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December 2008
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Are Changes Coming?

The London Free Press is reporting this morning on an audit currently underway in Ontario. The number 1 concern … SAFETY. The article starts with the devastating propane explosion in Toronto this passed summer; that definitely was a wake up call that perhaps we aren’t that safe!

What peaked my interest in the article was the discussion around truck safety. Here are a couple of facts the auditors found:

  • only 3 of every 1,000 commercial trucks are inspected annually; this is down 34% from 2003/4
  • 21% of truck traffic travels at night, but only 8% of inspections are done after hours

The auditors suggest the solution is enforcement and recognize that  the Ministry of Transportation  has just hired 50 new officers, which indicates a move in the right direction.

It wasn’t just the Ministry of Transportation under scrutiny, the Ministry of Agriculture was attacked for the listeriosis outbreak this summer. The Ministry of Justice is also currently under investigation being criticized for the number of ‘sick’ days they take each year (that would be an average of 32.5, that’s over a month). Another staggering number was the $500 million that the Ontario government loses each year on tobacco taxes; mostly from the sale of cigarettes at native reserves.

I hope this audit is successful in making our province safer. With the crash this morning on the 401 involving three tracker trailers it is yet another reminder of how unsafe the trucking industry has become.