By Renée Rodgers
One in three commercial vehicles stopped during a recent road safety operation in Belleville was deemed unfit for the road.
Belleville and Kingston police, the OPP, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Environment carried out the annual project June 21 and 23.
Authorities declared 34 per cent of the 65 commercial vehicles inspected too dangerous to operate without repairs.
Cst. Brad Stitt of the Belleville Police was involved with the project. He said the number of unsafe vehicles found was no surprise.
“That would be on par with similar operations we’ve done in the past,” he said.
The number of defects found, Stitt said, doesn’t mean Belleville vehicles are unsafe.
“A lot of these things are – I wouldn’t want to say of a minor nature, they’re safety defects which affect the safety of the vehicle – but they’re things that are easily repaired,” he said.
Still, the number of defects found suggests more work could be done to eliminate safety violations, Stitt said. Unfortunately, police don’t have the resources to constantly perform these checks.
“It would be nice for the Belleville Police Service to have a full-time team that does nothing but focus on commercial vehicle enforcement,” he said. “That’s just not fiscally possible in our situation.”
Officers involved with the project drove around Belleville looking for commercial vehicles that appeared to be unsafe. Vehicles suspected of being dangerous were taken to a parking lot where officers conducted full inspections and laid charges. Fifty-eight charges were handed out over the two days.
Common infractions, Stitt said, were insecure loads, failure to keep a log of inspections, and vehicle maintenance issues such as corroded parking brakes.
The worst infraction was a massive hole in the floor of a vehicle on the driver’s side, covered by a mat.
“You easily could have put a bowling ball through the floor of the truck,” Stitt said.
Police aim to reduce the number of safety violations with these operations, something Stitt said is happening slowly but surely.
“As we do more of these – and we’ve done them for several years – we see certain patterns in the way we do enforcement that suggests we are having some positive changes,” he said.
For example, when authorities came across a truck during the operation they had dealt with a few months ago, they found the repairs they had recommended had been made.
Stitt said the police do as much as they can to keep commercial vehicle infractions in check. He said he would like to see zero defects, but realizes that’s likely impossible.
“I don’t think you ever achieve perfection,” he said. “I think we strive to make the roads as safe as they can be.”