the offence of “over .08” in 1969.
Section 253 of the Criminal Code makes it an offence to operate a
motor vehicle while ability is impaired by alcohol or a drug. So, law
enforcement officers will be able to charge drivers for driving while
impaired, even if the impairment is due to marijuana. Impairment will
have to be proven in each individual case based on observation. But, in
general, impairment from marijuana is less obvious and demonstrates less
traditional or consistent symptoms than impairment from alcohol.
Employers attempting to address the problem of marijuana impairment
in the workplace will be faced with the same problems as law
enforcement. Trucking companies are faced with two dangers posed by the
medical or legal use of marijuana: how to continue to oppose operation
of vehicles by their own drivers who are under the influence of
marijuana; and confronting the likelihood of increased danger on the
road, through the presence of an increased number of drivers operating
motor vehicles while impaired by marijuana.
The likelihood of increased prevalence of marijuana impairment should
be addressed in a two-pronged approach: a legislative amendment to
the Criminal Code, to include a “marijuana impairment offence” similar
to the “over .08” offence for alcohol; and an enhanced effort to
implement drug and alcohol testing in the workplace along with special
considerations for safety-sensitive positions. Clear rules of engagement
Regarding the legislative fix, it is imperative the federal
government codify a roadside testing protocol and THC cut-off level with
respect to impairment on the basis of marijuana consumption. This
legislation must be brought forward at the same time as legislation to
legalize marijuana. If marijuana assumes a similar status in society as
alcohol, it should be subject to a similar testing regime and programs
to encourage safety on the roads as exist for alcohol.
All Canadian trucking companies and truck drivers entering the US are
subject to drug and alcohol testing – post-accident, pre-employment and
random. No similar regulatory requirement exists in Canada. While over
time, the human rights folks have come to tolerate drug and alcohol
testing for companies and drivers who must comply with the US
regulations, the cost to employers created by the lack of clear rules in
Canada has been significant. It has also created a place (Canada-only
operations) for those with a drug or alcohol problem to go that is not
subject to the same screening as for transborder operations. Clear
testing rules for safety-sensitive positions in Canada need to be
developed and introduced.
Moreover, it has generally been accepted that while .08 blood alcohol
content (BAC) is the cut-off for the driving population, the cut-off
for employees, particularly in safety-sensitive positions, is .04 BAC.
It may well be that employers of safety-sensitive employees such as
commercial drivers will want to establish a THC cut-off that is lower
than the one established for the general population.
The federal government must work with industries that employ people
in safety-sensitive positions to define what that cut-off should be.
Trucking group helps bring rescue animals to new homes in Canada
Nearly 300 animals have been moved across Canada with the help of generous truck drivers
Margaret Foster, the founder of Furry Hobos and Hiway
Heroes, along with her Ambassador Dog, Pickles pose outside of Thunder
Bay, Ont. (Jeff Walters/CBC)
Rescue dogs and lost pets who need a ride home have a new group of allies in Canada: truck drivers.
A group based in Thunder Bay, Ont., will help coordinate rides for
animals who are heading from one part of the country to another.
Furry Hobos and Hiway Heroes is the creation of Margaret Foster. A
former truck driver, she took it upon herself to help coordinate rides
for those with four legs.
"It actually gives them something they feel good about. I mean, you
go up and down the road here, you see the accidents and everything else
that happens," said Foster.
She said nearly 300 dogs have been transported through the group to
their new homes, anywhere in Canada. She said some trucks in the United
States are also now part of her 'network', allowing for international
movement of the animals in need.
Truck driver Aimee and Sunny the dog, who was
reunited with his owners in Kenora, Ont., after being stolen and found
in London, Ont. (Facebook)
Foster said drivers are not compensated, but she asks for a donation of home baking, or a gift card for coffee.
Help from the community
Foster said many of the drivers have their own animals in their trucks, that they refer to as 'An Ambassador.'
The one ambassador cat of the group, named Turtle, recently got out
of a truck in Granby, QC. Foster said she's overwhelmed, as it seems the
whole community wants to find the cat.
She said the Ambassador animals are a key part of the program.
"The dogs are so relaxed, they introduce them before they come into the truck."
"They show them the bunk, like 'this is where we can lay and sleep'
and it just keeps them really really calm and collected. And, they enjoy
As for continuing to help ferry rescue animals, or those who are lost
and found to their proper homes, Foster said most drivers can't get
enough of it.
"[One driver], he gets a hold of me all the time and says, 'Margaret,
I'm getting tired of laughing at my own jokes, you'd better give me a