Blitz tar­get­ing trucks hands out 100 tick­ets on On­tario high­ways

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - LOCAL NEWS - DALE CARRUTHERS POST­MEDIA NEWS dcar­ruthers@post­media.com twit­ter.com/DaleatLFPress

Pro­vin­cial po­lice dished out more than 100 tick­ets, nearly one-third of them for dis­tracted driv­ing, in a high­way blitz tar­get­ing trans­port trucks fol­low­ing a rash of head­line-grab­bing deadly crashes.

Po­lice ded­i­cated 552 pa­trol hours to Op­er­a­tion Safe Truck­ing, a provincewide crack­down that tar­geted speed­ing, fol­low­ing too closely, seat­belt use, hours of ser­vice vi­o­la­tions and dis­tracted, ag­gres­sive and im­paired driv­ing on OPP-pa­trolled roads.

The cam­paign was part of the fall­out from a se­ries of crashes late last year, in­clud­ing one marked by ex­plo­sions and fire­balls in a pile-up in­volv­ing fuel trucks north of Toronto. That one prompted crit­i­cal com­ments by OPP Com­mis­sioner Vince Hawkes about big rigs on On­tario high­ways, which he likened to “mis­siles.”

OPP West Re­gion Sgt. Dave Rek­tor re­vealed the re­sults from the five-day crack­down that saw some of­fi­cers swap their cruis­ers for trucks to get a level view of mis­be­hav­ing com­mer­cial driv­ers.

“It’s all about mak­ing our high­ways safe for all driv­ers,” Rek­tor said Thurs­day.

In to­tal, nearly 400 com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles were stopped dur­ing the blitz, which ran from Dec. 11-15. The most com­mon of­fence was dis­tracted driv­ing, with 42 tick­ets doled out. Twenty-four mo­torists were dinged for not wear­ing seat­belts, while another 19 re­ceived ci­ta­tions for fol­low­ing too closely.

“These are sup­posed to be the pro­fes­sional driv­ers,” Rek­tor said of the of­fend­ers.

Com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles had al­ready landed in the OPP’s crosshairs fol­low­ing a se­ries of deadly sum­mer crashes in On­tario, fol­lowed by the Hal­loween pileup on the High­way 400 near Toronto in­volv­ing two fully-loaded fuel tankers and mul­ti­ple cars.

The crash killed three peo­ple and left a fiery wreck­age scene that one po­lice of­fi­cer de­scribed as “Ar­maged­don.”

The Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion as­sisted with me­chan­i­cal, load se­cu­rity or other safety is­sues dur­ing the De­cem­ber blitz. Fiftytwo com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles were in­spected, re­sult­ing in one be­ing im­pounded and four oth­ers be­ing taken out of ser­vice.

Call­ing the crack­down the most “fo­cused” of its kind, Rek­tor said the cam­paign could be­come an an­nual ini­tia­tive.

“There is def­i­nitely a need to have this done again.”

It’s all about mak­ing our high­ways safe for all driv­ers. It’s all about mak­ing our high­ways safe for all driv­ers.” Sgt. Dave Rek­tor, OPP West Re­gion

MIKE HENSEN/POST­MEDIA NEWS

Po­lice handed out more than 100 tick­ets dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Safe Truck­ing, a five-day De­cem­ber en­force­ment blitz tar­get­ing trans­port trucks on high­ways across the prov­ince. Re­sults were re­leased by the OPP this week.

Rek­tor

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