Transport trucks placed under microscope at border

Dave Mathieson
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Vehicle Compliance Officer, Blaise Cameron, is one of 24 Nova Scotia inspectors speaking with drivers and inspecting their trucks during the 60-hour, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance North American Standard Inspection Program set up near the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick border.

AMHERST – Vehicle inspectors have fanned out across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico for the next few days, including inspectors in Nova Scotia.

“We started at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and we’re going to be here until 6 p.m. Thursday evening,” said Dan Leopold, Director of Vehicle Compliance for the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

The inspectors are working around the clock inspecting transport trucks at the eastbound weigh station just inside the Nova Scotia border. Leopold said the trucks have to be placed under the microscope.

“What the public has to understand is, in some respects, these vehicles are putting in, potentially, millions of kilometres in the run of a year,” said Leopold. “So the mechanical fitness of these vehicles is under constant change and constant repair, so these vehicles are under a lot of scrutiny.”

The inspectors go through a 37-point inspection on each truck they inspect. The inspection surveys both truck and driver.

“It takes about an hour to do a full inspection,” said Leopold. “We have four shifts of six inspectors, so 24 inspectors work six hour shifts.”

In the first six-hours of Tuesday’s road check, inspectors inspected more than 25 trucks, taking five off the road.

“Out of the five taken off the road, one is still here,” said Leopold. “The other four needed minor brake and tire adjustments and were back on the road.”

The Road Check has been an annual event for the last 25 years. Last year, they inspected 251 vehicles and found 50 defects.

“They were out of service until repaired,” said Leopold “Out of those 50 defects, 26 of them were brake related. They needed either brake components or brake adjustments, so this year we’re targeting brake safety.”

The inspectors are also focusing on the driver’s logbooks. Inspectors can take a truck off the road for 10 hours or 72 hours, depending on the severity of the logbook infraction.

“If they stop at the Big Stop in Aulac and they forget to update their status it’s not a big deal,” said Leopold. “But if they ran too many hours in their cycle, we’ll put them out of service for up to 72 hours. They will park the vehicle here for 72 hours until their log book is reset.”

Most drivers are used to being inspected.

“We do about 4,500 of these Level 1 inspections a year, so the 250 we do in this three days is a small portion of that,” said Leopold. “We do 11,000 checks on top of that that are cursory checks where we walk around the vehicle and check the drivers documentation.”

Leopold said most drivers comply with regulations.

“These guys are business people, so they’re trying to make a living and trying to do it right,” said Leopold. “99 per cent of the people are good upstanding people trying to make a living, and then you have another element of people who are trying to skirt around the rules, so that’s why we’re here.”

Leopold said compliance has improved over the last 25 years and that Nova Scotia truckers have the same level of compliance as drivers in the rest of Canada and the U.S.

“All the major companies recognize safety is part of their business,” said Leopold. “A safe fleet is a more reliable fleet and a more profitable fleet, so maintaining vehicles is the responsible thing to do.”


Organizations: Department of Transportation

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada, U.S. Mexico Aulac

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Recent comments

  • Fuzzy Bear
    June 11, 2012 - 11:44

    Obviously my first comment, that had some OMI's on this subject, was not deemed appropriate by the powers to be at the ADN I'll summarize...I'm glad inspections are taking place...they need more of them! Maybe this one will make it on here!

  • Fuzzy Bear
    June 06, 2012 - 09:26

    Super ...its about time!!! I feel so much safer now when these 18 wheel death traps go fying past me downhill doing 120 kms plus! Just knowing these rigs have brakes that are so up to par and efficient it just makes me warm and fuzzy all over. This I base on two important points in the story. "In the first six-hours of Tuesday’s road check, inspectors inspected more than 25 trucks, taking five off the road." (20% folks) "The Road Check has been an annual event for the last 25 years. Last year, they inspected 251 vehicles and found 50 defects." (19.9 % folks) "Out of those 50 defects, 26 of them were brake related." Obviuously the trucking industry has gotten so much better...NOT! First of all, if government can restrict highways with weight restrictions to protect the pavement then we should be able to restrict the speed that these carriers of commodities and death travel on our highways. I for one think my fuzzy butt is worth more than pavement! In my opinion it should be manditory that all large 18 wheelers be governed to a maximum of 100 kms on the NS Highways. That way most cars travelling our highways can get away from them if you travel at the posted speed limit of 110 kph. Next make this speed check part of the yearly inspection and fine the He** out of the companies if they are caught using an unregulated vehicle (another source of revenue). Yes I know all the truckers and supporters of them will be up in arms about my comments and the trucking industry will be crying about how much it will raise the price of goods travelling this way but I won't buy that argument. For a 1000 km trip travelling at 100 kmh it should take 10 hrs (without any other factors being considered)...all they save is 1.7 hrs travelling at 120 kmh. So I think my lettuce will still be quite fresh if I have to wait another couple of hours before it hits the shelves. I'll be very happy knowing I'll get home safely without getting steamrolled by some big rig because he/she can't stop in time due to high speed, a maxed out load and inferior brakes so I can put this lettuce in my salad!